UFC lightweight Islam Makhachev will attend his first UFC main event tonight when he meets Thiago Moises at UFC Vegas 31. Dagestani will join the competition with lightweight GOAT Khabib Nurmagomedov in his corner.
As well as the expertise and know-how of ‘The Eagle’, Mkhachev will also face a lot of pressure as he heads to the cage for a second time as his friend and teammate vacated the top ranks of the UFC’s 155 lb division.
in an interview with ESPN Nurmagomedov explained that, now that he is retired, it is time for Makhachev to claim the final prize of the division.
“He is going to turn 30 in October,” said Nurmagomedov (ht mma fight) “It is the right time to show the world who is the best. when i was 30 [old]I became the UFC Lightweight Champion.”
“When You’re 30” [old]‘I think your mental and physical prime gets to be on the same level – 30, 31, 32, that’s the right age,’ the former champion continued. “And right now, Islam at this age, he has a very good winning streak – mentally, physically, his boxing, his kicking, his scuffle, everything, I think he’s one step ahead of all these guys. Like , I really believe he can eliminate Dustin Poirier. Maybe Dustin is going to be upset, but I really believe he can finish Dustin Poirier. He can dodge Charles Oliveira . I don’t think Charles can play with him like this, all jiu-jitsu, guard, I don’t think so. I really believe it. We just need time. We just need time and no accidents.”
Nurmagomedov said he thought Makhachev was on the verge of taking on big names like Poirier and Oliveira and hoped his good friend would fight for the championship in 2022.
“I think next year Islam will fight for the title. I don’t want to underestimate Thiago Moises. I really believe that Thiago Moises is much better than his previous fight with Drew Dober. In my opinion, as a fighter In the U.S., he’s better than Drew Dober and he’s tougher than him. It’s not easy to eliminate Thiago Moises on the ground. But I think next year [Makhachev] will fight [for the title], and he can be champion for at least two or three years.”
Makhachev joined the UFC in 2015 after an 11–0 start to his MMA career, mostly fighting under the M-1 banner. After winning his first UFC match, he was surprised by a KO from Adriano Martins at UFC 192.
Since then he has gone undefeated with seven wins in the last five years. Recently Mkhachev defeated Drew Dober by submission at UFC 292. Prior to that victory, he defeated Davy Ramos at UFC 242.
Moises is a former LFA champion who made it to the UFC Contender Series Brazil in 2018. Against UFC competition he went 4–2 with wins over Alexander Hernandez, Bobby Green and Michael Johnson.