Fight Night Recap UFC 280

UFC 280: Oliveira vs. Makhachev (Recap Analysis) by Grant Emrick

October 23, 2022

UFC 280 Predictions (9-3) – 75% Correct

Emrick’s UFC Fighter Pick Record (245-130-2) – 65% Correct

Main Event Record (21-10) – 68% Correct

Prelim Recap:

WBW: #9 Karol Rosa (16-4) vs. #12 Lina Lansberg (10-7)

  • Winner: Karol Rosa (Pick: Karol Rosa)
  • Recap: Other than an illegal knee, which cost her a point, Rosa looked well-rounded and fresh in her victory over Lansberg. She took advantage of Lansberg the way Sara McMann did against them by utilizing a robust ground approach. Rosa’s hands also came together towards the end of the third round, where she had a couple of opportunities to close the show. At the age of 40 and sliding down the rankings, we can only wonder if Lansberg is inching closer to retirement. 
  • Ideal Next Fights:
    • #9 Karol Rosa vs. #7 Pannie Kianzad
    • #12 Lina Lansberg vs. #14 Mayra Bueno Silva

FLY: Muhammad Mokaev (9-0, 1 NC) vs. Malcolm Gordon (14-6)

  • Winner: Muhammad Mokaev (Pick Muhammad Mokaev)
  • Recap: Mokaev looked human in this matchup. Although Mokaev was dominant throughout the fight, Gordon put Mokaev in a few dangerous positions that we have yet to see him in through his run in the UFC. I do believe Mokaev will be ranked in the next update this week, but we have to remember he’s still young and should take his time as he will probably fight for the title in the next 3-4 years. As the largest underdog on the card and despite his now 2-3 UFC record, Gordon proved he can hang with the ranked/low-end contenders in the flyweight division. Wouldn’t mind seeing either get a ranked opponent in their next matchup, but Gordon needs a couple get-back fights first.
  • Ideal Next Fights:
    • Muhammad Mokaev vs. #13 Sumudaerji
    • Malcolm Gordon vs. CJ Vergara

MW: Armen Petrosyan (8-2) vs. AJ Dobson (6-2, 1 NC)

  • Winner: Armen Petrosyan (Pick: Armen Petrosyan)
  • Recap: One of the few stand-up fights on teh prelims, Petrosyan was solid on the feet in this one. Although Dobson brought him to the ground on multiple occasions, Petrosyan was able to bounce back up much better than in his fight with Caio Borralho. Dobson was outstruck 2:1 in terms of significant strikes and is 0-2 now in the UFC, his other loss – also respectable – coming from Jacob Malkoun.
  • Ideal Next Fights:
    • Armen Petrosyan vs. Jacob Malkoun
    • AJ Dobson vs. Joe Pyfer/Denis Tiuliulin

WW: Abubakar Nurmagomedov (17-3-1) vs. Gadzhi Omargadzhiev (13-2)

  • Winner: Abubakar Nurmagomedov (Pick: Abubakar Nurmagomedov)
  • Recap: These guys looked absolutely winded by the third round. It was pretty tough to watch from that point on, but clearly Nurmagomedov did enough following a tight first round. As high as my hopes were on Gadzhi after his DWCS appearance, he’s had two back-to-back tough fights placing him at 0-2 in the promotion. Numagomedov and Omargadzhiev were fairly close in terms of striking, but the control of nearly eight minutes swung the way of Abubakar Nurmagomedov. Hoping we can get some more exciting fights for these two, but both will need to improve their cardio if they want to hang with the upper echelon of their divisions. 
  • Ideal Next Fights:
    • Abubakar Nurmagomedov vs. Carlston Harris/Josh Quinlan
    • Gadzhi Omargadzhiev vs. AJ Fletcher (WW)/Jamie Pickett (MW)

LHW: #8 Volkan Oezdemir (18-7) vs. #10 Nikita Krylov (29-9)

  • Winner: Nikita Krylov (Pick: Nikita Krylov)
  • Recap: Nowhere did I expect this fight to go the distance, but I’ll take it with the correct pick. Krylov’s ground attack was clicking, landing seven takedowns and controlling Volkan for just under ten minutes of the fight. The strikes favored Krylov as well, and it seemed like there’s a path to the top five with a post-fight callout of #5 Anthony Smith. Oezdemir’s recent losses are not bad company though, as they came from Krylov, Ankalaev, and Prochazka.
  • Ideal Next Fights:
    • #8 Volkan Oezdemir vs. #11 Johnny Walker
    • #10 Nikita Krylov vs. #5 Anthony Smith

MW: Makhmud Muradov (25-8) vs. Caio Borralho (13-1, 1 NC)

  • Winner: Caio Borralho (Pick: Caio Borralho)
  • Recap: After a close first round, Borralho just continues to knock on the door of the MW rankings. It wasn’t the most exciting of fights, but it showed off a well-rounded skillset from both fighters through five minutes of control time and over 50 strikes landed each. I think Borralho will need to fight one more non-ranked opponent and/or work for a finish to really prove that he belongs in the higher class. Muradov has now dropped back-to-back fights and will need to improve his ground game a little more, as that’s been his downfall in his losses to Borralho and Meerschaert. 
  • Ideal Next Fights:
    • Makhmud Muradov vs. Punahele Soriano
    • Caio Borralho vs. Gerald Meerschaert

WW: #5 Belal Muhammad (22-3, 1 NC) vs. #8 Sean Brady (15-1)

  • Winner: Belal Muhammad (Pick: Belal Muhammad *Dawg of the Week*)
  • Recap: Where the hell did Belal get those hands? We know that he’s improved his striking vastly in just the past couple of fights, but this was Muhammad’s first TKO victory in nearly six years. Brady looked good in the first round, which was extremely close, and it felt like this one was going to go the distance until his chin was cracked. Even though both fighters ground game could’ve canceled out, it would’ve been nice to see a couple exchanges between high-level control fighters. Belal is due for a #1 contender fight and I love the callout of Chimaev, but Colby Covington could be a reality as well if Chimaev can’t get his weight down again. 
  • Ideal Next Fights:
    • #5 Belal Muhammad vs. #3 Khamzat Chimaev/#2 Colby Covington (#1 Contender Fight)
    • #8 Sean Brady vs. #9 Vicente Luque

Main Card Recap:

WFLY: #1 Katlyn Chookagian (18-5) vs. #6 Manon Fiorot (10-1)

  • Winner: Manon Fiorot  (Pick: Manon Fiorot)
  • Recap: Manon Fiorot beat the gatekeeper! However, I don’t see her as ready to take on the beast that is Valentina Shevchenko. Instead, she needs one more fight, preferably her own main event, for the #1 contender slot. Fiorot surprised me in the lack of ground attack against a somewhat susceptible opponent in Chookagian, but the French fighter seemed more comfortable as the fight went on. Chookagian will probably drop slightly in the rankings and it will be determined if she can reclaim her gatekeeper boogeywoman status. 
  • Ideal Next Fights:
    • #1 Katlyn Chookagian vs. winner of #4 Jessica Andrade vs. #3 Lauren Murphy
    • #6 Manon Fiorot vs. #5 Alexa Grasso

LW: #6 Beneil Dariush (22-4-1) vs. #9 Mateusz Gamrot (21-1, 1 NC)

  • Winner: Beneil Dariush (Pick: Mateusz Gamrot)
  • Recap: Beneil has been underestimated by myself and many in the MMA community. I didn’t think his hands and takedown defense would be enough for the favorite in Gamrot, but Darius’s defense and power standing up looked great. I expected a decision but was shocked when Dariush knocked Gamrot down later in the fight. I think Dariush is certainly an underdog against Islam in a potential title matchup down the line, but he may just have the best odds to steal the crown. Gamrot has an opportunity for some more fun fights in the back-end of the top 15 LW’s.
  • Ideal Next Fights:
    • #6 Beneil Dariush vs. #1 Charles Oliveira (#1 contender fight) or winner of #5 Chandler/#2 Poirier (#1 contender fight)
    • #9 Mateusz Gamrot vs. #13 Jalin Turner

BW: #1 Petr Yan (16-3) vs. #11 Sean O’Malley (15-1, 1 NC)

  • Winner: Sean O’Malley (Pick: Petr Yan *Lock of the Week*)
  • Recap: Not a fan of the decision at all, but that’s for two reasons. One reason was that I’m biased and placed money on Yan. The second was due to the fairly even striking performance in the first two rounds, separated only by Yan’s takedowns and ground work. It was a very close fight in total, but dissecting it round by round it should’ve swung Yan’s way. O’Malley did show some good defense in total, used his size advantage and movement extremely well, and proved he belongs in the BW top five. I do think Sean needs one more fight, maybe a fight night main event, to display to the world that he earned a shot at the strap. If they go with O’Malley immediately against Sterling, then I wouldn’t be too upset since he was the first person to seriously injure Yan at this point in the UFC. Even though the decision may steal the spotlight, Sean should’ve gained the respect of many.
  • Ideal Next Fights:
    • #1 Petr Yan vs #5 Marlon Vera or #2 TJ Dillashaw
    • #11 Sean O’Malley vs. #3 Merab Dvalishvili (#1 contender fight) or #5 Marlon Vera (rematch + #1 contender fight) or *Champion* Aljamain Sterling

BW: *CHAMPION* Aljamain Sterling (22-3) vs. #2 TJ Dillashaw (18-5)

  • WInner: Aljamain Sterling (Pick: Aljamain Sterling)
  • Recap: Not a lot to say with this one. Really upsetting that Dillashaw knew about his shoulder injury in April 2022 and held up the division for this kind of performance. It displayed Sterlings strong suits of his ground game and maybe some striking improvements, but a one armed opponent doesn’t give much to learn from. If you weren’t upset with TJ for testing positive for PEDs, then this might do it. Many didn’t believe TJ deserved this shot to begin with, so I wouldn’t be shocked to see Dana and the UFC heads find a way to reprimand TJ for these actions. I doubt Dillashaw will fight for the belt again as his MMA lifespan may be nearing an end. Sorry to everyone who bet on Dillashaw, I really hope you get your money refunded because this fight should’ve never happened with the injury. 
  • Ideal Next Fights:
    • *Champion* Aljamain Sterling vs. #11 Sean O’Malley or Henry Cejudo
    • #2 TJ Dillashaw vs. #1 Petr Yan or #6 Rob Font

LW: #1 Charles Oliveira (33-8, 1 NC) vs. #4 Islam Makhachev (22-1)

  • Winner: Islam Makhachev (Pick: Charles Oliveira)
  • Recap: Yes, I’m a Charles fan, but Islam looks unbeatable right now. I think the game plan for Oliveira wasn’t sound on the feet and there were some questionable decisions and too much comfortability that accepted bad positions on the ground. But this fight result was less on what Charles didn’t do and more reflective on how good Islam is at poking holes in his opponents. Islam’s defense is unmatched on the feet and ground, which help setup multiple angles for strikes on the feet and controlling positions on top of Oliveira. In terms of betting, I don’t see anyone getting Islam at underdog odds for the foreseeable future and highly doubt anyone in the current top 15 can defeat him. I’m very interested to see how Volkanovski fares against the new champion up a weight class, as his shiftiness and neck-less body could make him a tough opponent to land on or submit. I’d put Islam at -300 minimum for that fight, as well as any other top contender until someone at the top can truly test his will in the octagon. And for Charles, I doubt he will return to fight for the belt once more but I do believe he can beat many ranked opponents as the division turns over on itself.
  • Ideal Next Fights:
    • #1 Charles Oliveira vs. #6 Beneil Dariush (#1 contender fight) or #7 Rafael Fiziev (if Gaethje vs. Fiziev doesn’t happen)
    • *Champion* Islam Makhachev vs. *FW Champion* Alexander Volkanovski or #6 Beneil Dariush

Emrick’s Combat Sports Betting Recap:

  • Straight Bets:
    • Dawg of the Week (7-8): Belal Muhammad ML
      • 0.5u
      • Winner via TKO
    • Lock of the Week (5-2): Petr Yan ML
      • 3u
      • Loser via SD
    • And new-ish: Oliveira ML
      • 1.4u
      • Loser via Submission
  • Parlay Bet:
    • Barralho, Mokaev, Sterling ML’s
      • 0.5u
      • Winner
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