Streaking UFC lightweight challenger, Islam Makhachev is fast approaching his first title shot under the promotion’s banner ahead of a title eliminator next month. And despite notching a trio of dominant submission wins last year, the Makhachkala native has sights on scooping a knockout worthy of an end of year award.
Ranked at #4 in the official lightweight pile, the American Kickboxing Academy product is slated to headline UFC Vegas 48 next month against the #3 ranked contender, Beneil Dariush, with the victory expected to challenge for lightweight spoils in their next outing with a win.
Makhachev enters the headlining bout with Dariush off the back of a high-profile first round submission win over Dan Hooker at UFC 267 back in October on ‘Fight Island’ – which improved his winning run in the division to nine straight fights.
Before his submission win over Hooker, Makhachev headlined his first UFC event back in July – stopping Thiago Moises with a fourth round rear-naked choke, which followed a March arm-triangle stoppage over Drew Dober.
Lifting the BT Sports Fight Week Submission of the Year for his kimura stoppage over City Kickboxing striker, Hooker, Makhachev claimed that he hoped to win the Knockout of the Year award by the close of 2022.
“Hello, everyone – a kimura is not an easy submission to make in the fight (with Dan Hooker), but I have many other submissions in my arsenal that I will try to show you guys in 2022,” Islam Makhachev said. “And it’s an honor for me to get this award. At the end of 2022, I expect to get (the) award; Best Knockout of the Year. This year is gonna be big for us, guys. Thank you for following my career. See you soon, guys.
Hotly-tipped to eventually clinch UFC lightweight gold, Makhachev, who constantly draws comparisons from his teammate and former undisputed champion, the now-retired, Khabib Nurmagomedov – has been guaranteed a shot at the title should he defeat Dariush, according to the latter, at least
“Beneil (Dariush), and Islam (Makhachev), this is truly, 100% a number one contender fight,” Khabib said last year. “Who’s gonna win — they’re gonna fight for the title. And the UFC told Islam, if he beats Dariush, like, he gonna fight for the title.”
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