The story heading into the UFC Vegas 31 headliner between Islam Makhachev and Thiago Moises was if the Brazilian could surprise experts and put an end to the Russian’s seven-fight win streak. In the end, the experts and oddsmakers were right.
Islam Makhachev runs through Thiago Moises at UFC Vegas 31
Makhachev, 29, has earned a reputation as the next big thing at lightweight because of an impressive run inside the Octagon over the last five years. Using sound striking and dominant grappling to control and subdue opponents. We saw more of the same from the ninth-ranked 155-pounder in this fight as well. He used his striking to pepper Moises and keep him busy, then would unleash his wrestling. Picking the Brazilian up and dumping him to the ground in every round.
Moises, 26, just didn’t seem to have many answers for his opponent. Despite being a gifted grappler in his own right, he couldn’t escape his foe’s grasp, and rarely offered moments of danger over the duration of the fight. And this one did not need all five of its main event rounds either.
By the third, Makhachev was just a wave Moises could not keep at bay. Eventually, the fight hit the mat again, the Khabib Nurmagomedov pupil worked to his opponent’s back and did like his unbeaten mentor has done to many others, and made Moises tap from a rear-naked choke.
In his first main event spot, the rising lightweight star delivered in the way he needed to and got a statement finish on another ranked talent. The win is his eighth straight inside the Octagon. In the post-fight interview, Makhachev called for a fight with sixth-ranked former division champion Rafael dos Anjos. That is a fight that should and likely will happen next.
The defeat ends a three-fight win streak for the Brazilan and brings the Dana White’s Contender Series alums record to 4-3 in the UFC.