UFC books headliner between Islam Makhachev and Beneil Dariush

The UFC has booked a massive lightweight main event that has big title implications. ESPN’s Brett Okamoto was the first to report this morning that the promotion has finalized a main event between Islam Makhachev (21-1) and Beneil Dariush (21-4-1).

The lightweight showdown will headline a UFC Fight Night on February 26th. Dariush is going to be looking to pick up his eighth straight win when these two meet in February. The last time we saw Dariush was back in May at UFC 265.

Dariush was in the co-main event and took on former interim champion Tony Ferguson. He completed dominated Ferguson on his way to winning a unanimous decision. That win put Dariush third in the UFC lightweight rankings.

While he wanted a title shot, it wasn’t in the cards and the promotion has been looking for a fight for him for months. Well, the perfect fight materialized and whoever wins will not be able to be denied a title shot.

UFC’s next Dagestani champion?

We just saw Islam Makhachev back at UFC 267 in Abu Dhabi when he took on Dan Hooker. Makhachev was able to get Hooker to the ground early in the first fight and everything was over after that. Makhachev got to a dominant position and submitted Hooker.

This was the ninth straight win for Makhachev since suffering his first career defeat. Many in the UFC believe that Makhachev deserves a title shot, however, after Justin Gaethje’s win over Michael Chandler, it’s apparent that he will get the next shot.

With that, Makhachev was forced to take another fight. This is going to be a very stiff test for Makhachev who will be taking on an elite grappler in Dariush. For the first time in his UFC career, we are going to see how Makhachev does against someone who is just as good on the mat. This is a fantastic fight and should provide a new number one contender.

After UFC 268, Justin Gaethje is next in line for the lightweight championship

This past Saturday at UFC 268, we saw one of the best fights if not the best fight of 2021 kicking off the PPV. A lightweight showdown between Justin Gaethje (23-3) and Michael Chandler (22-7) kicked off the UFC 268 main card in style.

Usually when you see a fight that has a ton of hype, the fight normally disappoints. You think to yourself, “There’s no way that this fight can possibly live up to the hype,” and most of the time, it doesn’t. Well, this is one of those times where the fight completely delivered.

From the opening bell at UFC 268, both Gaethje and Chandler through everything that they had at the other. The first round saw Chandler rock Gaethje a couple of times. However, Gaethje landed big shots of his own. In the second round, Gaethje dropped Chandler and nearly finished him.

The final round saw Gaethje throw everything including the kitchen sink at a smiling Michael Chandler. The fight was absolutely incredible and in the end, Justin Gaethje walked away victorious and cemented his status at the top of the division.

Is Gaethje next for the UFC title?

Originally, this fight between Chandler and Gaethje was being looked at as a title eliminator. However, after Islam Makhachev’s performance at UFC 267, there was talk about whether or not Makhachev would jump the line. However, the fight on Saturday put that to rest.

Prior to Saturday night, Gaethje last fought at UFC 254 when he took on Khabib Nurmagomedov for the undisputed lightweight title. Gaethje lost that fight but he entered the contest as the interim UFC lightweight champion.

Gaethje is now 5-2 in his last seven fights with four stoppages. The only two losses he’s had have come against Khabib and Dustin Poirier. There is no doubt in my mind that Justin Gaethje will be next for the UFC lightweight title.

Next month at UFC 269, Dustin Poirier and Charles Oliveira will battle for the lightweight title. Whoever wins that fight will have Gaethje waiting for them. Whether it’s a rematch with Poirier or a showdown with Oliveira, Gaethje will be ready for his second crack at undisputed UFC gold.

Is Islam Makhachev – Beneil Dariush the fight to make after UFC 267?

This past Saturday on the main card of UFC 267, a featured contest took place in the lightweight division. Dagestani standout Islam Makhachev (21-1) took on “The Hangman” Dan Hooker (21-11) as both men looked to take a step towards the lightweight title.

Entering UFC 267, Makhachev had won eight consecutive bouts since his last loss. He’s looked more and more dominant every time he’s stepped in the cage. Hooker was the first time he was facing an opponent inside the top ten who looked like a legit threat.

The key to the entire fight was going to be whether or not Makhachev could land a takedown.
Well, we got our answer very quickly. Makhachev was able to catch a leg kick from Hooker in the opening minutes and he dragged him to the ground.

Once on the ground, it was all Makhachev. He moved into a dominant position and was able to lock in a kimura. Hooker tried to defend but was forced to tap and Makhachev got another dominant win in the UFC‘s lightweight division.

What’s next after UFC 267?

Makhachev made it clear that he believes he should be next for the UFC lightweight title. He pointed to the fact that Justin Gaethje and Michael Chandler (Who fight this week at UFC 268) have already fought for the title before.

Next month, Charles Oliveira defends the lightweight crown against Dustin Poirier. So, will the UFC book Makhachev against the winner of one of those fights? Actually, I think there’s another opponent that makes more sense and that’s Beneil Dariush (21-4-1).

Dariush has now won seven straight fights himself. He’s currently ranked above Makhachev in the UFC’s lightweight rankings at the time of this article. Dariush would be a massive test for Makhachev given his background in wrestling and grappling.

I think the UFC is potentially going to book these two against each other. Makhachev and Dariush would provide a clear number one contender and it would provide a top contender who hasn’t challenged for the title.

Islam Makhachev submits Dan Hooker at UFC 267

On the main card of UFC 267 we saw a tremendous lightweight contest between Dan “The Hangman” Hooker (21-10) and Islam Makhachev (20-1). Hooker was looking for his second win in just over a month while Makhachev was going for his eighth straight win.

The dream for AKA and Eagles MMA was for Islam Makhachev to take over for Khabib Nurmagomedov right after the former UFC lightweight champion retired and Makhachev just might be on his way. He’s 9-1 in the UFC and right now he looks like he could be one of if not the best in the world.

Standing in his way of another win today was the tough Dan Hooker. Last month, Hooker took on Nasrat Haqparast at UFC 266 and was able to pick up the decision win. After Rafael Dos Anjos pulled out of this UFC 267 matchup with Makhachev, Hooker immediately stepped up for this massive opportunity.

UFC 267 Recap

Round 1

The UFC 267 lightweight contest kicked off with a touch of the gloves. Hooker immediately looks for the jab as the two start. Front kick to the body from Hooker. Nice leg kick from Hooker as Makhachev is looking for an opening early.

Both men exchange jabs and Makhachev catches a kick from Hooker and takes him down. Makhachev settles in to halfguard and starts working to advance position. Knee to the body lands from Makhachev. Nice elbows land for Makhachev who keeps trying to advance.

Makhachev starts working for a kimura and Hooker is trying to defend. However, Makhachev locks it in and steps over. It’s deep and Hooker is forced to verbally tap and Makhachev gets another huge win at UFC 267.

Islam Makhachev def. Dan Hooker by Submission (Kimura) – Round 1

UFC 267 Preview: Dan Hooker – Islam Makhachev

Tomorrow on the main card of UFC 267 we will see a tremendous lightweight contest between Dan “The Hangman” Hooker (21-10) and Islam Makhachev (20-1). Hooker will be looking for his second win in just over a month while Makhachev will be going for his eighth straight win.

There haven’t been many lightweights as dominant as Islam Makhachev over the past few years. You can point to his coach and former UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov as the one person who’s been more dominant.

The dream for AKA and Eagles MMA was for Makhachev to take over for Khabib right after the former UFC lightweight champion retired and Makhachev just might be on his way. He’s 9-1 in the UFC and right now he looks like he could be one of if not the best in the world.

Standing in his way tomorrow is the tough Dan Hooker. Hooker went on a great run when he moved from featherweight to lightweight. That run led him to a fight with Dustin Poirier last year. In a war, Hooker fell short by decision. Afterwards, Hooker last by TKO to Michael Chandler.

Last month, Hooker took on Nasrat Haqparast at UFC 266 and was able to pick up the decision win. After Rafael Dos Anjos pulled out of this UFC 267 matchup with Makhachev, Hooker immediately stepped up for this massive opportunity.

UFC 267 Prediction

In his past few fights, we’ve seen Islam Makhachev show off some decent striking. However, make no mistake about it, he’s not going to try and strike with Dan Hooker at UFC 267. Tomorrow night is all going to come down to the takedown.

If Islam Makhachev can get Hooker down with ease, it’s going to be a long night for The Hangman. We’ve seen what that Dagestani pressure and wrestling can do to some of the best fighters in the world. Makhachev possesses all the skills to ground and control Hooker.

However, Hooker isn’t going to make it easy. The Hangman is a sniper from the outside and if Makhachev is sloppy, he could get put out with a clean shot. He’s not invincible and we’ve seen him get knocked out in his only loss in the UFC.

Personally, I see Hooker landing some good shots in the early part of all three rounds. However, I don’t think any shot is going to be enough to take Makhachev out. Ultimately, I think Makhachev is able to land enough takedowns and control Hooker enough to win a decision here.

Prediction: Islam Makhachev by Unanimous Decision

Dan Hooker steps in to face Islam Makhachev at UFC 267

Well, Dan Hooker (21-10) is wasting no time getting back into the cage after UFC 266. Just last weekend, Hooker defeated Nasrat Haqparast on the prelims which snapped his two-fight losing streak.

It was a great performance from Hooker who really showed off his wide-range of skills. The fight almost didn’t happen though as Hooker had issues getting a visa to get into the US to fight at UFC 266.

However, the issues were resolved and Hooker fought to victory. We learned last week that Rafael Dos Anjos was potentially going to miss his UFC 267 fight with Islam Makhachev (20-1).

Dos Anjos ended up suffering a knee injury that put the fight in jeopardy. RDA actually had to have surgery but he was still going to try to fight. However, his doctors were going to need to approve it.

Ultimately, the doctors wouldn’t clear him and the UFC was forced to look into other options. They turned right to Hooker and asked if he’d be interested in taking on the dangerous Islam Makhachev. ESPN’s Brett Okamoto broke the news today that Hooker signed and the fight is on at UFC 267.

UFC 267’s New Lightweight Contest

Islam Makhachev has been looked at as a new boogeyman of the lightweight division. He’s seemingly been avoided by many top guys and he’s actually accused Hooker of dodging him in the past.

Well, at UFC 267, he’s going to get his shot against The Hangman. Makhachev will enter the octagon next month riding an eight-fight win streak. The Khabib protégé has all the looks of a future world champion given his skillset.

Some of his coaches actually believe that he’s the evolution of Khabib. While Khabib would take his opponents down and try to smash them, Makhachev is constantly looking for submissions and he’s more advanced on the feet than Khabib was.

This is going to be a real test to see where Makhachev is in his development. If he can defeat Hooker and make it look easy, he will prove to everyone that he belongs in the UFC title conversation. However, if Hooker wins, he will prove that he’s still one of the very best in the world.

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