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.

After successful return at UFC Vegas 31, what’s next for Miesha Tate?

This past Saturday in the co-main event of UFC Vegas 31, we saw the return of Miesha Tate (19-7). After nearly five years away from the octagon, Tate made her return as she took on top fifteen contender Marion Reneau (9-8-1).

Reneau was making her final UFC appearance while Tate was making her return. Both of these ladies had a lot on the line and both wanted to win more than anything else. For the former UFC and Strikeforce champion Miesha Tate, Saturday was about proving she still belonged.

Tate retired at UFC 205 just one fight removed from losing the bantamweight title. She cited a lack of passion and mental fatigue for her reasoning. Tate walked away at just 29 years old and she started her family.

Now, that competitive fire is back and Tate wants to make another run at UFC gold. Saturday night, Miesha Tate proved that she can still hang in the top fifteen. Tate used her wrestling and her pressure to have a lot of success against Reneau.

Reneau put up a very tough fight, but ultimately, it was the night of Cupcake. Tate used her signature wrestling and in the third round, she secured a takedown along the fence. After securing a dominant position, Tate rained down punches and ultimately got the TKO win at UFC Vegas 31.

What’s next after UFC Vegas 31

UFC Vegas 31 was a big first step for the former champion. It was very important for Tate to get back in the cage and get in the swing of things after so much time off. People are already pondering what will be next for the former bantamweight champion.

I’ve seen some say that the UFC should move her right up to the top to take on the likes of Irene Aldana (13-6) or even a rematch with Holly Holm (14-5). If the promotion moves her up the latter quickly, I think both of those ladies would be great matchups for Tate.

Personally, I would like to see her fight one more mid-tier ranked contender first. I’m looking at the matchup between Ketlen Viera (11-2) and Sara McMann (12-6) that is scheduled for the UFC Fight Night on August 28th.

Whoever wins that matchup would be a great fight for Tate. They’d be ranked around six or so and it would be a nice progression for Tate. If she were to win that fight, then you could put her in a potential title eliminator against the likes of Holm, Aldana, or even a Aspen Ladd.

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.

After another loss at UFC Vegas 31, what’s next for Jeremy Stephens?

Jeremy Stephens

Just a few years ago, Jeremy Stephens (28-19, 1 NC) was looked at as a top contender in the UFC. Stephens began his career with an impressive run in the lightweight division, but was really moving up the latter at 145 pounds.

Lil Heathen had a shot against former UFC champion Jose Aldo back in 2018 that could’ve earned him a title shot. Instead, the Aldo fight was a tipping point in the wrong direction for Stephens.

Starting with the Aldo fight back in 2018, Stephens was 0-4, 1 NC in five fights leading into UFC Vegas 31. Now, Stephens had only lost to guys who were near the top of the division at featherweight.

After that stretch, Stephens decided to return to lightweight. On Saturday night, he took on Mateusz Gamrot (19-1, 1 NC) on the main card. This was supposed to be a good fight for Stephens to get back in the swing of things.

Instead, at UFC Vegas 31 Stephens was steamrolled by Gamrot. Gamrot secured a takedown just seconds into the fight. Just over one minute into the opening frame, Gamrot locked up a kimura and Stephens was forced to tap.

What’s next after UFC Vegas 31?

With the loss at UFC Vegas 31, Stephens is now just 0-5, 1 NC in his last six fights. In reality, I wouldn’t be surprised if there were some internal discussions about letting Stephens go at this point. However, it doesn’t appear that the UFC will cut Stephens just yet.

That said, I think his next fight might be do-or-die. With that in mind, who should the promotion pair him against? Well, I’m still a fan of the UFC rebooking the fight between Stephens and Drakkar Klose (11-2-1).

The two were supposed to fight this summer, but a pre-fight shove from Stephens caused the fight to be scrapped. Stephens has said he didn’t want the fight to be rebooked, but I think it’s a fun storyline for the UFC to run with.

If that’s not the direction they go, perhaps a fight with Clay Guida (36-20). Guida is fighting Mark O. Madsen next month and win or lose, I think Guida would be a good opponent for Stephens.

If you want someone that’s virtually in the same position as Stephens, pair him with Michael Johnson (19-17). The former top contender has lost four in a row and the loser might get cut. There are definitely some entertaining options out there for Jeremy Stephens.

Sound Off: Who should Jeremy Stephens fight next?

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

Miesha Tate stops Marion Reneau at UFC Vegas 31

In the co-main event of UFC Vegas 31, we saw the return of one of the pioneer’s of women’s MMA. Former bantamweight champion Miesha Tate (18-7) made her highly anticipated return as she took on Marion Reneau (9-7-1).

Marion Reneau was making the walk for the final time at UFC Vegas 31. Reneau had her husband and her son in her corner tonight for her retirement fight against the legend Miesha Tate.

The 44 year old had four fights in a row coming into tonight, but she has still remained competitive for the most part. Reneau made her UFC debut all the way back in 2015. She’s been in there with the likes of Holly Holm, Sara McMann, Raquel Pennington, and Cat Zingano.

Miesha Tate was making her highly anticipated return after spending a few years away from competition. The former Strikeforce and UFC bantamweight champion is back after retiring in 2016.

Tate walked away after losing her second straight at UFC 205. However, Tate was only 29 years old and her walking away was more about mental fatigue. Since then, she’s become a mother of her own and she’s found that competitive fire again.

UFC Vegas 31 Recap

Round 1

The UFC Vegas 31 co-main event kicked off with a touch of the gloves. Reneau immediately looked to work the jab as Tate took the center. Tate pushes forward behind her jab as she tries to close the distance.

Low kick lands for Tate. Sharp 1-2 lands for Miesha Tate. Reneau lands a kick, but Tate counters nicely with a jab. Another good 1-2 lands for Tate down the middle. Reneau steps forward with big shots, but Tate wobbles her with a counter.

Marion Reneau shakes out the cobwebs and lands a jab. Big calf kick lands for Reneau. Halfway through the round and Tate goes for her first takedown. However, Reneau defended well as they went into a clinch against the fence.

Reneau landed nice shots in the clinch, but Tate was able to maintain control. The two separate and Reneau lands a nice shot on the break. Jab for Tate lands and she follows it with a 1-2.

Furious pace as both ladies exchange big shots and Tate lands a takedown. Tate settles into halfguard with just seconds left in the round. Very competitive opening round, but the first one at UFC Vegas 31 goes to Miesha Tate.

Round 2

The former UFC champion looked good in the opening round, but Reneau was holding her own. Reneau starts the striking in the second with a nice front kick. Tate steps forward with a nice 1-2 to start her striking.

Front kick lands for Miesha Tate. Beautiful left hook lands for Marion Reneau. Nice right hand lands for Reneau. Tate bounces on the outside as she looks to reset. Reneau lands a nice counter right hand as Tate looks to press forward.

More pressure from Tate, but Reneau is doing much better with counters here in the second. Tate gets deep in on a double leg and slams Reneau down to the ground. The former champion settles into halfguard. Reneau looks for a kimura as Tate works elbows the body.

Tate steps up and almost gets clipped by an upkick. The former champion settles back into halfguard and starts working her ground and pound. A few good shots from Tate and the blood is flowing on Reneau. The round comes to a close and it’s 2-0 Miesha Tate at UFC Vegas 31.

Round 3

Heading into the final round here at UFC Vegas 31 and Marion Reneau is going to need a finish here. Reneau looks aggressive to start the final round as she looks for a headkick. Tate immediately moves forward with pressure.

Nice combinations land for Miesha Tate and Reneau seems a bit wobbled. Tate chains her combinations into a takedown attempt along the fence. Reneau stays up for a a second, but Tate drags her to the ground.

Reneau gives her back and Tate starts working the ground and pound. Tate is landing big shots and the referee calls a stop to the action. Massive TKO win for Tate in her UFC return.

Miesha Tate def. Marion Reneau by TKO – Round 3

UFC Vegas 31 Preview: Jeremy Stephens – Mateusz Gamrot

Jeremy Stephens

Tomorrow night on the main card of UFC Vegas 31, we will see a fun matchup in the lightweight division. Former top featherweight contender Jeremy Stephens (28-18, 1 NC) is moving back up to 155 pounds to take on Mateusz Gamrot (18-1,1 NC).

UFC Vegas 31 is a massive fight for Jeremy Stephens. This is his first fight in over a year and he’s gone 0-4, 1 NC in his last five fights. It’s been a brutal stretch for Stephens, but it is worth noting his competition level.

If you look at Stephens record over the past few years, it’s not impressive. Stephens has gone 5-9, 1 NC in his last fifteen fights. That said, he’s been facing top tier talent along the way and has never really lost to bad competition.

His last nine UFC losses have come against: Calvin Kattar, Yair Rodriguez, Zabit Magomedsharipov, Jose Aldo, Renato Carneiro, Frankie Edgar, Max Holloway, Charles Oliveira, and Cub Swanson. That is quite the elite list of guys so even though he has nine UFC losses in his last fifteen fights, it’s not insanely alarming.

That said, he needs a win big time tomorrow night. It’s not going to be easy as he takes on Poland’s Mateusz Gamrot. Gamrot dropped his UFC debut by split decision last year but bounced back quickly with a knockout win over Scott Holtzman. The ATT fighter is looking to make a big statement tomorrow night.

UFC Vegas 31 Prediction

Heading into UFC Vegas 31, I really have no doubts in who I think has the better skillset. To me, there’s no doubting the fact that Mateusz Gamrot has the better skills. Gamrot has good grappling and he’s slick on the feet.

He looks like he can become a real contender at 155 pounds. That said, Jeremy Stephens is the one in this fight that possesses the nuclear option. With Jeremy Stephens, he’s always just one punch away from capturing another UFC knockout.

Despite that, I’m going with Gamrot tomorrow night. I just believe that the overall skills will really play here. Expect Gamrot to mix things up to keep Stephens off-balance all night. I don’t think you’ll see a finish, but I also don’t think there will be controversy here.

Prediction: Mateusz Gamrot by Unanimous Decision

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

UFC Vegas 31 Preview: Miesha Tate – Marion Reneau

Tomorrow night in the co-main event of UFC Vegas 31, we will see the return of one of the pioneer’s of women’s MMA. Former bantamweight champion Miesha Tate (18-7) makes her highly anticipated return as she takes on Marion Reneau (9-7-1).

Before talking about Tate, let’s take a look at her opponent tomorrow night. “The Belizean Bruiser” will be making the walk for the final time at UFC Vegas 31. Reneau will have her son in her corner for her retirement fight.

The 44 year old has lost four fights in a row, but she has still remained competitive for the most part. Reneau made her UFC debut all the way back in 2015. She’s been in there with the likes of Holly Holm, Sara McMann, Raquel Pennington, and Cat Zingano.

It’s been quite the ride for Reneau as she’s gone 5-7-1 in her thirteen octagon appearances. While she’s exiting tomorrow night, Miesha Tate is returning. The former Strikeforce and UFC bantamweight champion is back after retiring in 2016.

Tate walked away after losing her second straight at UFC 205. However, Tate was only 29 years old and her walking away was more about mental fatigue. Since then, she’s become a mother of her own and she’s found that competitive fire again. Physically, she looks better than ever and she’s ready to make a statement.

UFC Vegas 31 Prediction

I’m incredibly interested to see how both of these ladies look tomorrow night at UFC Vegas 31. Marion Reneau has lost four in a row, but she’s been incredibly active. In addition to her activity, Reneau can straight up crack on the feet.

When Miesha Tate was at the top of her game, she was one of the best in the world. Tate became the UFC champion with a sensational submission win over Holly Holm and when she exited the sport, she was only two fights removed from that one.

I expect a bit of a slower pace to start as this is a huge fight for both women. I do believe Tate will be able to use her wrestling a lot in this fight. I’ll be watching the cardio of both women. This fight will go the distance and I do expect Reneau to have her moments. However, Tate’s wrestling should get her the win in her return.

Prediction: Miesha Tate by Unanimous Decision