The following nice UFC light-weight to bust out following Khaib Nurmagomedov’s impending retirement simply is likely to be from the unbeaten 155-pound champion’s secure.
Islam Makhachev (19-1) placed on a grappling clinic on Saturday in a third-round submission win over Drew Dober (23-10, 1 NC) at UFC 259 contained in the Apex in Las Vegas. The 29-year-old Makhachev, like Nurmagomedov a local of Dagestan in Russia, returned to the Octagon following a 17-month layoff and appeared able to make the leap into the higher tier of the division.
“This isn’t my fault as a result of 2020 was very loopy,” Makhachev stated of his inactivity. “I misplaced quite a lot of my shut mates and shut folks and I cancelled my three fights. That is why you for a very long time do not see me.”
The struggle marked Makhachev’s first for the reason that lack of his longtime coach — Nurmagomedov’s father, Abdulmanap — who died final summer time following COVID-19 issues. Nurmagomedov, who has but to be stripped of his title by UFC president Dana White regardless of repeatedly stating his intention to retire, joined Javier Mendez of American Kickboxing Academy as a coach in Makhachev’s nook.
The efficiency Makhachev put in undoubtedly drew the respect of Nurmagomedov as he took the red-hot Dober down at will and methodically improved his place to create quite a few submission alternatives, together with an arm bar within the closing seconds of Spherical 1.
“I could not strike with him as a result of he had a really giant punch so I simply took the straightforward manner and took him down and grinded wth him,” Makhachev stated.
Makhachev’s grappling management and seamless transitions on the bottom continued into the second spherical as he spent most of it on prime of Dober, touchdown clear strikes with elbows. Makhachev’s takedown to open the ultimate spherical appeared even simpler as he flattened Dober out earlier than securing an arm triangle to supply a faucet at 1:37.
The victory was the seventh straight for Makhachev since his lone profession defeat through knockout in opposition to Adriano Martins in 2015.
“The end is all the time crucial. Possibly Dana will give me the bonus… I attempted to complete him within the first spherical, however Dober is a really robust man,” Makhachev stated. “He has like loopy energy, that is why I simply tried to make him drained, make him work and end him within the third spherical.
“I really feel this strain however I am not an novice man. I’ve an enormous novice profession, now I’ve 19 victories, that is why I perceive all the things. I simply have to coach exhausting as a result of folks consider in me.”
Makhachev is hoping for 2 extra fights in 2021 earlier than difficult for the title firstly of 2022. Dober snapped a three-fight win streak, all by TKO, and misplaced simply his second over a span of eight fights.