Islam Makhachev: The man looking to become lightweight king in Abu Dhabi

ABU DHABI, In less than four weeks, Islam Makhachev will take on Brazil’s Charles Oliveira for the vacant UFC lightweight title at the Etihad Arena, Abu Dhabi headlining a spectacular fight card at UFC 280: OLIVEIRA vs MAKHACHEV.

 

OLIVEIRA vs MAKHACHEV will be the latest event held in the UAE capital as part of the partnership between the UFC, and the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) which began in 2019.

 

October will also see the return of Abu Dhabi Showdown Week running from October 17 -23, anchored by UFC 280 and consisting of other sports and entertainment ancillary events, powered by Flash Entertainment.

 

This will be the Dagestan fighter’s first shot at gold, in what is one of the UFC’s most competitive weight divisions.

 

30-year-old Makhachev was born in Makhachkala, Dagestan. The 155lbs contender has been a professional MMA fighter since 2010, and in the UFC for the last seven years. A member of Khabib Nurmagomedov’s team, he is known for his strong wrestling capabilities and excellent technical skills on the ground – three of his last four wins have come via submission.

 

Daniel Cormier, a former training partner of Khabib and Makhachev, said he would back Islam in a wrestling match against his mentor – praise indeed from a former world champion.

 

His quiet, demeanor, with a sharp sense of humour, belies his capabilities as a fighter, he might seem quiet and humble but that all changes when the Octagon doors close.

 

With a professional record of 22-1, Makhachev has built a reputation as one of the most feared fighters in the lightweight division. Often flying under the radar he has steadily built his record over a number of years, now finding himself ranked fourth in the 155lbs class, and challenging for the title.

 

He has the third longest active win-streak in the UFC with 10 victories in a row – nine at lightweight, and his last outing at a catchweight of 160lbs against Bobby Green.

 

He took his first professional fight at the age of just 17, and within a year had amassed five wins, all inside the distance. He moved to 11-0 before being signed to the UFC, debuting in 2015 with a second round submission win over Nick Lentz.

 

His second fight turned out to be the only blemish of his career, but since then, Makhachev has delivered 10 straight wins, two via KO/TKO, four by submission, and four by decision.

 

Notable wins include Gleison Tibau, Drew Dober, and Dan Hooker.

 

Makhachev will train in Dubai ahead of the fight, and once in Abu Dhabi, Makhachev will be in familiar surroundings, having fought in the UAE twice previously. First defeating Davi Ramos in 2019, followed by a flawless first-round submission win over Dan Hooker in October last year.

 

Makhachev in Numbers 5 – Submissions wins in the lightweight division, one more and he will surpass Khabib 9 – His lightweight division win streak, the fourth longest of all-time in the 155lbs class 58.9% – He might be known for his grappling ability, but Makhachev’s striking accuracy is second all-time among lightweights 0.79 – Makhachev is hard to hit – he absorbs just 0.79 shots per minute on average in his fights – the lowest in lightweight history 66.7% – His striking is accurate, but his takedown percentage is even more so – the joint best in lightweight history.

 

Source: Emirates News Agency

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