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Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Donagh Corby

UFC star Charles Oliveira takes lion for a walk ahead of Islam Makhachev fight

UFC star Charles Oliveira took a lion for a leisurely stroll as he prepares for his shot at winning back the lightweight title later this month.

Oliveira has arrived in the Middle East ahead of his upcoming fight with Islam Makhachev at the Etihad Arena which will feature as the main event of UFC 280 on October 22. For all intents and purposes, the Brazilian is the lightweight champion after winning his last defence within one round.

However, he was stripped before the bout for missing weight by half-a-pound, so the belt is now vacant. Now, he will look to beat not only the scales but a very difficult challenger in Makhachev, who is currently amidst an eleven-fight winning streak in the UFC. However, the Brazilian is by far the toughest test that he will have faced in the promotion.

And Oliveira appears to be taking some time for recreation outside of training, sharing a video on social media of himself walking a lion at a wildlife park in Dubai. He captioned the post with a message that in English reads "Lion walks with lion who doesn't like it respect my story."

The bout has had a number of minor controversies surrounding it, including confusion over who is the legitimate back-up fighter and a bizarre claim from Makhachev and his team that Oliveira wouldn't show up. It appears that the latter has been sorted as he is in Dubai, just a short hop from Abu Dhabi, but the former is still to be solved.

There are obvious concerns around Oliveira's ability to make the weight for the world title bout, and the UFC are known for enlisting a fighter to come and make weight in case of any issues. However, two men currently are laying claim to that position; featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski and lightweight contender Beneil Dariush.

Volkanovski is the No.1 pound-for-pound fighter in the UFC, but as recently as July broke his hand and has been out of action since. However, he claims that the promotion have made him the official back-up fighter, telling fans in a tweet: "It’s official, I’m the back up fighter for the lightweight title."

Who do you think will win at UFC 280; Charles Oliveira or Islam Makhachev? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below!

This confused Dariush, who believed that his fight with Mateusz Gamrot had only been added to this particular card in the event of an emergency in which he would be needed to step in. He is the highest-ranked contender in his division who has yet to fight for the belt in the last year-and-a-half, excluding Makhachev.

Dariush had never been given a written agreement that he was the next choice, but claims his manager Ali Abdelaziz was given verbal confirmation. ‘Honestly, I’m confused,” Dariush said during an appearance on Sirius XM. “I don’t know if he’s playing games or the UFC is playing games, because I was told I’m the fill in.

"That’s the whole point of having another lightweight fight on that card, just in case something goes wrong, so I don’t understand what’s going on here. I’m trying to get to the bottom of it, but ultimately I have one goal and that’s Gamrot. But I really thought I was the fill in, that’s what I was told.”

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