UFC 280: A Preview of the Matchups


By Cooper Woodward, Reporter

For those unfamiliar with the format of UFC fights, the breakdown is that there are prelims (which would be considered the Undercard for Boxing fans) and then there are a certain number of fights on the main card (For UFC 280, there are 3 on the main). In this article I will be giving my thoughts on each main card fight, and a prediction on who i think is going to win.

Main Event: Charles “Do Bronx” Olivera (Champ) (33-8) Vs Islam Makhachev (22-1) (Lightweight title bout)

Olivera: Olivera is coming off a Submission on both Dustin Porier (UFC 269) and Justin Gaethje (274). He looks to continue his 11 fight win streak against Makhachev. Olivera took control in his last fight vs Justin Gaethje as he tends to do versus opponents like Makhachev. Olivera has an average fight length 6:55 meaning he likes to get finishes or TKO’s as soon as he can. He also fights as an orthodox fighter, meaning he leads with his right foot during his fights. Olivera won the belt in UFC 262 versus Michael Chandler

Makhachev: Makhachev is coming off a TKO in February, and a submission of Dan Hooker (UFC 267). He looks to continue his long 10 fight win streak dating back to 2016. Makhachev has the endurance of many great fighters while also possessing grappling skills similar to Olivera, but his striking is better than Olveria’s. Makhachev has an average fight time of 9:11, which shows his cardio skills and his ability to fight with the big dogs in the Lightweight division. As a southpaw fighter, he leads with his left foot forward, which is important when it comes to leg kicks and footwork.

My prediction: It’s going to be a very good fight, both guys have really good striking power and really good grappling skills. Endurance is a huge thing in the Octagon, and not fighting in 6 month’s between fights is going to be difficult for Makhachev to stay up with Olivera who has fought recently. If the fight goes past 3 rounds, I believe Makhachev wins. If the fight goes less than 3 rounds, my pick goes to Olivera.

Co-Main: Aljamain “Funkmaster” Sterling (Champ) (21-3) Vs T.J “Killishaw” Dillishaw (18-4) (Bantamweight Title bout)

Sterling: Sterling is entering 280 on a 7 fight win streak and this is his 3rd fight defending the Bantamweight title since winning it back from Petr Yan in 2021. With 8 wins via the submission, Sterling is known around the UFC as one of the better ju-jitsu fighters. Sterling will enter the fight at 135lbs, an orthodox stance, and looking to hold on to his title.

Dillishaw: Dillishaw is entering 280 looking to start a win streak and re-gain the title for the 3rd time. With 8 wins via the KO, Dillishaw looks to add to that tally and remind the division that he is not to be messed with. In addition, his integrity as a fighter is up for debate after his PED suspension back in 2019. Dillishaw will enter the fight at 135lbs, with an orthodox stance, and looking to earn back his title.

My prediction: Like the main event, this is going to be a good fight. 2 really aggressive fighters who are looking to further establish their name and give fans a fun fight. I like the style of fighting of Sterling more then I like the style of Dillishaw. My pick is Sterling

Fight #3: Petr “No Mercy”  Yan (16-3) Vs Sean “Suga” O’Malley (15-1) Bantamweight bout.

Yan: The Current Interim Belt Holder comes into this event looking to bounce back after a loss to Aljamain Sterling for the title back in April. With 7 wins via the KO Yan looks to continue his run of elite fighting in the division. Yan will enter 280 at 135, a switch stance fighter, a 67 inch reach, and ambition to get back his title after 2 long years vacant from it.

O’Malley: The Suga show comes into this fight looking to continue riding the momentum he has coming from all the way back in 2017. Similar to Yan, Most of O’Malley’s wins have come via the KO so this fight will be an absolute striking clinic. O’Malley is unique at 135 because he’s 5’11, one of the more taller fighters in the division. And with height comes reach. O’Malley is coming into the event weighing 135lbs, a switch stance, a 72 inch reach, and momentum behind him, to rise the ranks of bantamweights.

My Prediction: 2 fantastic strikers, and 2 guys hungry to get to the top. Similar to the Co-Main this will be a fantastic fight because of the striking abilities of both Yan and O’Malley. My biggest factor in deciding is ring experience. Since Yan was the champ, He has the ring experience of getting the best of the best in the bantamweight division. As much as I want O’Malley to win, My pick is Yan.