Oliveira (33-8-1, fighting out of Sao Paolo, Brazil) will be looking to regain the vacant title after his recent dominant victory over Justin Gaethje. The Brazilian became champion with a second-round stoppage of Michael Chandler in May 2021, before defending successfully against Dustin Poirier seven months later. Due to Oliveira missing weight, only Gaethje was eligible to take the title when the two met in May this year. Despite this, Oliveira secured a first-round submission win to cement his place at the head of the division’s rankings, extending UFC records for most finishes (19) and most submissions (16) in the process. His sights will be firmly set on taking back the title in Abu Dhabi.
Makhachev (22-1, fighting out of Makhachkala, Dagestan) is already a crowd favourite in Abu Dhabi, following bouts with Davy Ramos and Dan Hooker, in the UAE capital, in 2019 and 2021 respectively. A product of the famed Nurmagomedov team, Makhachev is on a 10-fight win streak, having stopped Bobby Green in the opening round of his last outing. A gifted ground fighter, Makhachev has 10 submission wins during his MMA career, and will be looking to add Oliveira’s name to his winning streak by claiming the lightweight title in front of what will effectively be a ‘home’ crowd in Abu Dhabi.