This past Saturday night in the co-main event of UFC 289, we saw a lightweight title eliminator. Former world champion Charles Oliveira (34-9) was looking to bounce back as he took on surging top contender Beneil Dariush (22-5-1) who was looking for his crowning moment in the division.
Dariush had won eight straight fights to get to this title eliminator against Oliveira. Meanwhile, Oliveira was coming off a loss to Islam Makhachev last October for the lightweight title. Oliveira’s loss snapped an 11-fight winning streak that saw him capture the lightweight title and defeat some of the best lightweights in the world.
The fight started with a very past pace on Saturday night. As we’re accustomed to seeing Oliveira started with immediate pressure and was going after Dariush. After they clinched, Oliveira went for a trip, but Dariush secured the takedown. For the majority of the first round, Dariush was on top landing shots.
However, Oliveira worked his way back to his feet with about 90 seconds left in the round. From there, he put on a striking clinic. He rocked Dariush with a head kick and was relentless in his pursuit. Dariush went for a desperation takedown, but Oliveira ended up on top. He hammered Dariush with shots until the referee stopped it.
Another dominant win for the former UFC champion.
What’s next after UFC 289?
After the fight was over, lightweight champ Islam Makhachev tweeted reminding Oliveira that there are levels to the lightweight division. Insinuating that Oliveira is not on his after their first fight. Well, it’s time that they run it back.
I saw a bunch of commentary online about how the winner of Dustin Poirier – Justin Gaethje at UFC 291 needs to fight for the title. That absolutely should not happen. Yes, Makhachev defeated Oliveira and wants a fresh challenge. However, the UFC owes it to Oliveira to give him that fight.
Despite the head-to-head win, nothing Islam Makhachev has done in the lightweight division is more impressive that what Oliveira’s done. Oliveira holds wins over Beneil Dariush, Dustin Poirier, Justin Gaethje, and Michael Chandler. Did I mention that he not only holds wins over those guys but he finished all four of them?
Oliveira is a star and the UFC knows that. He got the biggest reception out of anyone all weekend. Makhachev might want a fresh opponent, but he’s not going to get one. Charles Oliveira will be the next one fighting for the lightweight title. Unless there’s an injury, anything else would be tragic.