UFC 288 continues to bring the heat and today we learned that a huge matchup at lightweight will go down on the main card. MMA Junkie was able to confirm and report that former lightweight champion Charles Oliveira (33-9) will be taking on top contender Beneil Dariush (22-4-1).
This matchup has long been rumored but now it is official and the winner will likely be next in line for the lightweight title. The fight will mark the return of Charles Oliveira who hasn’t fought since he dropped the title to Islam Makhachev back in October.
Prior to his loss to Makhachev, Oliveira looked like the best fighter in the world. He had won 11 straight fights. His four wins leading up to the Makhachev loss were against Tony Ferguson, Michael Chandler, Dustin Poirier, and Justin Gaethje. He’s looking to get back to his UFC title that means the world to him.
While Beneil Dariush is deserving of a UFC title shot right now, this is the next best thing. Dariush has won eight fights in a row and continues looking better and better each time he fights. Many believe that Dariush poses the biggest challenge to Makhachev in the lightweight division given his skillset.
The last time we saw Dariush was at the end of last year when he defeated Mateusz Gamrot at UFC 280. Dariush had been scheduled to fight both Islam Makhachev and Charles Oliveira over the past couple of years. However, the fights always fell through. Now, he gets his shot at Oliveira.
If Dariush gets by Oliveira, nobody can say anything about whether or not he deserves a title shot.