PHOENIX — Charles Oliveira is not the official champion. However he is the champion.
Oliveira, beneath extraordinarily troublesome circumstances, submitted Justin Gaethje through rear-naked choke simply 3:22 into the primary spherical of their light-weight battle at UFC 274 inside Footprint Heart.
Oliveira (33-8) was scheduled to defend his title in opposition to Gaethje (23-4) at UFC 274 however was stripped of the belt as a substitute after lacking weight by half a pound on Friday. It meant that going into Saturday’s battle, solely Gaethje may win the belt; if Oliveira gained, it could stay vacant.
If that had an influence on Oliveira’s mindset, it was solely a optimistic one. The Brazilian fighter was ultra-aggressive from the opening bell. He staggered Gaethje, who’s from Arizona, instantly with a proper hand and threw kicks to the physique. Gaethje responded in sort. He dropped Oliveira twice within the very brief battle, as soon as with a left hook and once more with a proper. Each instances Gaethje stepped again and allowed Oliveira to rise up.
Oliveira, 32, even pulled guard at one level, however Gaethje, 33, backed off. Nevertheless, it was a proper hand down the center by Oliveira that dropped Gaethje once more and was the start of the tip. Oliveira adopted him to the ground and arrange a triangle then a rear-naked choke. Gaethje refused to faucet and went unconscious.
It is unclear what’s going to occur within the instant aftermath. This case has by no means occurred in UFC historical past, a defending champion lacking weight and dropping the belt on the dimensions. UFC president Dana White instructed Oliveira instantly after the battle he’s a No. 1 contender and never a champion, though the game will definitely proceed to see him as such.
Additionally in the course of the battle, a younger girl ran from the stands and leaped onto the stage a couple of seconds after Oliveira submitted Gaethje. She began to climb the facet of the cage, however was instantly slammed to the concrete a number of toes beneath by a safety guard.
After seeming dazed for a couple of seconds, she tried to run towards a tunnel however stopped and sat in a chair. Safety instantly swarmed and took her away proper earlier than Gaethje left the sector flooring.
The Related Press contributed to this report.