Charles Oliveira Beats Justin Gaethje via Submission After Missing Weight for UFC 274

Adam WellsMay 8, 2022

PHOENIX, ARIZONA - MAY 07: Charles Oliveira of Brazil prepares to fight Justin Gaethje in the UFC lightweight championship fight during the UFC 274 event at Footprint Center on May 07, 2022 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)
Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC

Charlies Oliveira's streak of dominance continued on Saturday night with a thrilling first-round submission win over Justin Gaethje in the main event of UFC 274. 

After the two men traded punches, which saw both of them dropped to the canvas a combined total of three times, Oliveira tried to lock in a triangle choke. 

Gaethje was able to escape the triangle attempt, but Oliveira was able to get his back and lock in a rear-naked choke to get the tapout with just over 90 seconds remaining in the opening round. 

UFC @ufc

The most dangerous finisher in the UFC strikes again 💥<br><br>[ <a href="https://twitter.com/CharlesDoBronxs?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@CharlesDoBronxs</a> | <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/UFC274?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#UFC274</a> ] <a href="https://t.co/E0EgLi71A2">pic.twitter.com/E0EgLi71A2</a>

Of course, the enthusiasm over this win is tempered because of what happened at Friday's weigh-in. Oliveira was stripped of the lightweight title after he tipped the scales at 155.5 pounds, one-half pound over the weight limit. 

He became the first reigning champion to be stripped of a title before a bout for failing to make weight.

As a result, UFC officials ruled Oliveira was ineligible to win the championship. Gaethje would have won the lightweight crown if he had been able to win. 

This marks the fifth time in his UFC career that Oliveira has failed to make weight prior to a fight, but it's the first time it has happened as a lightweight. He missed weight four times in a 10-fight span when he competed in the featherweight division. 

While this has been an unfortunate situation Oliveira put himself in, inside the Octagon, he is amid the most dominant run of his career. The Brazilian superstar has won 11 consecutive fights dating back to 2018. He set UFC records for most career finishes (18) and submissions (15) in his last fight against Dustin Poirier. 

The lightweight title will remain vacant, with Oliveira likely taking on an opponent at some point later in the year to determine a new champion. 

Oliveira issued a challenge to Conor McGregor while he was being interviewed inside the Octagon by Joe Rogan.

UFC on BT Sport @btsportufc

"There's something missing here. The champion has a name and it's Charles 'Do Bronx' Oliveira."<br><br>"Hey, Conor McGregor you coming up or are you gonna run away?!"<a href="https://twitter.com/CharlesDoBronxs?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@CharlesDoBronxs</a> 😤 <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/UFC274?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#UFC274</a> <a href="https://t.co/ZWqAQTKRTi">pic.twitter.com/ZWqAQTKRTi</a>

Originally signed by UFC in 2010, Do Bronx didn't get his first shot at the 155-pound title until May 2021 after Khabib Nurmagomedov officially retired to vacate the crown. He made the most of his opportunity, defeating Michael Chandler at UFC 262 to win the championship. 

Oliveira made his first successful title defense at UFC 269 in December by submitting Dustin Poirier. 

Coming into the fight, Gaethje didn't seem impressed by the resume that Oliveira has built over the course of his career during a pre-fight press conference on May 4: 

"The same Charles that fought Cub Swanson. The same Charles that fought Donald Cerrone. The same Charles that fought [Anthony] Pettis. Choices were made by him and the choice to quit was made, and I’m going to give him that choice on Saturday night. Once a coward always a coward. I’m not calling him a coward, but I’m saying that’s—you can’t just take that away. It’s there. Khabib never showed you that, and that’s why you can’t compare those two."

Gaethje held the interim lightweight title for five months when he defeated Tony Ferguson at UFC 249. He lost to Nurmagomedov in a title unification bout at UFC 254. The Eagle officially retired from competition in March 2021. 

The Highlight earned this shot at the title thanks to a thrilling win over Chandler at UFC 268. He won by unanimous decision in a bout widely praised as one of the best fights in the history of the promotion. 

Oliveira is one of the longest-tenured fighters in UFC. Saturday marked his 30th fight with the organization. He has only lost once since returning to the lightweight division in 2017, a span of 13 fights.