Here’s what you may have missed!
There was so much Lightweight talent on display last night (Sat. Feb. 26, 2022) at UFC Vegas 49.
From the bottom of the card to the top, there were stellar performances. Early in the preliminary portion of the night, Terrance McKinney looked staggeringly athletic in a quick submission win, improving to 2-0 with a pair of first round finishes. Two fights later, Ignacio Bahamondes pulverized and strangled a very game Zhu Rong, proving himself a formidable combination of reach, power, and volume on the feet.
Things grew more serious on the main card. 25 year old Arman Tsarukyan, already positioned at No. 13, scored the biggest victory of his career by knifing through Joel Alvarez and leaving him in a pool of his own blood. It was spectacular work against an excellent fighter, and it already looks like Tsarukyan should be favored over several current Top 10 fighters.
Lightweight is awesome. It’s been awesome for a long time. Many of the unranked fighters at Lightweight — men like Joel Alvarez and Bobby Green — have the skills of top contenders in other divisions.
That’s what makes Islam Makhachev’s absolute dominance so incredible.
By every metric, Makhachev is outclassing his opponents. More impressively, he’s getting more and more dominant even while fighting tougher opposition. On his current 10 fight win streak, Makhachev has finished six opponents. Four of those are his most recent bouts, and now the last two have come in the first round.
Makhachev doesn’t really get hit, and his opponents cannot compete with him on the canvas. Green may lose a debatable decision at least once a year, but when’s the last time Green got dominated? It’s extremely rare, and Makhachev made it look like a casual walk in the park.
We’d all like to see Makhachev vs. Beneil Dariush or another Top Five contender before his title shot. UFC has tried to book such a fight on several occasions now, but it hasn’t materialized. At this point, however, it’s no longer necessary, because the fact is really staring us in the face: Makhachev is probably the best in the world. He’s beating highly talented fighters effortlessly, and that’s something only champions really accomplish.
At first, talks of “the next Khabib” were premature. Now, it’s starting to look a whole lot more like reality.
For complete UFC Vegas 49: “Makhachev vs. Green” results and play-by-play, click HERE!
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Author: Andrew Richardson