UFC 274 results, highlights: Charles Oliveira submits Justin Gaethje to become top contender at lightweight

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Charles Oliveira may not be the UFC lightweight champion, but there is no doubting who is the best lightweight on planet. Oliveira defeated Justin Gaethje in a violent sugar rush at UFC 274 on Saturday night.

Things, as usual during this lightweight title campaign, did not look good for Oliveira early. Gaethje dropped Oliveira on two occasions in the opening round: first with a right uppercut and then with a left hook. "The Highlight" was mindful to not engage on the ground with Oliveira and welcomed him to his feet. Gaethje's unwillingness to commit to ground-and-pound led to his eventual demise. Oliveira found his footing and responded with relentless pressure. Combination boxing, knees, flying knees and a jumping front kick. "Do Bronx" found the home a right hand that seated Gaethje. Oliveira immediately spun his web on the ground, transitioning from a rear-naked choke to armbar to triangle armbar before sinking in a rear-naked choke that forced Gaethje to tap.

UFC president Dana White was noticeably absent from the Octagon for his traditional role of strapping the UFC title around the winner's waist. Oliveira, who was the defending UFC lightweight champion at the start of the week, was stripped of his belt after missing weight by half a pound. There were rumors circulating from multiple fighters this week that inaccurate scales given to the fighters in advance contributed to weight issues. Regardless, Oliveira is no longer the UFC lightweight champion but will compete for it in his next fight.

"Hey there is something here," Oliveira teased during the post-fight interview with help from a translator. "This is a message to the entire division. I am problem for the entire division. Look at this team, look at me. I am the enlightened.  That is my title. It should be here.

"Hey Conor McGregor, are you coming up or are you going to run away?"

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Oliveira has extended his winning streak to 11 and has finished Gaethje, Dustin Poirier, Michael Chandler, Kevin Lee and many others during that stretch. The only small blemish -- if you can call it that -- is a clear unanimous decision win over Tony Ferguson in December 2020.

White later confirmed that Oliveira would fight for the title in his next outing. White has no doubt that Oliveira is the uncrowned champion of the division. Unfortunately, rules are rules.

"He's the guy," White told reporters at the UFC 274 post-fight press conference. "He didn't make weight. We have rules. He didn't make the weight. The belt is vacant but I'm sure in the minds of the media and the fight fans, Oliveira is the champion. But technically, he is the number one contender now."

Elsewhere, Carla Esparza regained the women's strawweight title after nearly eight years away from the top of the mountain. The "Cookie Monster" outpointed Rose Namajunas on two of the three judges' scorecards to take home the belt she first won in 2014. Plus, Michael Chandler gave fans one of the nastiest knockouts in recent memory with his front kick finish of Tony Ferguson.

CBS Sports was with you the entire way on Saturday bringing you all the results and highlights from the UFC 274 below.

UFC 274 card and results

  • Charles Oliveira def. Justin Gaethje via first-round submission (rear-naked choke)
  • Carla Esparza def. Rose Namajunas (c) via split decision (47-48, 49-46, 48-47)
  • Michael Chandler def. Tony Ferguson second-round knockout (front kick)
  • Ovince Saint Preux def. Mauricio Rua via split decision (28-29, 29-28, 30-27)
  • Randy Brown def. Khaos Williams via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
  • Francisco Trinaldo def. Danny Roberts via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-26, 30-27)
  • Macy Chiasson def. Norma Dumont via split decision (30-27, 28-29, 30-27)
  • Brandon Royval def. Matt Schnell via first-round submission (guillotine choke)
  • Blagoy Ivanov def. Marcos Rogerio De Lima via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
  • Andre Fiahlo def. Cameron Vancamp via first-round TKO (punches)
  • Tracy Cortez def. Melissa Gatto via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
  • CJ Vergara def. Kleidison Rodrigues via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
  • Loopy Godinez def. Ariane Carnelossi via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-26, 30-26)
  • Journey Newson def. Fernie Garcia via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
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Official Result: Charles Oliveira def. Justin Gaethje via submission at 3:22 of Round 1. Oliveira was stripped of the UFC lightweight championship after missing weight by half a pound. He will fight for the title in his next bout. "Do Bronx" extended his winning streak to 11 with consecutive finishes of Gaethje, Dustin Poirier and Michael Chandler, plus a win over Tony Ferguson.

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Charles Oliveira vs. Justin Gaethje - Round 1: Gaethje with a leg kick that timmediately wobbled Oliveira's leg. "Do Bronx" stumbled Gaethje with a punch. Gaethje again wobbles Oliveira's leg. Oliveira stuns Gaethje. "The Highlight" dropped Oliveira with a right hand! Gaethje allowed Oliveira back up. Gaethje again dropped Olveira with a left hook before letting him up. Oliveira pressed forward. Multi-punch combination by Oliveira capped off with a knee. Flying knee attempt by Oliveira into a failed guillotine choke. Gaethje again hit Oliveira hard. Oliveira pulled guard, Gaethje let him back up. A nice straight right hand landed for Oliveira. Gaethje slipped loading up on a punch. Jumping switch front kick landed for Oliveira. Oliveira beginning to check the leg kicks. Oliveira badly dropped Gaethje! Oliveira circled to the back. Rear-naked choke attempted switched into an armbar, switched into an armbar triangle! Gaethje escapes but falls right into a rear-naked choke. Gaethje taps! One of the best rounds of MMA you will ever see!

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And tonight's main event is underway.

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Closing out the night, Charles Oliveira and Justin Gaethje will most certainly wash out the bad taste left by Namajunas vs. Esparza.

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Official Result: Carla Esparza def. Rose Namajunas via split decision (48-47, 47-48, 49-46) to become the new UFC women's strawweight champion in what ranks high on the list of worst fights in UFC history. Esparza set the UFC record with 2,612 days between title reigns.

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May 8, 2022, 4:35 AM
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Rose Namajunas vs. Carla Esparza -- Round 5: Namajunas landed a nice right hand a little after one minute in the fight. Esparza clocked "Thug Rose" with a left. A solid left hook by Esparza. A front kick to the chest by Namajunas. A solid right hand by Rose. Another right hand landed for Namajunas. Yet another long right-hand scores for Namajunas. "Thug Rose" gets a little takedown to end the fight. Unofficial scorecard: 10-9 Namajunas (48-47 overall for Namajunas)

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Rose Namajunas vs. Carla Esparza -- Round 4: Esparza scored the takedown but got greedy jumping on the back. She was promptly shaken off. Esparza sort of landed a right hand off a short clinch break. Namajunas landed a left hand as Esparza pushed in. A right hand landed for Namajunas. Esparza with a little German suplex. Namajunas did a front roll and escaped. She landed a solid shovel punch as Esparza popped to her feet. Unofficial scorecard: 10-9 Namajunas (38-38 overall)

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