When Khabib Nurmagomedov vacated the UFC's light-weight championship and retired from blended martial arts two years in the past,
The game's expectations turned to his longtime teammate and protégé, Islam Makhachev. And now his time has come.
Makhachev (22-1) will try and win the UFC's 155-pound title on Saturday
When he meets Charles Oliveira (33-8) on the principal occasion of UFC 280 inside Etihad Area in Abu Dhabi
The timing of the matchup in all probability could not be any higher.
Makhachev was all the time anticipated to combat for the belt sooner or later, and he'll now achieve this towards a foe in Oliveira whom nobody desires to guess towards.
Oliveira has battled by adversity in every of his three title defenses towards Michael Chandler, Dustin Poirier and Justin Gaethje earlier than income end.
The Brazilian fighter has received 11 in a row, securing 10 finishes within the course of.
The only reason he isn't technically the lightweight champion this week is that he missed weight by one-half pound forward of his most up-to-date win towards Gaethje in May.
Along with the principal occasion, bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling (21-3) will defend his title against TJ Dillashaw (17-4)
And fan favorite Sean O'Malley (15-1) will face the most important check of his profession in Petr Yan (16-3).