After 28 fights and 11 years with the promotion, Charles Oliveira can now call himself a UFC champion.
In one of the wildest title fights in recent memory, Oliveira had to survive an early onslaught from Michael Chandler in the UFC 262 main event to just make it to the end of the first round. Not only did he survive but Oliveira came back with a vengeance as he put Chandler down with a left hook and then just flurried on him with punches until referee Dan Miragliotta had no choice but the stop the contest.
The end came just 19 seconds into the second round as Oliveira claimed the vacant lightweight championship.
“I wanted to come here and show I’m the best in this division,” Oliveira said while celebrating his victory. “You brought me a match from Bellator and I told you I was going to knock him out and I knocked him out. I’m proving to everybody, I am the lion of lions. Michael you’re a great champion but today was my day.”
The fight was non-stop action from the opening seconds in the first round until Oliveira got the finish in the second round.
Aggressive from the start, Chandler ate a couple of nasty calf kicks early but then came back with a staggering left hook that blasted Oliveira, putting the Brazilian on wobbly legs. Oliveira scrambled for a takedown, which led to Chandler grabbing onto a guillotine choke as he sought an early submission finish.
Oliveira not only slipped free but he actually scrambled to take Chandler’s back with the Brazilian looking to wrap up a rear naked choke. Chandler appeared in trouble momentarily but he eventually exploded free from the bad position before working his way back to the feet.
From there, Chandler cracked Oliveira with a huge left hand that put him back down on the mat again. Chandler continued the assault with Oliveira pulling guard just to make it to the end of the round.
At the restart, Chandler was obviously ready to pour on the punishment in order to put Oliveira away but the tides turned in rapid-fire fashion.
After stepping into an exchange, Oliveira landed the left hand that saw Chandler rocked before falling to the canvas. Oliveira rushed forward with a barrage of shots and there was no chance Chandler was going to survive the onslaught as the fight was stopped before further damage was dished out.
Long considered a top prospect who just never quite reached the pinnacle of the sport, Oliveira can now enjoy his victory as he reigns as the UFC lightweight champion.
As for Chandler, he was classy in defeat as he paid homage to Oliveira while guaranteeing that this won’t be the last time he’ll be competing for UFC gold.
“I think we saw one of the toughest dudes on the planet come back from some adversity,” Chandler said about his opponent. “Charles Oliveria’s the real deal, I take nothing away from him. I will be back. I promise you I’m going to wear that UFC strap within the next 12 months.
“Charles Oliveira showed how he’s a consummate professional. We’ll get this back. We’re going to run this one back eventually.”