UFC lightweight champion Charles Oliveira is expected to defend his 155-pound title against Justin Gaethje at UFC 274 scheduled for May 7.
The fight announcement was first revealed on Wednesday by UFC president Dana White via ESPN. While the original location in mind for the May 7 card was Brazil, as of this writing, the location and venue have yet to be determined and could still possibly take place in the U.S.
Oliveira and Gaethje will meet in May 💥
UFC is working on finalizing the lightweight title bout shortly, Dana White told @bokamotoESPN. pic.twitter.com/Cnplmi7Hz4
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) January 26, 2022
Prior to the reported match-up, Charles Oliveira was tasked with facing Dustin Poirier in his Dec. 2021 title defense. The fight saw swings in momentum but it was the Brazilian submission artist who utilized his skillset best to secure the victory.
Following Charles Oliveira’s UFC 269 rear-naked choke submission victory, many were under the impression that his next fight would come against the Arizona native Gaethje. Those suspicions were correct as the promotion put a stamp of approval on the contest for May.
Charles Oliveira Expected To Defend Title In May
Oliveira first secured gold in May 2021. The Brazilian has a very exciting fighting style, which is evident in the number of bonuses he’s earned with the promotion. In the wake of Khabib Nurmagomedov’s absence, Oliveira was tapped with Chandler to fight for the vacant 155-pound title.
During the fight, Charles Oliveira faced a stiff test as he was dropped and nearly finished by the former three-time Bellator champion but managed to still earn a TKO finish in round two. With stoppage victories against Chandler and Poirier, many are excited to see the story of “Do Bronx” unravel in 2022. What was once a struggling middle of the pack featherweight, found his center — and is now one of the fiercest competitors in the 155-pound division.
Meanwhile, Justin Gaethje will be looking to earn his first undisputed gold belt after coming up short against Nurmagomedov back in 2020. After the passing of his father, most felt Nurmagomedov only had a few fights left before he walked away.
The pair of top lightweights met in Abu. Dhabi, UAE. Given Gaethje’s ability to fire off damaging leg kicks, most were under the impression this would likely be the hardest fight of Khabib’s career. The former lightweight great outworked Gaethje for most of the fight, confusing the former WSOF champion with different looks and feints. In the end, Nurmagomedov would opt not to break Gaethje’s arm with an arm bar and put him to sleep with a triangle choke instead. Following the contest, Nurmagomedov retired from the sport of MMA.
Gaethje would succumb to the pressure of “The Eagle”, though Justin Gaethje returned for a thriller against Chandler at the end of last year. “The Highlight” showed that his knack for calculating damage in the midst of chaos is still among his best traits. While Chandler came up short, the victory was essential to Justin Gaethje’s second shot at undisputed lightweight gold.
The 155-pound division appears to be moving in the right direction. Recently, a suspected bout between Beneil Dariush and Islam Makhachev surfaced and that could have title ramifications in the near future. With Charles Oliveira and Justin Gaethje set up with a date, lightweight will be the center of attention at UFC 274.