UFC 259: Islam Makhachev is the fighter to watch

It has been 18 months since Islam Makhachev has stepped into a UFC octagon, but at UFC 259 he is poised to remind fans why he could be a future lightweight champion.

UFC 259 features three championship fights, first Jan Blachowicz vs. Israel Adesanya for the light heavyweight belt, Amanda Nunes vs. Megan Anderson for the women’s featherweight title, as well as Petr Yan vs. Alajamain Sterling for the bantamweight strap, but besides the title fights, the card is stacked from top to bottom. Included is a lightweight bout between Islam Makhachev and Drew Dober; as fans have been clamoring for Makhachev to get in the Octagon ever since his fight with Rafael dos Anjos was canceled twice in November and December.

Makhachev is 18-1 for his career and 7-1 in the UFC and has amassed a six-fight win streak coming into this contest. Since the supposed retirement of lightweight champion and teammate of Makhachev’s, Khabib Nurmagomedov, Islam Makhachev has been hailed as the next Eagles MMA/American Kickboxing Academy member to follow in his compatriot’s footsteps. A student of the late Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov, Makhachev has been impressive in his last six fights with dominant decision wins as well as a knockout of Gleison Tibau at UFC 220 and a submission victory against Kajan Johnson at UFC on FOX: Alvarez vs Poirier 2 in 2018. If Makhachev can put on a dominating display against Drew Dober, he could catapult himself into a fight with an elite lightweight within the top 10.

Dober is no slouch though. Dober has been fighting under the UFC since 2013 and has accumulated 9 victories within that stretch, with an overall record of 23-9. Dober is riding a three-fight win streak coming into this contest with two first-round finishes and a second-round finish of Alexander Hernandez at UFC Jacksonville in May 2020. An upset over Makhachev would be stunning. If Makhachev were to lose, the hype around him would surely die down, but with a win over a UFC veteran, it should solidify how skilled he is as a mixed martial artist, and guarantee he gets to face a top 10 lightweight for his next bout.

UFC 259 takes place on Saturday, March 6, 2021, live from the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, NV. Follow along with FanSided who will be on-site for all your live news and highlights.

Published at Mon, 01 Mar 2021 23:35:13 +0000

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