Marina Rodriguez to Fight Amanda Lemos at UFC 280

Marina Rodriguez has lined up her next opponent…

The 35-year-old Brazilian mixed martial artist will face Amanda Lemos at UFC 280 on October 22 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

Marina RodriguezRodriguez and Lemos, two of the top women’s strawweight fighters in the world, form part of one of the UFC‘s deepest cards of the year.

The winner of the bout could have the inside track on a title shot. Rodriguez is the No. 4 women’s strawweight in ESPN‘s rankings, while Lemos is No. 9.

In addition, sources told ESPN that Rodriguez and former UFC women’s strawweight champion Jessica Andrade have left manager Tiago Okamura to sign with Ali Abdelaziz of Dominance MMA, who represents the likes of welterweight champion Kamaru Usman and former pound-for-pound king Khabib Nurmagomedov.

Rodriguez (16-1-2 overall, 6-1-2 UFC) has won four straight and is coming off a split decision win over Yan Xiaonan at UFC 272 in March. The Brazilian fighter’s only career loss was a close split decision defeat to current UFC women’s strawweight champion Carla Esparza in 2020.

Lemos (12-2-1), also 35, has won six of her past seven fights, including a second-round submission victory over Michelle Waterson this past weekend at UFC Long Island. The Brazilian fighter’s only loss since 2017 came to Andrade in April. Lemos has finished four of her six wins inside the UFC Octagon.

UFC 280 will be headlined by a fight between former champion Charles Oliveira and Islam Makhachev for the vacant lightweight title. Also on the card, lightweight standouts Beneil Dariush and Mateusz Gamrot will meet in a potential title eliminator.

Charles Oliveira to Defend UFC Lightweight Title Against Justin Gaethje 

Charles Oliveira is going back on the defense…

The 32-year-old Brazilian professional mixed martial artist and Brazilian jiu-jitsu practitioner, the reigning UFC lightweight champion, will seek his second title defense against Justin Gaethje at UFC 274 on May 7, UFC president Dana White has told ESPN.

Charles Oliveira The UFC is working on finalizing the 155-pound title fight shortly. The pay-per-view event now includes two title fights.

Brazilian light heavyweight champion Glover Teixeira will face Jiri Prochazka on the same date.

The UFC has not announced an official venue. It had considered holding it in Brazil, but the card is now expected to take place in the U.S.

Oliveira (32-8) is coming off a spectacular year in 2021. He won the vacant title by knocking out Michael Chandler in the second round of an exhilarating title fight in May, and finished off the calendar year with a comeback submission victory over Dustin Poirier for his first title defense.

Gaethje (23-3) has been waiting for another crack at UFC gold since former champion Khabib Nurmagomedov retired in October 2020. Gaethje, of Arizona, challenged Nurmagomedov for the title in the final fight of Nurmagomedov’s career. His record made him worthy of fighting for the vacant title right away, but he was forced to pick up one more win before earning the shot.

That win came against Chandler in November at UFC 268 at Madison Square Garden, where Gaethje won the bout via decision.

Charles Oliveira Defeats Dustin Poirier via Submission to Retain UFC Lightweight Title

Charles Oliveira won’t be underestimated anymore…

The 32-year-old Brazilian professional mixed martial artist weathered an early storm and then finished Dustin Poirier via submission (rear-naked choke) at 1 minute, 2 seconds of the third round Saturday night in the main event of UFC 269 at T-Mobile Arena.

Charles Oliveira

With the victory, Oliveira retained the UFC lightweight title.

“I’m the world champion,” Oliveira said in his postfight interview through an interpreter. “I’m the man. They talk. I do it.”

After back-to-back stoppage wins over Conor McGregor, many thought Poirier becoming UFC lightweight champion was a foregone conclusion.

Instead, Oliveira, the greatest submission artist in UFC history, cashed as a +115 underdog, according to Caesars Sportsbook.

He won the belt with a second-round TKO win over Michael Chandler at UFC 262 in May. That was Oliveira’s 28th UFC fight, the longest journey for any fighter to a UFC title in history. Yet, he remained unheralded with more popular names like Poirier near the top of the division. It’ll be hard to doubt “Do Bronx” any longer.

Coming in, ESPN had Poirier ranked No. 5 and Oliveira ranked No. 6 in the world on its pound-for-pound MMA list. At lightweight, ESPN had Poirier at No. 1 and Oliveira at No. 2.

On Saturday, Poirier rocked Oliveira several times in the first round, dropping him once with a wicked left hook. But Oliveira survived the barrage and gained momentum late in the round with a big left hook.

“They can hit me a lot,” Oliveira said. “I’m gonna walk forward.”

Oliveira took Poirier down early in the second round and remained in top position, landing hard elbows, for most of the round. In the third, Oliveira swooped into a clinch against the cage and immediately took Poirier’s back with Poirier standing up. Oliveira, who has one of the most dangerous back games in MMA, looked for the choke and found it despite Poirier trying to fight his hands.

“I don’t let opportunities get away,” Oliveira said in the postfight news conference. “I always say I have opportunistic jiu-jitsu. When I saw it, I couldn’t pass it up and I had to do it.”

Oliveira (32-8, 1 NC), 32, has won 10 in a row, tied for the second-longest active streak in the UFC behind Kamaru Usman‘s 15 straight. He took home the vacant title with the victory over Chandler following former champion Khabib Nurmagomedov‘s retirement and vacating of the title last year.

A native of Brazil, Oliveira has the most finishes (18) and most submission wins (15) in UFC history. He has a 20-8 (1 NC) record in the UFC going back to his debut in 2010 and is one of only nine fighters in history to win 20 UFC fights.

Poirier (28-7, 1 NC), a former UFC interim lightweight champ, beat McGregor twice this year, the latter a doctor’s stoppage TKO of McGregor at UFC 264 in July when McGregor broke his leg. Poirier, a Louisiana native fighting out of Florida, had won three straight coming in and had just one loss in his past 10 fights, to Nurmagomedov in a title fight at UFC 242 in September 2019. Poirier, 32, has the most KO/TKO victories in UFC lightweight history (8).

“I landed some good, clean shots on him,” Poirier said. “I thought I was gonna get him away in the first round. He’s a champ, man. The game plan was to take my time. I brawled again.”

Poirier said in the postfight news conference that he knows he can work his way back to another title fight, but he’s not sure if that’s what he wants to do yet.

UFC president Dana White said former interim champion Justin Gaethje “makes sense” as Oliveira’s next challenger. Gaethje beat Chandler last month at UFC 268.

Gaethje has made some disparaging remarks about Oliveira, questioning his heart. Oliveira brushed that off Saturday night.

“Look at what they’ve been saying about me,” Oliveira said. “They’re saying I can’t take hits — look at what I’ve been doing. They say I quit — look at what I’ve been doing. I’m just going to keep doing what I do.”

Oliveira also took aim at Nurmagomedov, the legendary former champ who said he was rooting for Poirier in this fight but tweeted his congratulations to Oliveira late Saturday.

Oliveira said this was his era of the lightweight division.

“History and legacy have a new name,” he said, “and that’s Charles Oliveira.”

Charles Oliveira to Face Off Against Dustin Poirier for Lightweight Championship at UFC 269

Charles Oliveira has a new opponent…

The 31-year-old Brazilian professional mixed martial artist (31-8) will face off against Dustin Poirier for the lightweight championship at UFC 269 on Dec. 11.

Charles Oliveira

The matchup had been in talks for weeks, and Poirier told ESPN late last month there was “a good chance” it would happen. The 32-year-old lightweight mixed martial artist wrote on social media that the bout is now official.

“Signed, Sealed, Delivered,” Poirier wrote on Twitter.

Representatives for Poirier confirmed to ESPN he has officially agreed to the December title fight.

A win against Oliveira would cap off an amazing year for Poirier, who has been fighting professionally since 2009. The Louisiana native kicked off 2021 by knocking out Conor McGregor in January at UFC 257. He followed that up with another TKO win against McGregor at UFC 264 in July, a fight that ended when McGregor suffered a serious leg injury at the end of the opening round.

UFC 269 will mark Poirier’s second attempt at an undisputed UFC championship. He challenged former lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov in September 2019, and lost via submission. Poirier is a former interim UFC champion, but has never held the undisputed title.

Oliveira, 31, captured the vacant UFC title by knocking out Michael Chandler in May. Fighting out of Brazil, Oliveira is riding a nine-fight win streak that includes eight finishes.

Charles Oliveira Defeats Michael Chandler via TKO to Become UFC Champion

Charles Oliveira is finally a UFC champion.

The 31-year-old Brazilian professional mixed martial artist finished Michael Chandler via TKO at 19 seconds of the second round on Saturday night in the main event of UFC 262 at Toyota Center. With the victory, Oliveira captured the vacant UFC lightweight title.

Charles Oliveira

“I told you I was going to knock him out, and I came and knocked him out,” Oliveira said in his postfight interview through an interpreter. “I proved to everybody I’m the lion of lions.”

In the opening seconds of the second round, Oliveira dropped Chandler with a left hook and then poured it on with strikes on the ground. Chandler tried his best to get away, but he could not. Oliveira landed until referee Dan Miragliotta pulled him off, ruling it a TKO.

Oliveira quickly climbed out of the cage to celebrate after the finish and came right up to UFC president Dana White.

At the postfight news conference, White said Oliveira told him, “Thank you for everything you’ve done for me. Tonight was the biggest opportunity for my life.”

“That was an incredible main event,” White said. “Both guys had an unbelievable performance in that fight. Oliveira pulled it out.”

Nate Diaz to Fight Leon Edwards at UFC 262 in May

Nate Diaz is returning to The Octagon

Diaz, one of the most popular fighters in MMA, will fight Leon Edwards at UFC 262 on May 15 in Houston, according to ESPN.

Nate Diaz

Both fighters have verbally agreed to the fight, though the contract isn’t signed yet.

The fight will serve as a five-round co-main event for the card headlined by Charles Oliveira versus Michael Chandler for the vacant UFC lightweight title, sources said.

This will mark the first five-round, non-title co-main event in UFC history.

Diaz (20-12) hasn’t fought since his November 2019 loss to Jorge Masvidal at Madison Square Garden.

Edwards (18-3, 1 NC) is unbeaten in his past nine fights. He had won eight fights in a row; however, earlier this month, his bout against Belal Muhammad ended in a no contest after he hit Muhammad with an accidental eye poke in the second round, which resulted in Muhammad no longer being able to continue.

Edwards’ last loss was to Kamaru Usman, before Usman became UFC welterweight champion, in December 2015.

The promotion had hoped to book Edwards to face Colby Covington next, but couldn’t get Covington to agree to the fight for undisclosed reasons, sources said. The UFC pivoted to an Edwards-Diaz fight late last week.

UFC 262 will take place at the Toyota Center, home of the Houston Rockets.

Ricardo Lamas to Face Ryan Hall in UFC Fight Night Next Month

Ricardo Lamas headed back to the Octagon…

The featherweight bout between the 38-year-old Mexican and Cuban American mixed martial artist and former UFC title challenger and Ryan Hall has been rebooked for a UFC Fight Night event on August 29, according to ESPN.

Ricardo Lamas

The 145-pound contest was originally scheduled to take place in May in Oklahoma City, but the event was scrapped because of the coronavirus outbreak. 

The UFC has since picked up a consistent schedule, hosting six events in six weeks at its Apex facility in Las Vegas. The promotion is preparing to host four events this month at “Fight Island,” in Yas Island, Abu Dhabi.

Lamas (19-8) has lost three of his past four contests, but all three of the losses were to highly ranked opposition in Calvin KattarMirsad Bektic and Josh Emmett. He fought Jose Aldo for the UFC championship in 2014, and also has faced the likes of Max HollowayChad Mendes and Charles Oliveira over the course of his career.

Hall (8-1), of Falls Church, Virginia, has fought only four times since making his UFC debut in 2015. The submission specialist has had difficulty booking opponents at times, but holds wins against former lightweight champion B.J. Penn and title challenger Gray Maynard. He is 4-0 inside the Octagon.

Oliveira Defeats Jeremy Stephens for Third Straight UFC Featherweight Win

Make that three in a row for Charles Oliveira

The 25-year-old Brazilian mixed martial artist has run his featherweight win streak after defeating Jeremy Stephens.

Charles Oliveira

Oliveira (19-4) dominated Stephens on the ground through two rounds and then survived a late onslaught in the third to take a unanimous decision. All three judges scored the fight for Oliveira via scores of 30-27, 29-28 and 29-28.

“I was training very hard for three months for this fight and he said something that I didn’t like and it made me only want to beat him more,” Oliveira said. “I came and struck with him despite an arm injury, and I was good on the ground, so it’s no doubt to me that I earned this win.”

The Brazilian did a great job of putting the power-punching Stephens (23-11) on his back foot early. He came forward at the start of the fight and shot on Stephens against the fence. Stephens defended the takedown initially, but when Oliveira fell to his back, Stephens obliged the submission specialist by dropping into his guard.

Stephens drops to 1-2 in 2014. He suffered a unanimous decision loss to Cub Swanson in his prior fight in June.