Charles Oliveira forced to vacate lightweight title after failing to make weight ahead of UFC 274
Posted On May 7, 2022
Charles Oliveira has failed to make weight and must vacate his lightweight title, meaning only Justin Gaethje can claim the belt during UFC 274.
Charles Oliveira came in at about 200 grams over the 70kg limit
Oliveira can win the right to be the number one contender against Justin Gaethje in UFC 274
Oliveira has the most submissions in UFC history with 20
Oliveira (32-8) came in at about 200 grams over the 70kg limit. If he wins on Sunday (AEST), he will be the number one contender and get a shot at winning the title back in his next fight.
The fight against Gaethje will be the co-main event at UFC 274, along with Rose Namajunas’s strawweight title defence against former champion Carla Esparza.
Oliveira ran into trouble in his lightweight title fights against Michael Chandler and Dustin Poirier, rallying to beat both with a resolve that had been questioned earlier in his career.
The Brazilian will likely need to dig deep again against Justin Gaethje, one of the most aggressive fighters in any weight class.
“Listen, he’s a truck,” Oliveira said.
“He only moves forward, I only move forward, so there’s definitely going to be collisions, definitely going to be a clash.”
Title fight or not, it figures to be a violent nightcap to a main card that also includes Chandler facing former champion Tony Ferguson and Donald Cerrone squaring off against Joe Lauzon in what could potentially be the final fight in the career of “The Cowboy”.
The fight with Gaethje will be Oliveira’s second since taking the lightweight title from Chandler a year ago. Oliveira was wobbled by Chandler before knocking him out in the second round and had some similar shaky moments against Poirier in December before submitting him in the third round for his 10th-straight win.
The wins seemed to allow Oliveira to shed his reputation as a frontrunner, but Gaethje (24-3) believes constant pressure can bring back the quit in him.
“All my criticism of Charles is from a kid that we were all talking about, we all watched grow,” Gaethje said.
“Now we’re talking about a man with confidence. A different person, but ultimately the same Charles is still there.”
Gaethje won the interim lightweight title by pummelling Ferguson in 2020, but lost the title to Khabib Nurmagomedov in a second-round submittal later that year.
Gaethje, from Safford in the US state of Arizona, moved up to the number one contender in the lightweight class with a unanimous decision over Chandler in November.
Now he gets another shot at the title, this time against a crafty fighter who has the most submissions in UFC history with 20.