Drew Dober Explains The “Deciding Factor” In Dariush/Makhachev Fight

UFC lightweight Drew Dober has given a breakdown of the upcoming UFC Fight Night main event between top-five 155lbers Beneil Dariush and Islam Makhachev.

Having shared the Octagon with both men, Dober is in a unique position to provide his thoughts…

UFC Fight Night: Dariush vs. Makhachev, Drew Dober

UFC lightweight Drew Dober has given a breakdown of the upcoming UFC Fight Night main event between top-five 155lbers Beneil Dariush and Islam Makhachev.

Having shared the Octagon with both men, Dober is in a unique position to provide his thoughts on the highly anticipated matchup, which is expected to see the victor advance to challenge the champion later in the year.

Dober faced Dariush back in March 2019. The Iranian-born American broke the Nebraska native’s three-fight win streak with a second-round triangle armbar submission.

Almost two years to the day later, Dober faced surging Dagestani Makhachev at UFC 259. Like against Dariush, Dober was submitted, that time with a third-round arm-triangle choke. Those defeats represent two of only four submission losses in Dober’s 35-fight MMA career.

In an exclusive interview with MMA News, Dober discussed what he expects to happen when the pair collide next month. The 33-year-old also spoke about his own return to action against Ricky Glenn in March, his current contract status, and how long he intends to continue fighting for.

Dober: My Heart Says Dariush, My Head Says Makhachev

Since a 2015 KO setback against Adriano Martins, Makhachev has looked unstoppable. During his active nine-fight win streak, the 30-year-old has defeated Nik Lentz, Arman Tsarukyan, Davi Ramos, and Thiago Moisés. Most recently, Makhachev brushed past the challenge of Dan Hooker with a brutal first-round kimura in Abu Dhabi.

While he boasts more defeats on his record, Dariush’s recent form has been equally strong and his current seven-fight win streak is arguably more impressive than his upcoming opponent’s run of triumphs. Since defeats to Edson Barboza and Alexander Hernandez, Dariush has recorded highlight-reel KOs of Drakkar Klose and Scott Holtzman and shot into contention with decision wins against Diego Ferreira and Tony Ferguson.

With that in mind, Dober believes Dariush will give Makhachev more problems than he’s ever faced in the UFC. The promotional veteran expects the February 26 main event to be decided by how well Dariush can implement his strategy against a patient Makhachev.

“I think Beneil is going to give Islam the most problems,” Dober told MMA News. “It’s a super-tough fight for both guys. I think one of the cool things with Beneil is his strategy. He implements a good strategy and he’s able to adjust his strategy per round, and he’s a finisher. He can put you away with his hands or a submission.

“I think the biggest takeaway is Beneil’s a risk-taker, and Islam is not. Islam will do everything he can to win the long game,” added Dober. “Beneil, he takes risks; sometimes it works out in his favor, and sometimes it doesn’t. I think that’s the deciding factor; Beneil’s strategy and his risk-taking ability… I feel like the determining factor is going to be Beneil’s strategy.”

When asked for a prediction, Dober told MMA News that his heart and head are going different ways. While he would love to see Dariush have his hand raised, he acknowledges that the safer pick would be Makhachev.

“It’s so hard. Like, my heart, here at home, my wife and I, we’re going for Beneil Dariush. We want him to win, man. I’m behind him wholeheartedly. But as far as being a betting man, I mean, you see less mistakes from Islam, and so Islam is the safest bet. But the heart’s pulling for Beneil,” concluded Dober.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CXtKADJKVW-/

While Makhachev might be the safer bet, that certainly won’t stop Dober and his wife from cheering Dariush on from home.

Who do you think will have their hand raised on February 26, Beneil Dariush or Islam Makhachev?

Continue Reading Drew Dober Explains The “Deciding Factor” In Dariush/Makhachev Fight at MMA News.

Mendez: Khabib & Makhachev Would ‘Dominate’ Charles Oliveira

Javier Mendez is confident that both of his pupils in Khabib Nurmagomedov and Islam Makhachev would beat Charles Oliveira with ease.

Oliveira is the current UFC lightweight champion and defended his belt for the first time in December with a submis…

Islam Makhachev, Khabib Nurmagomedov

Javier Mendez is confident that both of his pupils in Khabib Nurmagomedov and Islam Makhachev would beat Charles Oliveira with ease.

Oliveira is the current UFC lightweight champion and defended his belt for the first time in December with a submission win over Dustin Poirier. He is now likely to face Justin Gaethje sometime in the spring or summer. And should he win that, a bout against the winner of Makhachev-Beneil Dariush will be next.

Although Oliveira has looked dominant since he became the champ, American Kickboxing head coach Javier Mendez believes the former champ Nurmagomedov as well as Makhachev would be able to defeat the Brazilian.

“I know they both would beat Charles, in my opinion… Stylistically wise, Islam could strike, he can kick. Khabib wasn’t a great kicker,” Mendez said on his YouTube channel. “Khabib would have to go straight to the grappling with Charles and probably dominate him there. As a matter of fact, I know he would. I know Khabib would dominate him there. And I kind of feel, my personal opinion, as great as Charles is, I think Islam would dominate him there too.”

Charles Oliveira
USA Today

Of course, Nurmagomedov is retired and doesn’t seem too interested in ever returning to the Octagon again. However, there is a very real chance Islam Makhachev and Charles Oliveira fight in 2022 so we can see if the Dagestani fighter would really beat the Brazilian and become the new champion.

In order for him to even get the title shot, he will need to defeat Dariush in the main event of a Fight Night card on February 26. This is easier said than done, as Dariush has been on an incredible run. However, Mendez believes it is only a matter of time before Makhachev does what his longtime friend and teammate did: become the undisputed UFC lightweight champion.

Do you think Islam Makhachev and Khabib Nurmagomedov would beat Charles Oliveira?

Continue Reading Mendez: Khabib & Makhachev Would ‘Dominate’ Charles Oliveira at MMA News.

Javier Mendez: ‘Khabib & Islam Would Both Dominate Charles Oliveira’

Khabib NurmagomedovJavier Mendez has all of the confidence in the world that two of his star pupils would be able to beat current lightweight UFC champ, Charles Oliveira. Khabib Nurmagomedov won’t be able to test this theory because of his recent retirement but, Islam Makhachev is right there in terms of a title shot at 155 […]

Khabib Nurmagomedov

Javier Mendez has all of the confidence in the world that two of his star pupils would be able to beat current lightweight UFC champ, Charles Oliveira.

Khabib Nurmagomedov won’t be able to test this theory because of his recent retirement but, Islam Makhachev is right there in terms of a title shot at 155 pounds. On February 26, Machachev is scheduled to main event against Beneil Dariush in a lightweight contender fight on a UFC Fight Night card. Securing a win in that fight would do a ton for Makhachev in earning that title shot.

During a fan Q&A on his YouTube channel, Mendez explained how he thinks it would go down in a potential match-up between the champ and his two students. (H/T mmajunkie.com)

“I know they both would beat Charles, in my opinion because look, they’re both my fighters,” Mendez said. “Stylistically-wise, Islam could strike, he can kick. Khabib wasn’t a great kicker. Khabib would have to go straight to the grappling with Charles and probably dominate him there. As a matter of fact, I know he would. I know Khabib would dominate him there, and I kind of feel, my personal opinion, as great as Charles is, I think Islam would dominate him there. too.”

However, in a recent interview with ESPN, Nurmagomedov praised Oliveira after his submission win over Dustin Poirier at UFC 269. He also said that he hopes Oliveira is still the champ when Makhachev gets his title shot.

Makhachev is currently on a nine-fight win streak at 155 pounds. He has finished his last three opponents with his last being a kimura win over Dan Hooker at UFC 267. His last lose came in 2015, when he got knocked out in the first round against Adriano Martins.

The full Q&A with Javier Mendez is available below.

Do you agree with Javier Mendez and his claims that both Khabib Nurmagomedov and Islam Makhechev would dominate Charles Oliveira?

Pimblett On Makhachev’s Record: “I’d Submit Hooker In The 1st Round”

UFC lightweight prospect Paddy Pimblett is not at all impressed with Islam Makhachev and his title credentials, claiming he’d also be able to submit Dan Hooker in the first-round.

Since falling to his only loss professional MMA at the hands of Adri…

Paddy Pimblett, UFC 267: Makhachev vs. Hooker

UFC lightweight prospect Paddy Pimblett is not at all impressed with Islam Makhachev and his title credentials, claiming he’d also be able to submit Dan Hooker in the first-round.

Since falling to his only loss professional MMA at the hands of Adriano Martins in 2015, Makhachev has built a win streak impressive enough to ascend him into the top five at 155 pounds.

Victories over Arman Tsarukyan, Davi Ramos, and Drew Dober landed the Dagestani his first main event slot. At UFC Vegas 31, he made the most of it by submitting formerly-ranked contender Thiago Moisés. Having risen to #5 on the lightweight ladder, much to the bemusement of some, Makhachev had the chance to jump closer to the title three months later on Fight Island.

The Abu Dhabi fan favorite faced short-notice opponent Hooker at UFC 267 after a clash with long-time rival Rafael dos Anjos fell through for the third time. In the opening round, Makhachev showed his superiority on the ground by submitting “The Hangman” with a brutal kimura.

Having defeated a top-10 opponent and extended his active win streak to nine, many are beginning to sing the praises of Makhachev and brand him a future champion, suggesting he could perhaps even hold gold by the end of 2022. However, one rising 155lber doesn’t share the same sentiment.

During a recent appearance on Michael Bisping’s Believe You Me podcast, Paddy “The Baddy” Pimblett downplayed Makhachev’s form and résumé. After suggesting the #4-ranked lightweight hasn’t beaten anyone of note except Hooker, Pimblett claimed he’d be able to beat the New Zealander in a similar fashion.

“Makhachev hasn’t fought anyone lad,” Pimblett said. “He’s only fought Hooker. I think I’d submit Hooker in the first round. That’s what I mean, he’s a kickboxer lad. I’d take him down and submit him.”

Pimblett Can’t See Makhachev Beating Gaethje, Oliveira Or Dariush

Following his victory over Hooker, many expected Makhachev to perhaps be accelerated to the title next. Unfortunately for him, Justin Gaethje’s winning performance in a Fight of the Year contender against Michael Chandler effectively prevented that from being a possibility.

With “The Highlight” set to challenge for Charles Oliveira’s gold this year, Makhachev has had to settle for a title eliminator against #3-ranked contender Beneil Dariush.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CXtKADJKVW-/

But while many see Makhachev ending Dariush’s seven-fight win streak before dethroning the winner of Gaethje vs. Oliveira in late 2022, Pimblett doesn’t believe the Dagestani has what it takes to beat any of them.

“Whoever wins out of Oliveira/Gaethje (will enter 2023 with the title), because I can’t see Makhachev beating either of them… I think Dariush beats Makhachev. I rate Dariush mate, I think he’s very underrated. He’s fucking quality.”

We won’t have to wait long for the first of those three predictions to be tested. Makhachev and Dariush are set to headline a UFC Fight Night card on February 26.

Barring an inconclusive end to the next title fight or the intervention of a certain Conor McGregor, it stands to reason the victor will be joining the champion inside the Octagon at the end of this year.

Who do you think will have their hand raised on February 26, Islam Makhachev or Beneil Dariush?

Continue Reading Pimblett On Makhachev’s Record: “I’d Submit Hooker In The 1st Round” at MMA News.

Makhachev Politely Informs Dariush He Is A Stepping Stone To Title Shot

Islam Makhachev has politely let upcoming opponent Beneil Dariush know that he is being overlooked.

In two months, two of the best lightweights in the world will compete in what is currently expected to serve as a title-eliminator bout. With UFC li…

Beneil Dariush, Khabib Nurmagomedov & Islam Makhachev

Islam Makhachev has politely let upcoming opponent Beneil Dariush know that he is being overlooked.

In two months, two of the best lightweights in the world will compete in what is currently expected to serve as a title-eliminator bout. With UFC lightweight champion Charles Oliveira virtually a lock to defend against #1 contender Justin Gaethje next, the fight between Makhachev (#4) and Dariush (#3) seems to be a no-brainer for determining who will be next in line.

Makhachev got his wish when Oliveira submitted Dustin Poirier at UFC 269, as the Dagestani is eager to showcase his sambo skills against Oliveira’s masterful jiu-jitsu. In fact, he is so excited at the prospect of fighting Oliveira that he doesn’t seem to be giving any concern to the possibility of Dariush standing in his way. On the contrary, he believes Dariush is merely lying along the way.

“@beneildariush I’m sorry bro, but you are on my way.,” the polite Dagestani stated.

Dariush did not respond to this tweet, but he has already shared some of his own thoughts about the upcoming bout. And from the sounds of it, the 32-year-old is not short on confidence, either. In fact, the jiu-jitsu black belt is more than happy to give Makhachev the grappling-friendly matchup he’s after.

If Dariush winds up on the losing end of this matchup via finish, then Makhachev will receive a double-bonus if Khabib Nurmagomedov is to be believed. Dariush is unconcerned about such information, however, and has chalked up this claim from Makhachev’s mentor as being just a “drama show.”

The bout between Makhachev and Dariush goes down on February 26 and will serve as the five-round main event.

Do you believe Beneil Dariush is a mere footnote in Makhachev’s journey to the UFC lightweight championship?

Continue Reading Makhachev Politely Informs Dariush He Is A Stepping Stone To Title Shot at MMA News.

Islam Makhachev Gets His Wish In The UFC 269 Main Event

UFC lightweight contender Islam Makhachev’s hope for a matchup with Charles Oliveira is still alive following the champ’s win at UFC 269.

Makhachev paid close attention to Oliveira’s win over Dustin Poirier in the UFC 269 main event. After a rough …

Islam Makhachev, Dustin Poirier, Charles Oliveira

UFC lightweight contender Islam Makhachev’s hope for a matchup with Charles Oliveira is still alive following the champ’s win at UFC 269.

Makhachev paid close attention to Oliveira’s win over Dustin Poirier in the UFC 269 main event. After a rough start to the fight, Oliveira found his groove with his grappling and would eventually earn the submission win.

Charles Oliveira
USA Today

Islam Makhachev has catapulted to the lightweight title picture after a run of dominant performances. His most recent win over Dan Hooker at UFC 267 was arguably the most impressive of his career.

Makhachev is mostly known for his Dagestan-style wrestling prowess in the Octagon, while Oliveira is known to have some of the most elite jiu-jitsu in UFC history. Leading up to UFC 269, Makhachev picked Poirier to beat Oliveira but was still hopeful for a grappling showcase against the defending champion.

“I have Dustin in favor tonight, but want Oliveira to be there when I’m fighting for the title. Sambo vs. Jiu-Jitsu,” Makhachev tweeted pre-UFC 269.

After Oliveira got the win, Makhachev congratulated the champion and teased a potential future matchup between the two lightweights.

“Congrats [Charles Oliveira] just hold in there for me,” Makhachev said.

Makhachev is likely just one win away from a lightweight title shot after winning nine in a row. He’s slated to face Beneil Dariush at a UFC Fight Night main event on Feb. 26.

Both Makhachev and Oliveira have managed to go on dominant runs through the lightweight division, making a fight between the two elite lightweights almost inevitable. While Oliveira is expected to face Justin Gaethje next, Makhachev is waiting in the wings for a shot at the belt.

Who do you think would win a fight between Islam Makhachev and Charles Oliveira?

Continue Reading Islam Makhachev Gets His Wish In The UFC 269 Main Event at MMA News.