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Tsarukyan fends off submissions to beat Oliveira

Chris Unger / UFC / Getty

Rising UFC lightweight contender Arman Tsarukyan earned the biggest win of his career against a former champion Saturday night.

Tsarukyan defeated Charles Oliveira via split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28) at UFC 300 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Tsarukyan survived deep submission attempts by Oliveira in Rounds 1 and 3 to secure the victory. Afterward, he called for a title shot against current champ Islam Makhachev.

"I want to fight for the title next," Tsarukyan said after beating Oliveira, the No. 1-ranked lightweight. "I'm gonna be the youngest champion in the UFC's 155-pound division."

Oliveira nearly submitted Tsarukyan with a guillotine in the first round and then almost pulled off a Hail Mary choke late in the third, but Tsarukyan otherwise outworked him throughout most of the fight. Tsarukyan outlanded Oliveira 49-19 in significant strikes, converted two of four takedowns, and spent more than eight minutes on top.

Tsarukyan is now riding a four-fight winning streak and will be at least in the conversation for the next title shot. Tsarukyan suffered a unanimous decision loss to Makhachev in his UFC debut in 2019, but the Armenian-Russian fighter has put together a 9-1 record since then to become one of the best lightweights in the world.

"I gave him the toughest fight," Tsarukyan said of Makhachev. "Next fight, I'm gonna beat him. Just give me the opportunity and let's see."

Oliveira was coming off a knockout win over Beneil Dariush at UFC 289 last June. "Do Bronx" is 1-2 in his last three Octagon appearances.

Oliveira was scheduled to challenge Makhachev for the belt in a rematch last October, but the Brazilian withdrew from the bout due to an injury and then signed up to fight Tsarukyan instead.

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