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Charles Oliveira Beats Michael Chandler Via TKO to Win Title at UFC 262

Alex Ballentine@Ballentine_AlexFeatured ColumnistMay 16, 2021

Charles Oliveira, left, and Frankie Edgar battle during their UFC 162 mixed martial arts featherweight bout at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on Saturday, July 6, 2013, in Las Vegas. Edgar won the three round fight with a unanimous decision. (AP Photo/David Becker)
David Becker/Associated Press

Charles Oliveira has become the new UFC lightweight champion with a second-round knockout win over Michael Chandler in the main event of UFC 262 from the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas.

The fast and furious title fight was a story of extremes before the new champion was crowned in a wild turn of events. 

Chandler started off strong, exploding into a left hook and putting on a guillotine choke in response to a takedown attempt from "Do Bronx." But grappling with Oliveira is akin to pulling on Superman's cape and Oliveira soon had Chandler's back. 

The former Missouri wrestler was able to work his way back to the feet, though. That was bad news for Oliveira. Once again Chandler exploded into some punches and this time they found a home. He was left scrambling and hoping the fight wasn't stopped too early. 

Fortunately for the new champion, he was given an opportunity to recover and lived to fight another round. 

As it turns out, that round was all he needed. Oliveira stood in the pocket and delivered a perfectly-timed left hook that set up the beginning of the end and the stunning come-from-behind win was on. 

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The win puts Oliveira's slow rise to the top of the UFC in the record books:

It was a showcase of all the best attributes for Oliveira. His toughness, slick grappling and continuously improved striking are what is going to make him a tough champion to dethrone. 

The win is a mountaintop moment for Do Bronx. He has fought in the UFC for more than a decade but just earned his first shot at a UFC title. He debuted as a 20-year-old with a win over Darren Elkins at UFC on Versus 2. 

The UFC landscape has shifted several times since then. Now it is one with Oliveira atop one of the most competitive divisions in the sport. 

Despite years of up-and-down performances and streaks, Oliveira has kept his eye on the prize. 

"That's why I entered the UFC," Oliveira told Justin Barrasso of Sports Illustrated. "I've stayed grounded and humble. I haven't forgotten where I came from, but I also know where I can go. I could gain a lot more money if I were a trash-talker, but I respect and admire my opponents."

Now Oliveira is in a position to really blossom into a star.

Khabib Nurmagomedov has reigned over the division since claiming the then-vacant crown in April 2018. However, he capped off a perfect 29-0 career with a submission win over Justin Gaethje and called it a career, marking a new era of the lightweight division. 

That new era will at least start with Oliveira as the champion. The Brazilian has rarely been in the spotlight despite his lengthy career. Now he's hoping to draw the winner of Dustin Poirier and Conor McGregor who are slated to fight in July. 

That would certainly be a big draw that would bring plenty of attention and presumably money to Do Bronx. A win over either of them would add even more legitimacy to his title in the post-Nurmagomedov lightweight world. 

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