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Islam Makhachev

Islam Makhachev is a highly-praised fighter coming up the ranks, thanks in large part to the lineage that he comes from.

There are some people that you can just look at physically and the way they approach the fight the minute that the cage door closes, and you can just tell that they have something that is a little different than everyone else. I don’t use that loosely with many fighters, and it surely is not because of lineage either.

Sure it helps to know that he has trained under the same structured program and style that has been known to give nearly every fighter fits, and of course it helps that the GOAT’s (Khabib Nurmagomedov) father trained him, but there still needs to be a winding of a fighter that can absorb the knowledge and put it into motion.

Makhachev comes to us with a record of 19-1, and ever since losing his first-ever fight, he has gone on a seven-fight tear, basically running through people. With 3 KOS and 8 submissions, it is no secret that his position of choice is just to maul you from top position. With that said, negating his standup would be a very very big mistake on your part.

Makhachev is well rounded everywhere, and he is only improving from fight to fight. At the age of 29, he is in an optimal spot in his career. He is on the radar with everyone and still has not hit his prime yet. Fighters usually start hitting maximum stride between the ages of 30 and 33, if they ever do at all. After that, they can improve, but they can also decline depending on the type of fights they are engaging in.

The Eagle MMA style is a far cry from wanting a war-like style. They want to utilize symbols of war to get in close and maul an opponent while taking minimum damage on the ground. Some may find this boring, but they don’t understand the science involved when it comes to weight distribution and slowly calculated transitions. 

Makachev doesn’t have a ton of gears. He isn’t going to start slow and end fast or start fast and end slow. He starts off in all the right gear and adapts as he needs to. There is a calm about him; a confidence that can’t be rattled. He will need to put all that to the test against a fighter in Thiago Moises, who has slowly and quietly been making huge improvements, and I think is being glossed over here. 

Thiago Moises

Moises came into the UFC with by going 1-2 in his first three fights, and to be honest, he didn’t really seem like much to me. After then bouncing back with three straight wins, it was clear that he hit a corner and has looked extremely dangerous in his fights as of late.

He has also shown a bit of a chip on his shoulder. With a 15-4 record and a high-pedigree black belt in BJJ, the southpaw has six of his wins by way of submission and three wins by way of KO. In his four losses, he has never been finished.

The fight that I really saw him take on the role of Alpha, was against Alexander Hernandez. There was a little back-and-forth smack talk in that fight, but what fight is there not to be honest? However, he really just took control of that fight with such attitude and dictation that he seemed like another fighter in there. He was looking for spots and when he found them, he would not take no for an answer.

Hernandez is a completely different animal than Makhachev when it comes to skillset, but it was still nice to see the control he commanded there. The problem is, you aren’t demanding anything from Makhachev, because with his style, the chances are, he is going to make the demands. 

How I See This Shaking Out

This fight doesn’t need to be a wash, and I don’t think it will be at all. I think Moises does pose some problems for Makhachev, and the grappling is where I am really interested here. Can Moises somehow stop the mauling style of Makhachev, get his hips loose and create offense for himself down there?

I am honestly not sure that he can. I believe Makhachev will have the right escapes and transitions, and I do believe Moises will be rolling in and out of things, but at the end of the day, I don’t think he will get enough loose hip time to really create enough space to get things flowing.

Makhachev is smothering. His top game is extremely heavy. The small windows that you may open will be open for a small period of time or only once before he becomes privy to it. It is extremely hard to pick against a guy that was Khabib’s father’s last MMA-related wish to become champion. That is a rough bet to go against.

The Pick: Islam Makhachev

DFS Breakdown:

  • Makhachev: $9400
  • 100+ Points: 5 of 10
  • Current Market Value: 5 of 10
  • Hedge: 7

It is hard to pick against him here. This is a spot where the UFC knows what they have in him. They also know what he is capable of. Makhachev can get it done everywhere and in a five-round fight, it’s hard not to roster him no matter what his price is.

  • Moises: $6800
  • 100+ Points: 1 of 6
  • Current Market Value: 2 of 6
  • Hedge: 2-3

He has shown some clear ability and upgrades in his fighting. Moises is widely known for his grappling over his striking, but he has been solid both ways. I think at $6800 he is worth a very small look, but I just don’t see him capable enough to overcome Makhachev the deeper it goes. 

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