ABU DHABI: Islam Makhachev has always moved like a champion and on Saturday at UFC 280 the Russian became one, dethroning the man who had previously been considered the lightweight king, Charles Oliveira, via second-round submission. Makhachev poured the pressure on from the bell, landing a huge straight left in the first and working his way into control once the fight went to the ground. The end came after the Brazilian was knocked on to his back by a right hook and Makhachev slipped in a triangle choke that brought the tap at 3min16sec in the second round. Makhachev’s 22-1 career has been finely tuned by fellow Russian Khabib Nurmagomedov – arguably the greatest fighter the sport has seen – and the now-retired star was beaming at a performance that mirrored many of his own across an unbeaten 29-0 record. Makhachev handed his man the belt afterwards – while honouring his father Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov, the coach who guided both their careers before passing away in 2020. Oliveira had been stripped of the lightweight title for failing to make weight in his clash —- and eventual win —- against American Justin Gaethje back in May. In the night’s other title bout, bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling overpowered fellow American —- and former two-time champion —- TJ Dillashaw. Dillashaw entered the fight with left shoulder issues and then could do nothing much as it bizarrely seemed to keep popping out of its socket. It was just a matter of time before Sterling took Dillashaw down, and took full mount, and a flurry of unanswered blows brought the TKO call at 3:44 of the second.