MMA fighting styles

UFC 280 fight card: Petr Yan vs. Sean O’Malley, Belal Muhammad vs. Sean Brady among fights to watch

UFC 280 is the pay-per-view for fight fans. The promotion heads to Abu Dhabi on Saturday with a fight card that celebrates the very best in lightweight and bantamweight divisions.

The event is headlined by a fight for the vacant lightweight title between former champion Charles Oliveira and rising contender Islam Makhachev. Oliviera is on an incredible streak of destruction with 11 straight wins dating back to 2018. He also never lost the title in the cage as he was stripped for underweight ahead of his clash with Justin Gaethje in May.

In addition to the wild main event, the co-feature also sees a title on the line in a match that is sure to catch fans’ eyes. Bantamweight king Aljamain Sterling is set to face former titleholder TJ Dillashaw. This will be Sterling’s second defense of the 135-pound title and first since his two-fight streak with Petr Yan. Dillashaw is back after undergoing knee surgery in 2021 and serving a two-year suspension from USADA that cost him the title.

CBS Sports has compiled three must-see fights outside of the title scene.

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Petr Yan vs. Sean O’Malley

The “Suga Show” is heading for a gold rush if O’Malley can overcome expectations against former champion Petr Yan at UFC 280. The general impression is that Yan is too stiff for O’Malley, who has yet to face an opponent in the top 10 at the time of their fight. Despite the potential gap in their skills, matchmaking has a lot to offer. O’Malley put his spin on Conor McGregor’s brash confidence formula. The UFC can attach a fan-powered rocket to O’Malley if he beats Yan. A loss for O’Malley won’t do much to hurt his standing in the division, but will invigorate Yan and win him new fans. All that aside, these two forwards are sure to put up a fun fight for as long as it lasts.

Beneil Dariush vs Mateusz Gamrot

Wait for that second cup of coffee, Dariush versus Gamrot is all the caffeine you need. Dariush’s new approach to the fighting game resembles Oliveira’s. Traditionally a grappling threat, Dariush has evolved into a powerful and dynamic striker who gives better than he gets. Dariush – just before beating Tony Ferguson – landed four fight bonuses in five fights and likely would have gone five fights in a row had it not been for a weight miss against Scott Holtzman. The versatile Gamrot displayed his knockout power against Carlos Diego Ferreira and Holtzman inside the Octagon. He and Arman Tsarukyan featured some of the most thrilling grappling exchanges in UFC history in June, Gamrot’s fourth straight victory. Whoever emerges victorious in this key lightweight bout could be next in line for the winner of Oliveira-Makhachev.

Belal Muhammad vs. Sean Brady

Muhammad and Brady find themselves in an interesting position. Both flirt a lot with welterweight title considerations: Muhammad is on an eight-fight unbeaten streak and Brady extended his record to 15-0 after five UFC appearances. The challenge is that these top grapplers haven’t showcased particularly exciting styles in a division made up of the likes of Khamzat Chimaev, Colby Covington and Jorge Masvidal. It’s possible that Muhammad and Brady will pit each other and produce a stand-up fight, but even then Muhammad is doing a fantastic job of avoiding damage. The real beauty of this fight is that whoever wins should be undeniable in their pursuit of a big budget fight against someone in the top five.

Who wins Oliveira against Makhachev? And how exactly does each fight end? Visit SportsLine now for detailed picks on every fight at UFC 280, all from the unrivaled expert who has earned over $13,000 on MMA over the past three plus years, and find out.