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Islam Makhachev taps out Charles Oliveira with nasty arm-triangle choke to claim lightweight title in UFC 280 main event

It’s been a long time coming but Islam Makhachev finally proved that he is the best lightweight in the world.

In his first opportunity to capture gold, Makhachev was dominant in every facet of the game after he landed a knockdown against Charles Oliveira before wrapping up a nasty arm-triangle choke to finish the UFC 280 main event in impressive fashion. The tap from Oliveira came at 3:16 in round 2 as Makhachev began his celebration with a big hug from his coach and longtime teammate Khabib Nurmagomedov.

“I trained so hard for this moment,” Makhachev said afterwards. “I want to say thank you. I always think this is not going to be an easy fight. He always pushes opponents but I know he’s going to be scared of my wrestling skills. I said this is my goal and Allah give me.

“My belt for my coach for Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov. He said training hard and you’re going to be champion. [Khabib’s] father made me.”

It was an awe-inspiring performance from Makhachev, who showed no fear engaging with Oliveira both on the feet and on the ground throughout the fight.

The first exchange to open the fight saw Makhachev catch Oliveira with a stiff left hand before the Brazilian actually grabbed onto the guard and brought the fight down to the ground. Oliveira was quick to attack with submissions off his back while Makhachev was suffocating with his control on top.

Makhachev was careful to stay close to Oliveira to negate the always active legs from the jiu-jitsu specialist as he looked to swivel his hips to possibly look for an armbar or a triangle choke. Oliveira couldn’t find an opening while Makhachev continued to punish him on the ground.

When the fight got back to the feet, Makhachev was quick to close the distance, although he looked completely comfortable trading shots with Oliveira. In an attempt to change his fortune, Oliveira exploded forward with a jumping knee but Makhachev answered with a huge hook that send the former champion crashing down to the canvas.

As soon as Oliveira hit the ground, Makhachev jumped on him and immediately started looking for the finish. Makhachev latched onto the arm-triangle choke and it only took Oliveira a split second to tap out as the all-time leader in UFC submissions succumbed to the Russian wrestler.

“Sometimes you’re here and it’s not your day,” Oliveira said after his first loss in 12 fights. “Hey Dana [White], hey Hunter [Campbell], I’ve never denied a fight. I’ve always been there for you. Give me a fight, I need a chance to be the next guy.”

Following his title fight victory, Makhachev actually put the title on Nurmagomedov’s shoulder and the former lightweight king already had an idea in mind for what comes next.

“He is the pound-for-pound No. 1 fighter today,” Nurmagomedov said about Makhachev. “Now our plan, fly all the way to Australia to fight with pound-for-pound king [Alexander] Volkanovski.”

It didn’t take long for Volkanovski to make his way into the cage as he shared a moment with Makhachev in what appears like easy matchmaking for the recently announced UFC 284 card in Perth, Australia.

“Let’s do it,” Volkanovski said in the cage. “The lightweight title on the line, the pound-for-pound No. 1 on the line.”

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