When Khabib Nurmagomedov vacated the UFC's lightweight championship and retired from mixed martial arts two years ago, the sport's expectations turned to his longtime teammate and protégé, Islam Makhachev. And now his time has come.
Makhachev (22-1) will attempt to win the UFC's 155-pound title on Saturday when he meets Charles Oliveira (33-8) in the main event of UFC 280 inside Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. The pay-per-view airs at a special time of 2 p.m. ET.
The timing of the matchup probably couldn't be any better. Makhachev was always expected to fight for the belt at some point, and he will now do so against a foe in Oliveira whom no one wants to bet against.