Will Volkanovski-Makhachev winner be P4P No. 1? Can O’Malley be a champion in 2023?

After the wild ride that was UFC 280 in Abu Dhabi last weekend, there are still plenty of unanswered questions. What fight should the UFC look to make for new lightweight champ Islam Makhachev, and if the matchup is Alexander Volkanovski, how would that affect the pound-for-pound rankings? Will Sean O’Malley challenge for a title … Read more

‘I told you guys Islam Makhachev is the best’ — Khabib’s words prove prophetic in UFC 280 master class

By becoming UFC lightweight champion Saturday, Islam Makhachev fulfilled a prophecy. Maybe it was really just a lifelong friend expressing faith and brotherhood, but when Khabib Nurmagomedov briefly interrupted a Makhachev news conference three years ago, it felt like something far more consequential. Let’s call it a coronation-in-waiting. Nurmagomedov was still the champion then, having … Read more

UFC 280 takeaways — O’Malley belongs among elite, Sterling’s bizarre title run continues

5:21 PM ET Brett Okamoto Close ESPN Staff Writer MMA columnist for ESPN.com Analyst for “MMA Live” Covered MMA for Las Vegas Sun Marc Raimondi What can we take away from a fascinating slate of title fights and marquee matchups at UFC 280? Marc Raimondi and Brett Okamoto offer up their thoughts from a highlight-packed … Read more

UFC 280 Oliveira vs. Makhachev

When Khabib Nurmagomedov vacated the UFC’s lightweight championship and retired from mixed martial arts two years ago, the sport’s expectations turned to his longtime teammate and protégé, Islam Makhachev. And now his time has come. Makhachev (22-1) will attempt to win the UFC’s 155-pound title on Saturday when he meets Charles Oliveira (33-8) in the … Read more

Can an internet troll become a UFC champion? Sean O’Malley wants to find out

PEORIA, Ariz. — Sean O’Malley was feeling good. It was 5 p.m. on a Saturday in September, about five weeks into his camp for this weekend’s bantamweight fight against Petr Yan at UFC 280 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. O’Malley had looked great in sparring that morning and was sitting down to a well-deserved … Read more

Dana White’s Power Slap League gets approval from NSAC

UFC president Dana White’s new combat sports venture — slap fighting — will be a licensed athletic competition in Nevada. Dana White’s Power Slap League will be regulated and overseen by the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) following a vote Tuesday in Las Vegas at the commission’s monthly meeting. UFC chief business officer Hunter Campbell, … Read more

For a perennial No. 2 in UFC, there’s always more work to do

9:18 AM ET Jeff WagenheimESPN A dominant champion lords over the fight game like a king. There’s respect piled on from all directions, sometimes admiringly, sometimes grudgingly. The champ’s every trip inside the Octagon draws the rapt anticipation of how greatness will manifest itself once again. The fans, even those generally hard to please, stand … Read more

New UFC policy prohibits fighters from wagering on promotion’s fights

The UFC will now prohibit its fighters from betting on UFC fights, according to a memo sent to athletes and their teams Monday by UFC chief business officer Hunter Campbell. In the letter, obtained by ESPN, Campbell wrote that the UFC athlete code of conduct will now include a prohibition of wagering on UFC fights … Read more

Alexa Grasso tops Viviane Araujo by decision at UFC Fight Night

10:47 PM ET Jeff WagenheimESPN Alexa Grasso showed Saturday she has fully settled in as a flyweight, winning her fourth fight in a row since bulking up from strawweight two years ago. Her conquest in the main event of UFC Fight Night in Las Vegas came by unanimous decision against a fellow top-10 contender in … Read more

Four fighters to watch from Season 6 of Dana White’s Contender Series

Just like in previous seasons, Season 6 of Dana White’s Contender Series brought in MMA prospects from around the world, giving them a chance to make a name for themselves in UFC. After 43 of the competitors earned contracts, the most ever in a season, there are plenty of new names for fans to get … Read more