Oliveira and Tsarukyan Fight at UFC 300 as Makhachev Awaits

January 10, 2024
3 months

UFC 300 might have had its biggest fight announced to date, a massive UFC lightweight bout as Charles Oliviera is set to face off against Arman Tsarukyan. With the fighters ranked so highly in the division, the winner will surely get a chance at the championship currently held by Islam Makhachev. 

Oliviera Wants to Re-Earn Title Shot

Charles Oliviera was all set to face Islam Makhachev (for the second time) at UFC 294 until he pulled out of the fight just days before the event. According to MMA breaking news, this forced Alexander Volkanovski to step in at late notice. The Brazilian is still number one in the lightweight rankings due to Volkanovski losing the fight. Yet now that Oliviera hasn’t fought since June 2023, he’s got to re-establish himself in the title picture. A win here against Arman Tsarukyan will cement his position as the only man fit to fight Makhachev for the title.

The man from São Paulo, Brazil, has had a rich involvement with the UFC lightweight championship since returning to the division in 2017, entertaining fans with an array of submission finishes to have his hand raised in victory. He’s already beaten lightweight challengers like Dustin Poirier and Justin Gaethje, which makes him the top lightweight in the official UFC rankings (excluding the champ). Despite that, he’s willing to put in the hard work to show that he’s still the top challenger.

Tsarukyan Imperious in UFC Career

While Arman Tsarukyan’s UFC record isn’t perfect, it has most certainly been an entertaining affair with fine outings, as he’s won three Performance of the Night awards and two Fight of the Night accreditations. Despite being born in Georgia, he chooses to represent Armenia and Russia through his family heritage, yet his fans from all three countries and beyond will be hoping he can earn a title shot here with a win against Charles Oliviera.

Tsarukyan started his career in Russia as something of a knockout artist or at least a finisher, who confidently displayed that he wasn’t paid by the hour. While his UFC opponents have been of higher caliber, leading to decision victories, he’s recently tapped into his prior form, landing KO victories in his last two fights.

The Fight Might Not Last Very Long

While this match will be eagerly anticipated, it might not last very long. Charles Oliviera looks for a submission win in every match, with 21 of his 34 wins coming by this method. He will angle the fight looking for his infamous rear-naked choke, which has already claimed many victories. Only one of Oliviera’s fights since 2015 has gone the distance. He’s not won them all, but he has been involved in some fights that have entertained fans and MMA news sites for sure.

On the other side of the cage, Arman Tsarukyan will share the same enthusiasm to end the fight early. However, he will be looking to land his signature strikes, which have seen him ascend to the number four ranking within the lightweight division. His last fight in December 2023 defeated Beneil Dariush after just 64 seconds in the first round of their main event fight.

What if the Fight Doesn’t Impress?

This match at UFC 300 has got to be everything that the fans want. The lightweight division in the promotion is rife with quality at present, and there’s no shortage of combatants that Dana White could put in title contention if this fight doesn’t hit the mark. At UFC 299, there’s another exciting lightweight matchup as Dustin Poirier and Benoît Saint Denis fight one another in a fight that will also shape the divisional rankings. Those two fighters will be more than happy to take on Islam Makhachev for the title.

Does Makhachev have to Entertain Re-Matches?

After defeating Alexander Volkanovski for the second time, Islam Makhachev said that he was no longer interested in taking re-match fights. He is ruling out virtuous contenders like Charles Oliveira who want to simply reclaim their title shot, and also saying he wants a new challenge. The problem is that most UFC fans want to see a second meeting between these fighters. The first fight between these two in October 2022 forced the best out of Makhachev as he locked in the arm-triangle choke for the win. If the Brazilian wins his next fight, then Makhachev would have to acknowledge the impending fight.

Five years ago, Arman Tsarukyan made his UFC debut against… Islam Makhachev, in the co-main event on a card headlined by Alistair Overeem, held in Saint Petersburg, Russia. Tsarukyan lost this fight, and Makhachev went on to become the pound-for-pound best fighter in the promotion. Yet, it was a long time ago. A lot has changed in MMA and the wider world since 2019, meaning that if Tsarukyan can get past Oliviera, he’ll more than have earned a second shot at Makhachev.

If he can convince Dana White and the MMA news websites that there’s no need to fight those two, he could end up fighting the winner of the aforementioned bout at UFC 299 between Dustin Poirier and Benoît Saint Denis. Makhachev has been saying that he would like to fight Justin Gaethje in the near future.

Of course, there is the impending return of Conor McGregor. The Irishman famously held the lightweight title during his initial UFC run. If he were to ever return, he would be eyeing a match with Makhachev, given his connection with Khabib Nurmagomedov, the man who derailed McGregor’s career.

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