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Charles Oliveira of Brazil poses for a portrait after his victory during the UFC 274 event at Footprint Center on May 07, 2022 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC)
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The 10: Onslaught Of Action In The Octagon In October

As October Approaches, We Break Down The Top Fights You Need To Watch 

Traditionally speaking, when there are four events in a month to choose from, the selections for this series are usually spread out a little more evenly, with each card accounting for at least two fights and the other couple landing wherever they may.

But when you have a slate like the one on tap at UFC 280 in the back half of the month, things rightfully skew heavily in the direction of that loaded pay-per-view show in Abu Dhabi, leaving the remaining three cards to fill in the space around the edges.

Don’t let that fool you though: each of this month’s non-pay-per-view shows have plenty to offer; they just understandably get overshadowed by the cavalcade of incredible fights set to hit the Octagon on October 22.

These are the fights that intrigue me the most this month.

This is the October 2022 edition of The 10.

UFC Fight Night: Dern vs. Yan (Saturday, October 1 — Las Vegas)

Mackenzie Dern vs. Xiaonan Yan 

This is an intriguing clash between Top 10 fixtures in the strawweight division coming into this main event from different directions.

Dern rebounded from her main event loss to Marina Rodriguez last year with a split decision win over Tecia Torres in April. Her submission game remains next level, her wrestling and striking continue to improve, and the days of questioning her conditioning are a thing of the past, all of which combine to make the 29-year-old an interesting name to track in the title conversation heading into this one.

Main Event Preview | UFC Fight Night: Dern vs Yan
Main Event Preview | UFC Fight Night: Dern vs Yan
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Yan entered last year on the cusp of contention, having run her unbeaten streak to 13 with six straight wins to begin her UFC tenure, but a second-round defeat at the hands of current champ Carla Esparza in May 2021 ended that run. She returned to action in March at UFC 272, dropping a split decision to Rodriguez, and now looks to get back into the win column by upending Dern in the first main event of the month.

The title picture is a little hazy at the moment in the 115-pound ranks. Esparza will defend her belt next months against Zhang Weili, but beyond that, there are familiar names in the mix — Rose Namajunas, Jessica Andrade, Rodriguez — but a dominant showing from either of these ladies could vault them into that collection to help round out a quartet battling to determine who is next in line.

UFC Fight Night: Grasso vs. Araujo (Saturday, October 15 — Las Vegas)

Alexa Grasso vs. Viviane Araujo

The second main event of the month is a mirror of the first in terms of position in the rankings, but up a division, as current Top 10 flyweight standouts Alexa Grasso and Viviane Araujo face off in Las Vegas.

Alexa Grasso of Mexico celebrates her submission victory over Joanne Wood of Scotland in a flyweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at Nationwide Arena on March 26, 2022 in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC)

Alexa Grasso of Mexico celebrates her submission victory over Joanne Wood of Scotland in a flyweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at Nationwide Arena on March 26, 2022 in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC)


The 29-year-old Grasso has been lights out since relocating to the 125-pound weight class, earning three straight wins capped by a first-round submission finish of Joanne Wood in March. After a couple years where it felt like the talented Mexican competitor wasn’t going to reach her full potential or be derailed by weight misses and injuries, everything seems to be coming together for Grasso, who is closing in on a championship opportunity.

In a little over three years, Araujo has established herself as a permanent presence in the Top 10 in the 125-pound weight class, settling just outside the championship set thanks to losses to Jessica Eye and Katlyn Chookagian. The 35-year-old Brazilian is one of the more well-rounded and complete fighters in the division, with smooth striking and movement, as well as solid wrestling if she wants to take things to the deck.

View The Fight Card | How To Watch 

This one carries very real championship implications in the flyweight division, as reigning queen Valentina Shevchenko continues to turn back all challengers. Her next assignment has yet to be determined, and how this one plays out could impact that decision. This is a massive test for each woman and should be an electric fight from start to finish.

UFC 280 (Saturday, October 22 — Abu Dhabi)

Belal Muhammad vs. Sean Brady

The divisional ramifications of this fight have shifted a little given the chaos that has ensued at the top of the welterweight division over the last two pay-per-view events, but it remains an outstanding matchup carrying tremendous significance nonetheless.

You really have to give it up to Muhammad for taking this fight, as the Chicagoland native is unbeaten in his last eight and on a three-fight run of success, and yet he’s not only fighting backwards in the rankings, but also taking on an undefeated rising star at the same time. Muhammad is a master at playing to his strengths, staying in his lane, and weaponizing his cardio, and after opening his UFC career with one win in his first three outings, he’s gone 11-1 with one no contest since.

Belal Muhammad punches Vicente Luque of Brazil in a welterweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on April 16, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

Belal Muhammad punches Vicente Luque of Brazil in a welterweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on April 16, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)


The 29-year-old Brady moved to 15-0 overall and 5-0 in the UFC last November with a unanimous decision win over Michael Chiesa. Philadelphia come to life as a fighter, Brady is gritty and tough, but skilled as well, brandishing a black belt in Brazilian jiu jitsu under Daniel Gracie. This is another stern test for the unbeaten up-and-comer, but he’s aced every test put in front of him thus far.

Order UFC 280: Oliveira vs Makhachev Today!

As great as this fight is as one of the preliminary card bouts on this month’s star-studded pay-per-view, a part of me wishes it was a five-round headliner on another card, just in order to see how Brady holds up over 25 minutes, if it gets there. If anyone had any remaining doubts or questions about either man, they should be answered when they step into the Octagon together in Abu Dhabi.

Katlyn Chookagian vs. Manon Fiorot

“Anyone I haven’t fought — Miesha Tate wins, Alexa Grasso, that French chick can get it; anyone.”

Those were Chookagian’s words following her split decision win over Amanda Ribas in May, and now, after a little reshuffling, she’s set to face off with Fiorot in Abu Dhabi.

RELATED: Chookagian Embraces Her Status In The Division | Fiorot Has Much More To Show 

Chookagian is the reigning silver medalist in the flyweight division, having put together a 9-3 record overall, and four consecutive victories, while constantly showing she’s superior to various hopefuls eager to earn their crack at the title. There is nothing flashy about what the 33-year-old “Blonde Fighter” brings to the Octagon, but she knows her strengths, fights within herself, and has proven tough to beat throughout her career.

Manon Fiorot of France punches Mayra Bueno Silva of Brazil in a flyweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on October 16, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

Manon Fiorot of France punches Mayra Bueno Silva of Brazil in a flyweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on October 16, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)


Fiorot — “the French chick,” as Chookagian called her — is 4-0 in the Octagon and 9-1 overall as a professional following a decorated amateur career. She’s shown more of her game, her conditioning, and her grit in her last two outings after blowing through her first two assignments with ease, and if she can get by the division’s perennial number one contender, Fiorot could find herself fighting for gold in 2023.

Stylistically this is a compelling clash, as Fiorot has a comparable rangy, kick-heavy style to Chookagian, who will have a slight height and reach advantage. Will her familiarity with the style help her find success or will the veteran continue turning aside hopefuls that cross her path?

Beneil Dariush vs. Mateusz Gamrot

While the main event will determine the new lightweight champion (more on that shortly), this one could establish who will be the first to face the newly minted titleholder in 2023.

View The UFC 280 Fight Card | Order UFC 280 

Dariush enters on a seven-fight winning streak, but hasn’t fought since May 2021. He was slated to face Islam Makhachev, but an injury forced him to the sidelines, resulting in Makhachev moving into a championship opportunity while the returning Kings MMA representative faces Gamrot here.

Mateusz Gamrot of Poland reacts after his victory over Arman Tsarukyan of Georgia in a lightweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on June 25, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

Mateusz Gamrot of Poland reacts after his victory over Arman Tsarukyan of Georgia in a lightweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on June 25, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)


An excellent grappler that is more than willing to trade on the feet, the 33-year-old Dariush is 15-4-1 in the UFC and has looked outstanding since getting healthy and starting his current run of success four years ago.

After dropping a split decision in his promotional debut, Gamrot has made a point of showing everyone exactly where he fits in the lightweight division, rattling off four straight wins to climb into the Top 10 and title contention. The Polish standout earned stoppages over Scott Holtzman, Jeremy Stephens, and Diego Ferreira before toppling Arman Tsarukyan in one of the best fights of the year towards the end of June and aims to continue his push towards the top here.

This is one of those fights where no matter how it plays out, it should be exciting because these two competitors are skilled everywhere, game to take the fight wherever they need to, and ravenous to land themselves a championship opportunity next year.

Petr Yan vs. Sean O’Malley

Much like Dariush and Gamrot could determine the next lightweight contender before the belt goes up for grabs, this one could establish the next challenger for the bantamweight title before it gets put on the line in the co-main event.

Sean O'Malley | Greatest Hits
Sean O'Malley | Greatest Hits
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Yan has already held gold in the division on two occasions — first winning the undisputed title when it was vacated following Henry Cejudo’s retirement, and then an interim belt last October when he beat Cory Sandhagen. In each instance, his next fight resulted in a loss to Aljamain Sterling and a loss of gold, leaving the Russian terror just 1-2 over his last three fights and eager to get back to the top of the division.

MORE UFC 280: O'Malley Discusses His Bout With Yan | Yan's Crowning Moment 

Everyone that has been waiting to see O’Malley dive into the deep end finally gets their wish, as “Suga” goes from a no contest verdict at UFC 276 opposite Pedro Munhoz — in a fight that was competitive before it was halted — to a date with the former champion. The 27-year-old is 15-1 with that one no contest verdict for his career, but questions about his ability to hang with the division’s elite still remain, though that won’t be the case after this one.

O’Malley will have a considerable height and reach advantage in this one, but Yan has shown no trouble getting inside and implementing his game plan, even in his losses to Sterling. Will the former champ’s top-end experience help him rule the day or can O’Malley take a massive step forward and establish himself as a genuine threat in the 135-pound weight class?

Aljamain Sterling vs. TJ Dillashaw

Sterling moves on from his rivalry with Yan (for the time being at least) to face off with another former two-time champion in Dillashaw in the UFC 280 co-main event.

After winning the belt by disqualification and being sidelined for over a year following neck surgery, Sterling showed himself to be the best in the division with a well-executed approach in his rematch with Yan at UFC 273. He out-worked Yan in the first three rounds and held on down the stretch to earn the split decision victory, and now gets a chance to really cement his legacy with a date against Dillashaw in Abu Dhabi.

Bantamweight Breakdown With Aljamain Sterling | September 2022
Bantamweight Breakdown With Aljamain Sterling | September 2022
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The 36-year-old Dillashaw served out his two-year suspension and returned last July, edging out Sandhagen in a tremendously competitive, wildly entertaining back-and-forth scrap. He had to have knee surgery following the contest, and returns again looking to join Randy Couture as only the second fighter in UFC history to win the same title on three different occasions.

This is an incredibly intriguing fight from a tactical standpoint, as Sterling won’t have the same kind of wrestling advantage over Dillashaw as he held over Yan, and the challenger has a wealth of experience in these types of situations, as seven of his last 10 bouts have been championship fights. This is a huge moment for each man, and it will be captivating to see how this one plays out.

Charles Oliveira vs. Islam Makhachev

The two best lightweights in the world right now battle for the vacant UFC title in the UFC 280 main event in Abu Dhabi.

Charles Oliveira of Brazil secures a rear choke submission against 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 Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

Charles Oliveira of Brazil secures a rear choke submission against 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 Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)


A slight weight miss resulted in Oliveira being stripped of the title last time out, but “Do Bronx” didn’t let it impact his effort, as he strolled into the Octagon and submitted Justin Gaethje to extend his winning streak to 11 while adding to his record-setting resume. The Brazilian veteran has earned stoppages in all but one of the fights during his current run of success, and has exhibited improved resolve, resilience, and power in turning aside talented contender after talented contender over the last several years.

RELATED: Makhachev's Win Streak | Free Fight: Makhachev vs Hooker | Free Fight: Oliveira vs Gaethje 

Makhachev enters having won eight straight, including the last four by stoppage, and looks to follow in the footsteps of his friend, teammate, and now coach Khabib Nurmagomedov by ascending to the top of the division. The 31-year-old has looked increasingly dominant and dangerous over his last four outings and has an “inevitable” feel to him as he readies to face Oliveira.

This was always the fight to make in order to start a new chapter in the lightweight division, and how things shake out in the UFC 280 main event will set the course of the 155-pound weight class going forward. Oliveira and Makhachev have been the most successful, most dangerous fighters in the division over the last several years, and now they face off to determine who will reign supreme heading into 2023.

UFC Fight Night: Kattar vs. Allen (Saturday, October 29 — Las Vegas)

Edson Barboza vs. Ilia Topuria

Give me all of this one, as Edson Barboza continues to play the role of “veteran litmus test” for the up-and-coming set in the featherweight division, stepping in opposite Ilia Topuria.

Barboza is now 36 and his days as a divisional contender could be behind him. But there isn’t anyone active in the UFC at the moment that has fought a tougher strength of schedule over the course their career and we’re barely a year removed from the Brazilian halting Shane Burgos at UFC 262, so clearly, he’s still a capable and dangerous man inside the Octagon.

Edson Barboza of Brazil punches Shane Burgos in their featherweight bout during the UFC 262 event at Toyota Center on May 15, 2021 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC)

Edson Barboza of Brazil punches Shane Burgos in their featherweight bout during the UFC 262 event at Toyota Center on May 15, 2021 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC)


The undefeated Topuria stumbled a little in January when he was pulled from a pairing with Charles Jourdain due to issues with his weight cut, but showed his high upside by venturing to lightweight and knocking out Jai Herbert in London in March. Now back in his natural surrounds, the Georgian fighter based in Spain will look to take another step forward in the crowded 145-pound hierarchy by dispatching Barboza at the end of the month.

View The Fight Card 

We’re going to learn a great deal about Topuria in this one. There are safer ways for him to approach this fight and ways that could produce fireworks, so it will be interesting to see which path he chooses and what kind of results those choices produce. If he can finish Barboza in impressive fashion, he could cut the line in the featherweight ranks.

Calvin Kattar vs. Arnold Allen

Speaking of critical featherweight contests…

Kattar returns following his debated split decision loss to Josh Emmett in June, looking to once again get things moving in the right direction while maintaining his position as one of the tougher outs in the division. The New England Cartel member has earned Fight of the Night honors in three straight outings, is as durable and gritty as they come, and rebounded from his previous loss by turning in a blistering effort against Giga Chikadze at the start of the year, so we’ll have to see what he dials up here.

Calvin Kattar punches Giga Chikadze of Georgia in their featherweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on January 15, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Calvin Kattar punches Giga Chikadze of Georgia in their featherweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on January 15, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)


Allen is 9-0 in the UFC and riding an 11-fight winning streak overall. Last time out, he stopped Dan Hooker in two-and-a-half minutes in London, and then called for this precise matchup, so now he’s getting his wish. It’s a fight that makes sense in a lot of ways and will answer any lingering questions folks may have about the 29-year-old Brit, but one could also make the case that nine straight victories should be more than enough to merit a championship opportunity.

This has all the makings of a potential Fight of the Year contender and a bout that has a significant impact on the complexion of the title picture in the 145-pound weight class. Even without the championship implications, this is must-see TV at the end of the month, so circle the date on your calendar now.