Charles Oliveira may not be the UFC lightweight champion, but there is no doubt who is the best lightweight on the planet. Oliveira defeated Justin Gaethje in a violent sugar rush at UFC 274 on Saturday night.
Things, as usual during this lightweight title campaign, did not look good for Oliveira early on. Gaethje dropped Oliveira on two occasions in the opening round: first with a right uppercut and then with a left hook. “The Highlight” was aware of not engaging on the ground with Oliveira and welcomed him to his feet. Gaethje’s unwillingness to commit to land-and-pound led to his eventual death. Oliveira found a foothold and responded with relentless pressure. Combination boxing, knees, flying knees and a jumping front kick. “Do Bronx” found the home a right hand that sat Gaethje. Oliveira instantly spun his web on the ground and switched from a rear naked choker to an armbar to a triangular armbar before sinking into a bare choker at the back that forced Gaethje to knock.
UFC President Dana White was noticeably absent from the Octagon for her traditional role of wrapping the UFC title around the winner’s waist. Oliveira, who was the defending UFC lightweight champion at the start of the week, was stripped of his belt after losing weight by half a pound. There were rumors circulating from several fighters this week that inaccurate weights given to the fighter jets in advance contributed to weight issues. Either way, Oliveira is no longer the UFC lightweight champion, but will compete for it in his next fight.
“Hey there is something here,” Oliveira teased during the post-match interview with the help of a translator. “This is a message to the whole division. I’m a problem for the whole division. Look at this team, look at me. I’m the enlightened one. It’s my title. It should be here.
“Hi Conor McGregor, are you getting up, or are you running away?”
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Oliveira has extended its winning streak to 11 and has completed Gaethje, Dustin Poirier, Michael Chandler, Kevin Lee and many others over that stretch. The only small flaw – if you can call it that – is a clear unanimous decision victory over Tony Ferguson in December 2020.
White later confirmed that Oliveira would fight for the title in his next outing. White is in no doubt that Oliveira is the uncrowned champion of the division. Unfortunately, rules are rules.
“He’s the guy,” White told reporters at the UFC 274 press conference after the fight. “He did not make the weight. We have rules. He did not make the weight. The belt is vacant, but I’m sure Oliveira is a champion in the media and the fighting fans. But technically he is. The number one challenger now.”
Elsewhere, Carla Esparza regained the women’s strawweight title after nearly eight years away from the top of the mountain. “Cookie Monster” designated Rose Namajunas on two of the three referees’ scorecards to take home the belt she first won in 2014. Plus, Michael Chandler gave fans one of the ugliest knockouts in recent times with his front-kick finish by Tony Ferguson.
CBS Sports was with you all the way last Saturday, bringing you all the results and highlights from UFC 274 below.
UFC 274 Cards and Results
- Charles Oliveira def. Justin Gaethje via first round submission (back naked choke)
- Carla Esparza def. Rose Namajunas (c) by split decision (47-48, 49-46, 48-47)
- Michael Chandler def. Tony Ferguson second round knockout (kick in front)
- Ovince Saint Preux def. Mauricio Rua by split decision (28-29, 29-28, 30-27)
- Randy Brown def. Khaos Williams via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
- Francisco Trinaldo def. Danny Roberts by unanimous decision (29-28, 30-26, 30-27)
- Macy Chiasson def. Norma Dumont via split decision (30-27, 28-29, 30-27)
- Brandon Royval def. Matt Schnell via first round of submission (guillotine choke)
- Blagoy Ivanov def. Marcos Rogerio De Lima by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
- Andre Fiahlo def. Cameron Vancamp via first round TKO (stroke)
- Tracy Cortez def. Melissa Gatto by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
- CJ Vergara def. Kleidison Rodrigues by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
- Loopy Godinez def. Ariane Carnelossi by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-26, 30-26)
- Journey Newson def. Fernie Garcia by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)