In the main event of UFC Vegas 31 we saw a lightweight showdown between two top fifteen contenders. Dagestan’s Islam Makhachev (19-1) was headlining his first event as he was taking on the surging Thiago Moises (15-4).
Thiago Moises was making his seventh UFC appearance tonight. Moises has gone 4-1 in his last five fights. Since losing the first round to Michael Johnson last year, Moises has really flipped the switch. He submitted Johnson in the second round then dominated Bobby Green and Alexander Hernandez.
At just 26 years old, Moises is really coming into his own. That said, he had a nightmare to deal with at UFC Vegas 31. It is a very popular take in the MMA world to say that Islam Makhachev looks like a future UFC champion.
He is the protégé of Khabib Nurmagomedov and he looks like he can be that dominant. Makhachev is the total package and even looks like he could be more advanced than the former undisputed lightweight champion.
He possesses that same dominant grappling style as Khabib, but it’s not a stretch at all to say he possesses better striking. Makhachev has gone 8-1 in the UFC and every time we see him he looks more and more dominant.
UFC Vegas 31 Recap
The UFC Vegas 31 main event starts with a touch of the gloves. Moises immediately takes the center as he starts with feints. However, he’s immediately backed up by Makhachev who takes the center and throws a headkick.
Low kick lands for Makhachev. Moises tries to counter with a right hand but nothing lands. Big right power kick thrown by Moises, but it’s blocked by Makhachev. Pressure from Makhachev and the two men clinch against the fence.
Moises actually gets the better of the position, but Makhachev immediately breaks the clinch. Body kick lands for Moises. Big body kick lands for Makhachev. Beautiful combination lands for Islam Makhachev.
Another good combination from Makhachev and Moises forces a clinch. Moises is pressing Makhachev against the fence, but Makhachev is landing nice knees as he defends. Makhachev uses his strength to pick Moises up and slam him to the ground.
Moises is able to work back to guard after Makhachev started in halfguard. A few good elbows land for Islam Makhachev. The round comes to a close and it’s 1-0 Islam Makhachev at UFC Vegas 31.
Heading into the second round at UFC Vegas 31 and Makhachev’s corner is asking for another takedown. Moises starts the striking as he works his jab. Makhachev moves forward with pressure, but Moises pushes forward and lands a nice right hand.
Power kick thrown by Moises. Makhachev lands a nice body kick of his own and then forces a clinch. Moises reverses the clinch position and presses Makhachev against the fence. Moises gets deep in on a double leg and takes down Makhachev.
However, Makhachev immediately reverses the position and ends up on top. Moises spins, but Makhachev takes his back. Makhachev starts working knees to the back of the thigh and you can tell that Makhachev is looking for a choke.
Heavy back pressure from Islam Makhachev here. Makhachev softening Moises up here with big shots as he continues looking for the choke. Makhachev gets the mount in the final seconds and nearly gets an armbar. 2-0 Islam Makhachev at UFC Vegas 31.
Entering the third round at UFC Vegas 31 and Thiago Moises has to keep this fight standing. Makhachev starts the striking with a low kick here in the third round. Moises presses forward but eats a counter from Makhachev.
Body kick lands for Thiago Moises. Check right hook lands for Islam Makhachev. More pressure here from Makhachev and he lands a nice straight left hand. Combination from Makhachev and Moises forces a clinch.
Moises presses Makhachev against the fence and he appears to be looking for a takedown. Makhachev almost gets taken down, but he’s able to keep it standing. However, Moises maintains the dominant position in the clinch.
Makhachev looks for trips, but nothing so far. Makhachev reverses the position and lands two beautiful knees to the face of Moises. Moises tries to keep it standing, but Makhachev just throws him down to the ground.
Makhachev gets his back, but Moises reverses the position. Moises attacks a leg, but Makhachev remains calm. Moises keeps trying to crank it but the round comes to a close. Much better round for Moises, but I still think Makhachev takes it at UFC Vegas 31.
Entering the fourth round at UFC Vegas 31 and Thiago Moises really needs to turn things around. The fourth round starts with pressure from Moises who throws two big right hands that just miss. Makhachev counters with his own left hand.
Nice leg kick lands for Moises. Makhachev times a double beautifully and slams Moises down. Moises attempted a triangle, but Makhachev settles into the guard. Makhachev starts working his ground and pound with three minutes left in the round.
Makhachev lands a big elbow and it forces Moises to move. Moises tries to force a scramble, but Makhachev takes his back. Makhachev goes right back to work with the ground and pound from the back mount.
Islam Makhachev locks up a rear naked choke and it’s deep. Moises taps and this one is over.
Islam Makhachev def. Thiago Moises by Submission (Rear-Naked Choke) – Round 4