Charles Oliveira proved why he is the best lightweight in the world once again at UFC 274. After Justin Gaethje knocked him down twice, Oliveira knocked the challenger down then submitted him.
It’s impossible to look at the main event at UFC 274 without discussing the events that immediately preceded it. What should have been a lightweight title fight is now a mishmash that sees only Justin Gaethje eligible to win the UFC’s vacant 155 pound title, after Charles Oliveira missed weight for the fight on Friday morning.
That he missed only by half a pound no doubt makes it a hard pill to swallow, especially given past weigh-in controversies including Daniel Cormier’s infamous towel-gate, and an iffy weigh-in by Khabib Nurmagomedov in Abu Dhabi. Add to that concerns about a backstage scale being off, and you had to wonder what Oliveira’s mental state was heading into the fight. Not to mention his physical state.
And Justin Gaethje, entering his second shot at gold? We all knew what to expected there, right? Sheer violence, most likely.
The fight started as wild as expected. Gaethje landed big leg kicks and knocked down Oliveira out of the gate. Oliveira landed a combination then was put down by Gaethje again. Oliveira again got back up and started to land strikes of his own. In classic Gaethje fashion, there was very little defense. Oliveira landed a combination and a big knee. A right hand knocked Gaethje down and Oliveira pounced. He began working for an armbar that briefly turned into a triangle, but Gaethje forced his way out of it. On his way to his feet, Oliveira jumped on Gaethje’s back and pulled him down right into a rear-naked choke. Gaethje broke the grip once, but he could not do it twice, as Oliveira forced Gaethje to tap.
Due to Oliveira missing weight, the lightweight title is now vacant. Dana White assured him he is the top contender at 155 pounds.
Charles Oliveira def. Justin Gaethje by Submission (Rear-Naked Choke) in Round 1 (3:22)