UFC lightweight contenders Islam Makhachev and Thiago Moises met in the main event of UFC Vegas 31. The fight was a dominant performance from start to finish for the Dagestani wrestler who controlled Moises for most of the fight.
The high-paced fight was an excellent display of skill for Makhachev. Islam of course, is looking to create a solid lightweight resume for himself. He carries the torch and the faith bestowed in him by former UFC lightweight champion and great, Khabib Nurmagomedov. Khabib, who is also his best friend and mentor has insisted many times that Islam is the next lightweight champion.
Thiago spent most of the fight with his back to the cage. Islam’s grappling prowess was remarkable, as always. But he showed that he was no scrub on the feet either. His striking was educated and successful at keeping Thiago pressured and guessing. Cutting off the cage whenever Thiago attempted to circle away, Islam landed some good combinations. Thiago did have his moments however. He did initiate the clinch well at times and looked for explosive combinations to land. Islam was efficient in backing away from these, often countering with his own check hook or jab.
The wrestling was of course, as everyone expected, a one-sided control fest for Islam. He initiated a wide range of takedowns, landing 3 out of 6 takedowns. Islam controlled Moises each time and landed a good amount of ground n pound. The finish came in the fourth round, off a spectacular slam after Islam turned a regular shoot into a lethal high crotch. After taking his back, Islam submitted Moises with a rear naked choke that he locked in tight, 2 minutes and 38 seconds into the round.
Islam gave credit to his opponent acknowledging him as tough to finish and complimenting his strength. Islam proceeded to call out the lightweight division for refusing to fight him. He ended the interview by calling out fellow contender Rafael Dos Anjos.