UFC books Islam Makhachev – Rafael Dos Anjos

The UFC has finalized a pivotal matchup in the lightweight division. ESPN’s Brett Okamoto was the first to report last night that the promotion had finalized a battle between surging contender Islam Makhachev (20-1) and former UFC lightweight champion Rafael Dos Anjos (30-13).

The fight will take place at UFC 267 on October 30th. UFC 267 will take place on Fight Island and will actually be free to watch on either ESPN or ABC. The promotion is offering this numbered event for free due to UFC 268 being just one week later.

This will be the second fight back in the lightweight division for RDA. Dos Anjos made his return to the lightweight division back in November after he had spent the last couple of years in the UFC‘s welterweight division.

RDA returned with an impressive win over Paul Felder. However, his original opponent that night was Islam Makhachev. Makhachev suffered an injury and the UFC called upon Felder to step in on short notice.

Nevertheless, the former champion put on a great performance. Now, he’s going to be tasked with defeating the surging Dagestan contender. RDA has dealt with some injuries in 2021 but the former UFC champion is healthy and ready to go for this one.

UFC’s Future Lightweight Champion?

When you ask most people about Islam Makhachev, they will tell you he’s a future UFC champion. Makhachev is the protégé and close friend of former lightweight champion and pound-for-pound king, Khabib Nurmagomedov.

Nurmagomedov has taken on the role as Makhachev’s head coach in 2021 and Makhachev has been nothing short of dominant. His first fight of the year was at UFC 259 against Drew Dober. Makhachev dominated and submitted Dober in the third round.

Then, the UFC had trouble getting someone to take a fight against him. Thiago Moises stepped up and accepted a main event slot against Makhachev. Makhachev dominated Moises from the opening bell to the finish.

He scored a Rear-Naked Choke in the fourth round of their fight. This is the biggest step up in competition Makhachev has seen in his career. RDA is no pushover, but if Makhachev can dominate him like he has everyone else, the lightweight division should be terrified.

After another dominant win at UFC Vegas 31, what’s next for Islam Makhachev?

This past Saturday in the main event of UFC Vegas 31, all eyes were on Dagestan’s Islam Makhachev (20-1). Makhachev was going for his eighth consecutive win in the lightweight division, and it wasn’t going to be easy. He was taking on top fifteen ranked Thiago Moises (15-5).

Like Makhachev, Moises is looked at as one of the bright prospects in the lightweight division. Three years younger than Makhachev, Moises was looking to shock the world by derailing the Dagestani Hype Train.

However, at UFC Vegas 31, Islam Makhachev showed the world why he was so special. Thiago Moises had some bright spots here and there, but for the most part, Saturday night was all Islam Makhachev.

Even when Moises would do something well, Makhachev would immediately counter with something better. In the middle rounds, it was Moises that actually engaged in the grappling. Moises actually landed a takedown, but was immediately reversed by Makhachev.

For the most part, it was a mauling from Makhachev at UFC Vegas 31. In the fourth round, Makhachev got in deep on a takedown and put Moises on his back. Makhachev transitioned to the back and locked in a rear naked choke for the submission win.

What’s next after UFC Vegas 31?

With this win, it’s clear that Makhachev needs a step up in competition in the lightweight division. There should never be a scenario where he’s fighting guys outside of the top ten moving forward and I think the UFC realizes that.

Dan Hooker called out Makhachev for a fight in September today and that is a fight that I really like. However, I think there’s a better matchup at lightweight for Makhachev. I believe he should fight former UFC champion Rafael Dos Anjos (30-13) next.

RDA was just the backup at UFC 264 and he’s ready to go. Makhachev needs a step up and it would be perfect for him to fight a former champion. The fight would say a lot about both men. It would tell us whether or not RDA is still a title contender and it would tell us whether Islam Makhachev is ready for a title shot.

I believe we are looking at a situation where the UFC will likely have Makhachev get at least two more wins before a title shot. If he gets a win over RDA, expect the promotion to push him straight into a title eliminator with one of the top guys.

UFC: Dan Hooker calls for September fight with Islam Makhachev

This past Saturday in the main event of UFC Vegas 31, Islam Makhachev (20-1) picked up his eighth consecutive win. Makhachev completely mauled Thiago Moises and submitted him in the fourth round of their fight.

Islam Makhachev is the protégé of Khabib Nurmagomedov and he looks like he’s picking up right where the former UFC champion left off. Makhachev is turning into the boogeyman of the division and he’s had a tough time getting people to accept a fight against him.

One of the men that Makhachev has called out is Dan Hooker (20-10). Hooker is ranked just above Makhachev in the lightweight division and he’s been in there with some of the very best that the UFC has to offer.

Makhachev said that Hooker has been dodging a fight with him and that he declined the fight. Most recently, Makhachev took to Twitter to say he’s not interested in fighting Hooker now that he’s 3-3 in his last six.

Granted, his last two losses came against Dustin Poirier and Michael Chandler. Hooker clapped back today and said if Makhachev wants a fight, they can make it happen with the UFC in September.

UFC 266 lightweight contest?

With COVID still a reality for the world, it makes fighting hard for New Zealand based fighters. Fighters like Hooker, Israel Adesanya, Alexander Volkanovski, and others have to abide by strict quarantine rules.

Because of that, City Kickboxing likes for the UFC to book their fighters all around the same time. UFC 266 at the end of September is being headlined by Alexander Volkanovski and Brian Ortega.

With Volkanovski headlining, Hooker has been trying to get on the UFC 266 card. For now, the main card appears to be full. However, the UFC could always add another lightweight showcase between Hooker and Makhachev.

If not at UFC 266, I certainly wouldn’t rule out a Fight Night headliner between the two men. Makhachev might’ve sounded uninterested, but I would definitely take this fight if I was Makhachev. A win over Hooker would be massive for his progression.

A win over the surging Makhachev would put Hooker right back in the mix at the top at 155. Time will tell, but I wouldn’t be shocked to see these two paired against each other.

Islam Makhachev dominates and submits Thiago Moises at UFC Vegas 31

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

Round 1

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.

Round 2

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.

Round 3

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.

Round 4

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

UFC Vegas 31 Preview: Islam Makhachev – Thiago Moises

In the main event of UFC Vegas 31 we will see a lightweight showdown between two top fifteen contenders. Dagestan’s Islam Makhachev (19-1) gets his first headlining fight as he takes on the surging Thiago Moises (15-4) tomorrow night.

Thiago Moises is making his seventh UFC appearance tomorrow night. After earning a contract with the promotion on Dana White’s Contender Series, Moises at a young age was thrown right to the wolves in taking on Beneil Dariush in his first fight.

Since losing that fight to Dariush, Moises has gone 4-1 in the UFC. 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 has 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 Prediction

We are going to learn a lot about both of these guys tomorrow night at UFC Vegas 31. For Moises, we are going to learn just how good he really is. In the case of Makhachev, we are going to see how well he handles the pressure of being a huge favorite in a main event.

Moises has incredible jiu jitsu and we’ve seen him show off impressive striking. He’s going to need all of his tools to be sharp at UFC Vegas 31. I will say that Thiago Moises can win this fight tomorrow night and he has the skills to do it.

However, it’s an incredible tall order. While he has great jiu jitsu, I don’t think he’s ever experienced someone with the top game and pressure of Makhachev. If Makhachev gets on top tomorrow night, I just don’t see Moises pulling off a submission.

While Moises has looked better than ever, I think we are going to see a showcase at UFC Vegas 31. I’m expecting a statement win for Islam Makhachev as he continues his surge towards the elites of the division. Expect to see a Khabib-Esque performance tomorrow from his protégé.

Prediction: Islam Makhachev by TKO – Round 3

Khabib Nurmagomedov remains firm in retirement from the UFC

Today we saw an interview drop from ESPN’s Brett Okamoto with former UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov (29-0). This was the first time since late last year that we’ve seen an in-depth interview with the former champion.

Nurmagomedov last fought at UFC 254 in October when he choked out Justin Gaethje in the second round to retain his lightweight title. An emotional Khabib collapsed in tears after the fight concluded.

Earlier in the year, Khabib had lost his father due to COVID-19 complications. Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov was not just Khabib’s father, but also his head coach. Khabib was incredibly close with his father and was transparent about how it was hard to compete without him.

Prior to UFC 254, Khabib made a promise to his mother that the October fight would be his final one. Being a man of his word, Khabib laid his gloves in the octagon after the win and officially announced his retirement.

However, that didn’t stop Dana White from trying to get him back. The UFC President tried for months to change Khabib’s mind. In fact, he recently offered Khabib a fight with fellow legend Georges St. Pierre (26-2). However, Khabib remained firm and stayed retired.

Would anything bring Khabib back to the UFC?

Months ago, Khabib’s friend and training partner Daniel Cormier mentioned a scenario that could bring Khabib back. The scenario involved Charles Oliveira (31-8, 1 NC) going on a massive run and defending his title multiple times.

Among those successful title defenses would be a win over Khabib’s protégé Islam Makhachev (19-1). Okamoto asked Khabib about this scenario and whether or not he would consider coming back to prove to the world that he’s the best.

With a smile, the former UFC champion said, “If everything happens like you say, I will say, ‘At that time, it was Khabib’s time, now it’s Charles’ time’. I’m not going to just jump to the media and say I’m going to fight this guy, that’s not interesting for me.”

Khabib is happy with the way his career panned out. The thing he takes the most pride in is that at the moment he retired, he was the UFC’s top pound-for-pound fighter in the rankings. Khabib said he doesn’t consider himself to be the greatest, but he considers himself to be on the level of the other greats.

However, at one point in time, he was without a doubt the best fighter in the world. Now, Khabib is focusing on his post-fighting career which focuses coaching. He said his father always wanted Makhachev to take over the lightweight division after Khabib retired from the UFC.

Khabib acknowledged with a smile that Islam is a little late on his end of the bargain. However, the former champion aims to do everything he can to make Islam Makhachev a lightweight champion in the UFC just like his father wanted. You can see Khabib’s full interview below.

After winning his seventh in a row at UFC 262, what’s next for Beneil Dariush?

This past Saturday at UFC 262, Beneil Dariush (21-4-1) took on Tony Ferguson (25-6) in the co-main event of the evening. Dariush carried in a six-fight win streak and he finally got his shot against a big time opponent in the former interim lightweight champion.

Beneil Dariush has been flying under the radar over the last couple of years. He had a couple of tough losses in the UFC, but he’s really been turning things around and he’s starting to open some eyes in the lightweight division.

With that said, Saturday was going to be a big test. He was fighting a man who is loved by fans and was long considered to be the boogey man of the lightweight division. El Cucuy is no pushover even at this stage of his career.

Heading into UFC 262, I picked Dariush to win the fight. I just thought that if he stuck to his pressure and grappling, he’d be able to beat Tony Ferguson. Well, that’s exactly what Dariush did on Saturday night.

From the opening bell at UFC 262, Dariush was on Tony Ferguson. Ferguson had no room to breathe and he had no answer for Dariush’s grappling. In the end it was a clean sweep on the scorecards and a statement win for Beneil Dariush.

What’s next after UFC 262?

The UFC rankings came out today and Dariush climbed all the way to third. In doing this, he jumped over top lightweight contenders Conor McGregor and Michael Chandler. I can’t say I agree with the rankings, but Dariush has earned some shine.

While Dariush is squarely in the UFC’s top five, he’s not going to be in the conversations for the next title shot. In fact, I don’t even think he’s going to be in the conversation for a title eliminator next.

Dariush said he wanted to take a little time off to enjoy the birth of his daughter in a few weeks. When he’s ready to make his UFC return, there’s one opponent that I think lines up perfectly for him.

I think the promotion should look at booking Dariush with former lightweight champion Rafael Dos Anjos (30-13). RDA made his return to lightweight last year and he would provide a big test for Dariush.

Stylistically, I think this would be a great matchup and it would build momentum for the winner. One other potential opponent to keep an eye on is Islam Makhachev (19-1). Makhachev takes on Thiago Moises in July and if he wins, I could see the UFC trying to move him up quickly against a top five guy. Dariush would fit the bill there.

UFC books Islam Makhachev – Thiago Moises

The UFC has finalized a big matchup in the lightweight division pitting two top prospects against each other. Brazil’s Thiago Moises (15-4) will try to stop the hype train of Islam Makhachev (19-1).

ESPN’s Brett Okamoto confirmed the fight last night with UFC President Dana White. The matchup will take place at a UFC Fight Night on July 17th. This is a massive opportunity for Thiago Moises.

Moises is not currently ranked in the lightweight division. However, he has won his last three fights. His wins include victories over Michael Johnson, Bobby Green, and Alexander Hernandez.

While he doesn’t have a spot in the UFC rankings, these wins have him knocking on the door. His opponent is being looked at as a future UFC champion and if Moises can pull off the upset, it will say a lot about him as a prospect.

UFC return for Makhachev

Islam Makhachev just looks like he’s going to be a UFC lightweight champion. He fights very similar to his training partner turned coach Khabib Nurmagomedov. Of course, Nurmagomedov retired undefeated as the undisputed UFC lightweight champion.

Makhachev has great striking and of course he has his Dagestani wrestling. The last time we saw Makhachev was at UFC 259 when he took on Drew Dober. Makhachev completed dominated the fight and submitted Dober in the third round.

With that win, Makhachev has now won seven fights in a row. To be honest, I’m a little surprised this is the direction the promotion decided to go. I figured Makhachev would be in to fight someone in the UFC’s top ten.

In terms of rankings, this is actually a step back as Dober is still ranked in the top fifteen and Moises is not ranked. This almost has the feel of a tune-up fight just to keep Islam Makhachev active.

Whatever the UFC’s reason was, it doesn’t really matter at the end of the day. Makhachev will be back in July and he should be a massive favorite to pick up his eighth straight victory.

After big TKO win at UFC Vegas 26, what’s next for Gregor Gillespie?

This past Saturday at UFC Vegas 26, Gregor Gillespie (14-1) made his return after an extensive layoff. Gillespie hadn’t fought since the night of the BMF title fight which took place in November of 2019.

It didn’t appear that there were injuries that Gillespie was dealing with, but he spent some time outside of the cage to improve. At UFC Vegas 26, he had a tough test in front of him in Diego Ferreira (17-4).

Ferreira had only lost to Beneil Dariush and Dustin Poirier in his career. In his last appearances, Ferreira lost to Dariush for the second time so you knew that he was hungry coming into UFC Vegas 26.

One thing about this fight was the weight. Ferreira came in over four pounds over the lightweight limit. Gillespie earned 30% of his purse for accepting the fight and he wasn’t about to let the extra weight get in the way of his UFC return.

The first round was a very good round. There were a lot of scrambles and Ferreira had some success landing big shots on Gillespie. At times, it didn’t look great for the return of Gregor Gillespie.

However, Gillespie was able to turn the fight around in the second round. Gillespie used his pace and his grappling to get in a dominant position and he got the TKO victory over Diego Ferreira at UFC Vegas 26.

What’s next after UFC Vegas 26?

With that victory on Saturday, Gillespie is now 7-1 in the UFC with six of his wins coming by finish. He’s now ranked 12th in the lightweight division. Now that he’s made his successful return, what’s next for Gillespie.

Well, I think the UFC should put him up against the guy directly in front of him in the rankings. That lightweight contender is Islam Makhachev (19-1). Makhachev has won seven fights in a row and looks like a future lightweight champion.

He’s 8-1 in the UFC with four finishes. Both of these men are elite grapplers and both are looking to take that next step towards title contention. A matchup between the two would give us that contender.

After having winning streak snapped at UFC 259, what’s next for Drew Dober?

This past Saturday at UFC 259, Drew Dober (23-10) had the tough task of taking on Islam Makhachev (19-1). Makhachev is already being called the next Khabib and many are saying he will be a future UFC lightweight champion.

However, Drew Dober is not someone anyone should just look past. Heading into Saturday night, Dober had only lost one time since 2017. That one loss came against top ten lightweight Beneil Dariush.

Dober had won three fights in a row by stoppage. He has very good grappling skills and tremendous power on his hands. On paper, he looked like he was going to be a very tough test for Islam Makhachev at UFC 259.

However, when it came to the actual fight, the odds makers were right. Dober was a massive underdog which made many scratch their heads considering it had been a lengthy layoff for Islam Makhachev.

He didn’t fight in all of 2020 so nobody quite knew what to expect. Well, Makhachev was as advertised. He completely dominated Dober and took him down at will. In the third round, Dober was forced to tap from an arm-triangle choke snapping his UFC winning streak.

What’s next after UFC 259?

After this winning streak, UFC 259 proved to be a humbling moment for Drew Dober. The fight taught him a valuable lesson on the levels to the game of MMA and showed him where he needs to improve if he wants to compete with championship level fighters.

After that kind of a loss, it’s time for a reset for Drew Dober. He will need to take on someone with decent name recognition, but someone outside the UFC rankings. With that, there are a couple of names that come to mind.

One fighter that would make a lot of sense is Bobby Green (27-11-1). Green had a great 2020 where he went 3-1. He had to pull out of his last fight due to some weight issues, but by all accounts, he’s ready to get back into the octagon.

Another fun UFC matchup for Dober could be Clay Guida (36-20). Guida looked very good in his last outing against Michael Johnson. He proved that he’s as tough as ever with a grinding style that just doesn’t stop. Both of these matchups would be good and tough rebound matchups for Dober.