UFC 274 Recap: Charles Oliveira announces himself as the best lightweight on the planet

All the build-up circled around the controversy surrounding Charles Oliveira’s weight cut, and his title being stripped ahead of his fight with #1 contender Justin Gaethje. The Brazilian left no doubt in the mind of anyone watching last night who the best 155-pounder on the planet is as he steamrolled Justin Gaethje in the very first round in the main event. “Do Bronx” piled on the pressure from the starting bell and traded blows with Gaethje. Oliveira got clipped on two occasions and fell down to his back, likely with the hopes that Gaethje would follow him down, personally I think he was playing possum.

Oliveira also hurt Gaethje in the boxing exchanges and landed some nice knees from the clinch. The finish came from a wild exchange which seen both warriors throw in wild flurries and it was a straight right that hurt and dropped Gaethje. Oliveira pounced and took the back of his rival, sunk in a rear-naked choke and forced the tap in what was a very exciting round and main event overall. The title is now vacant and now it will be interested to see what the UFC decides to do with the belt. Islam Makhachev is waiting in the wings and has already spoke out to fight for the vacant title later on this year.

The co-main event, a strawweight title fight between champion Rose Namajunas & Carla Esparza offered very little in the way of entertainment. There was very little offence thrown by either fighter in the first three round. Most of the rounds were scored based off only a couple of shots that were thrown by both women which made them really difficult to score. This made each and every round a toss up. Rose’s corner thought she was winning and told her at one stage that she was up by three rounds going into round five. The judges had other ideas, they were split in their decision. One judge scored it 48-47 Rose, one scored it 48-47 Carla and the final judge had it 49-46 to Carla Esparza and she became the new 115-pound champion. Namajunas was in disbelief, in reality the fight could have gone either way. Rose’s lack of offence really cost her and the fight overall was dreadful to watch.

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Tony Ferguson was getting the upper hand in round one as he and Mike Chandler went toe-to-toe in the lightweight division. Chandler couldn’t find his range and struggled to get off his punches, Ferguson did well to keep him at bay with some nice jabs an front kicks. Ferguson dropped his opponent but Chandler recovered and landed an monster takedown midway through round one. “El Cucuy” landed some nice elbows from the bottom which cut his rival but Chandler returned the favour a split Ferguson with his own shots from the top. A close first round ended and it could have gone either way, the fight was living up to its pre-fight hype exceptions. As the second round started, Chandler connected with a front kick to the face which knocked Ferguson out cold. The fight was over just 15-seconds into the second round. Chandler left the cage with a knockout of the year contender and the American cut a serious promo and called out Conor McGregor for a fight at 170 pounds. Well played sir.

Shogun Rua and Ovince St. Preux rematched in the light heavyweight divison. Both Rua and St. Preux looked way past their sell by date and the fight itself was a pretty boring affair. All three judges were split when it came to the scorecards. One judge had the fight for Rua, the other two sided with St. Preux and he snapped a two-fight losing skid. Not a fight for the ages.

After Donald Cerrone was forced to pull out of his fight with Joe Lauzon due to food poisoning, the Randy Brown and Khaos Williams fight was moved to the main card. Both welterweight competitors fought in a close encounter which played out mainly on the feet. Brown was the quicker of the two but Khaos held the power advantage. A clash of heads wobbled Brown in round one, Brown recovered as was able to dodge most of his opponents attacks enroute to a split decision victory. It was a back a forth battle, not too exciting but a decent win over a tough opponent for Randy Brown.

At 43-years of age, Francisco Trinaldo hurt Danny Roberts in the early stages of the fight and dominated the UK based welterweight over the course of three rounds. The Brazilian poured it on Roberts for the majority of the contest and could have finished Roberts but choose the safer route and grappled and went on to win by unanimous decision. Trinaldo won his second in a row and put on a hell of a showing for a man of his age.

It’s rare these days to see women’s featherweight contest inside the octagon but Macy Chiasson and Norma Dumont competed at 145-pounds and went all three rounds. This was a boring affair overall, a lot of clinching against the cage frustrated the live crowd with the judges called in to decide the winner. Both women thought they won it but Chiasson took the fight by split decision. The women’s featherweight division is in real trouble.

Brandon Royval vs. Matt Schnell was the diamond in the rough on the prelims section of the card and the fight did not disappoint. Both flyweights traded on the feet, both landing some nice shots, but it was Schnell who drew first blood. Royval looked to be winning the exchanges, but got hurt by a nasty right straight from Schnell who followed his hurt opponent to the canvas. Schnell choose to stay grappling with his adversary and it turned out to be a costly mistake. Royval was active off his back and scrambled well, he managed to secure a guillotine, an excellent submission victory and called out for the next title shot at 125-pounds.

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Blagoy Ivanov and Marco Rogério de Lima went to battle in the heavyweight division to kick off the prelims section of the card. Rogério de Lima landed some heavy blows in the first round but couldn’t put Ivanov away. Ivanov had the better of the exchanges in round two and landed some big shots of his own and it was all to fight for in round three. The slugfest continued into found three with both heavyweights emptying the gas tank. Ivanov also rallied in round three and did enough on the scorecards to take the decision win.

Cameron VanCamp had a tough challenge on his UFC debut when he faced off against rising Portuguese welterweight, Andre Fialho. VanCamp traded with his rival from the get-go and that would be to his detriment. After clipping Fialho, VanCamp chased a knockout but ended up walking right onto a left hook which sent him crashing to the canvas. It was Fialho’s second win in 21-days and he is likely to be matched up with a ranked opponant and called to be on the singapore card in his post-fight interview.

The featured early prelim was in the women’s flyweight division as Tracy Cortez took on Melissa Gatto. Cortez won her tenth fight in a row and looked great in victory in front of her hometown crowd. Gatto lost the first fight of her professional career.

Kleydson Rodrigues made his UFC debut and took on short notice replacement C.J. Vergara in a flyweight clash. Both guys fought a phenomenal fight and left it all in the octagon, Rodrigues was touted as the favourite but Vergara gave him all that he could handle with two out of three judges gave him the win on the scorecards. A brilliant all action fight.

Loopy Godinez fought four times in 2021, she faced off against Ariane Carnelossi her first fight of 2022 in the women’s strawweight division. Both women came in with a strong grappling pedigree, Godinez got the better of the early grappling exchanges and looked the stronger of the two. That was the trend for the entire fight as Loopy dominated throughout the fight to a lopsided decision win. Godinez is one to watch in the women’s 115-pound division.

Journey Newson and Fernie Garcia kicked proceedings off in the bantamweight division. Newson was making his UFC debut and Garcia was in search for a win after tasting defeat in his last outing. After a close battle it was Newson that picked up the win on the judges’ scorecards. Garcia was hurt on the feet a couple of time during the course of the fight and it was a disappointing debut for the American. Newson returned to action after a two year layoff a looked impressive in victory.

UFC 274 Official Results


Charles Oliveira def. Justin Gaethje via first-round submission (rear-naked choke)
Carla Esparza def. Rose Namajunas (c) via split decision (47-48, 49-46, 48-47)
Michael Chandler def. Tony Ferguson second-round knockout (front kick)
Ovince Saint Preux def. Mauricio Rua via split decision (28-29, 29-28, 30-27)
Randy Brown def. Khaos Williams via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Francisco Trinaldo def. Danny Roberts via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-26, 30-27)
Macy Chiasson def. Norma Dumont via split decision (30-27, 28-29, 30-27)
Brandon Royval def. Matt Schnell via first-round submission (guillotine choke)
Blagoy Ivanov def. Marcos Rogerio De Lima via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Andre Fiahlo def. Cameron Vancamp via first-round TKO (punches)
Tracy Cortez def. Melissa Gatto via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
CJ Vergara def. Kleidison Rodrigues via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Loopy Godinez def. Ariane Carnelossi via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-26, 30-26)
Journey Newson def. Fernie Garcia via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)

Ian O'Neill is the host of the SevereMMA UFC Preview show and one of the co-hosts of The Auld Triangle - Irish MMA podcast. You can find more of Ian's work on the SevereMMA Patreon where he co-hosts The Chasing Pack and The Contender. Follow him on Twitter and on Instagram @ioneillmma