UFC 280 is the fight fan's pay-per-view. The promotion heads to Abu Dhabi on Saturday with a fight card that celebrates the very best in the lightweight and bantamweight divisions.
The event is headlined by a vacant lightweight title fight between former champion Charles Oliveira and rising contender Islam Makhachev. Oliviera is on an incredible run of destruction with 11 wins in a row dating back to 2018. He also never lost the title in the cage as he was stripped for missing weight ahead of his clash with Justin Gaethje in May.
In addition to the wild main event, the co-feature also sees a title on the line in a matchup sure to grab fan's eyes. Bantamweight king Aljamain Sterling is set to take on former titleholder TJ Dillashaw. It will be Sterling's second defense of the 135-pound title and first since his two-fight series with Petr Yan. Dillashaw is back after undergoing knee surgery in 2021 and serving a two-year USADA suspension that cost him the title.
CBS Sports has compiled three must-watch fights outside of the title scene.
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Petr Yan vs. Sean O'Malley
The "Suga Show" is headed for a gold rush if O'Malley can overcome expectations against former champion Petr Yan at UFC 280. The general impression is that Yan is too steep a step up for O'Malley, who has yet to face an opponent inside the top 10 at the time of their fight. Despite the potential discrepancy in their skills, the matchmaking has a lot to offer. O'Malley has put his twist on the Conor McGregor formula of brash confidence. The UFC can strap a fan-fueled rocket to O'Malley if he beats Yan. A loss for O'Malley won't do much to hurt his position in the division but will reinvigorate Yan and earn him some new fans. All that aside, these two strikers will certainly deliver a fun fight for as long as it lasts.
Beneil Dariush vs. Mateusz Gamrot
Hold off on that second cup of coffee, Dariush vs. Gamrot is all the caffeine you need. Dariush's fresh approach to the fight game bears some resemblance to Oliveira's. Traditionally a grappling threat, Dariush has evolved into a powerful and dynamic striker that gives better than he gets. Dariush -- just prior to beating Tony Ferguson -- notched four fight bonuses in five fights and would have likely gone five straight if not for a weight miss against Scott Holtzman. The versatile Gamrot displayed his knockout power against Carlos Diego Ferreira and Holtzman inside the Octagon. He and Arman Tsarukyan showcased some of the most exciting grappling exchanges in UFC history in June, Gamrot's fourth consecutive win. Whoever emerges victorious in this key lightweight fight could be next in line for the winner of Oliveira-Makhachev.
Belal Muhammad vs. Sean Brady
Muhammad and Brady find themselves in an interesting position. Both are very much flirting with welterweight title considerations: Muhammad is on an eight-fight unbeaten run and Brady has extended his record to 15-0 after five UFC appearances. The challenge is these premier grapplers have not showcased particularly exciting styles in a division big on personalities like Khamzat Chimaev, Colby Covington and Jorge Masvidal. It is possible that Muhammad and Brady negate each other's grappling and produce a stand-up fight, but even then Muhammad does a fantastic job at avoiding damage. The true beauty of this fight is that whoever wins should be undeniable in their pursuit of a big-ticket fight against someone in the top five.
Who wins Oliveira vs. Makhachev? And how exactly does each fight end? Visit SportsLine now to get detailed picks on every fight at UFC 280, all from the incomparable expert who's up more than $13,000 on MMA in the past three-plus years, and find out.