The second fight on the PPV main card at UFC 259 was a pivotal lightweight matchup between two of the division’s brightest prospects. Islam Makhachev (18-1) was set to take on Drew Dober (23-9).
Originally, Makhachev was supposed to fight former UFC lightweight champion, Rafael Dos Anjos, late in the year last year. However, Makhachev had to pull out of the fight and got booked against Dober tonight.
Makhachev is being looked at as Khabib 2.0. The current lightweight champion is a main training partner and lifelong friend of Makhachev. Both grew up in Dagestan together and Makhachev is the entire package.
He has that incredible wrestling base, however, his striking is also at a high level. This fight wasn’t going to be easy, but many were looking at this as a showcase. The guy looking to play spoiler was Drew Dober.
Quietly, Dober has been a force in the lightweight division over the past few years. The only man to have beaten him in the UFC since 2017 is Beneil Dariush. Dober had the power and the grappling to make this a tough test for Islam Makhachev.
UFC 259 Recap
The UFC 259 lightweight contest opened with a touch of the gloves. Dober opens the striking with a very good low kick. Makhachev lands a nice lead uppercut to start his striking. Another powerful leg kick lands for Drew Dober.
Makhachev shoots in for his first takedown and he gets ahold of Dober on a single leg. A nice trip from the single leg leads to a beautiful takedown for Islam Makhachev. Makhachev was being very deliberate on the ground while trying to pass in half guard.
The top control and pressure was very impressive for Makhachev. Halfway through the round and Dober was staying patient on the bottom. Makhachev is able to transition to the mount and Dober was looking to get it back to half guard.
Dober was able to get it back to half guard, but Makhachev almost immediately passed to side control. Makhachev went back to the mount, but Dober exploded in a scramble. Makhachev gets his back and goes for an armbar. It’s close, but the round comes to a close. Great opening round at UFC 259 for Makhachev.
Entering the second round at UFC 259 and it’s clear that Dober needs to keep this fight standing. Dober opens the second with pressure and looks for a 1-2. Makhachev dives on a leg, but Dober defended the first takedown.
Makhachev pushed Dober against the fence and immediately used a trip to slam Dober to the ground. Dober was trying to scramble, but Makhachev’s top control kept him in place. Dober got his back to the fence and tried to wall walk to get up.
However, Makhachev was doing a good job of pulling Dober away from the fence and stayed on top. Makhachev ties up Dober’s legs and starts peppering him with shots. Makhachev attempted to transition to mount, but Dober defended well.
Dober was able to get Makhachev back to guard, but that’s the best that he could do. Makhachev landed some massive shots from the guard to end the second round. This easily could be a 10-8 round for Makhachev at UFC 259.
Entering the final round at UFC 259 and Dober needed a miracle to win this one. The final round opens with immediate pressure from Dober. Dober looked for his big left hand, but he threw it right into a clinch with Makhachev.
Makhachev had a firm grip on Dober and he slammed Dober to the ground. Dober was desperately trying to force a scramble, but Makhachev remained composed while holding his top control.
Makhachev locks up an arm triangle and it’s in deep. Dober had nothing left to defend it and he taps. Complete and total domination from Islam Makhachev.
Islam Makhachev def. Drew Dober by Submission (Arm-Triangle Choke) – Round 3