Is there a new era in the UFC lightweight division?
That’s the question ahead of Saturday’s UFC Fight Night, which will be unveiled Islam Makhachev in its first major event. Mahachov is not fighting for the title on Saturday night in Las Vegas, nor is he even fighting against a ranked opponent – he is listed against James Moses – but some already believe that he is the best light in the world.
Makhachev (19-1) is a longtime teammate and friend Khabib Nurmagomedov. Although Nurmagomedov has ruled the 155-pound division in recent years, he has always said that Makhachev will be his successor. And when Nurmagomedov withdrew, and Makhachov seeks his eighth victory in a row, it seems his chance is now.
Whether Makhachev will prove to be in the same championship games as his famous teammate remains to be seen, but this will at least provide insight into how he copes with the pressure to be a headliner. “Show the world who Islam Makhachev is,” Nurmagomedov said. “Not just Khabib’s brother. No. He has to be his own. Islam Makhachev. The best in the world. A series of victories in eight fights. He won everything.”
In the main event, the former UFC champion in the heaviest category Miesha Tate will return to the competition for the first time since 2016 against Marion Reneau. Tate is once again striving for the title, but can’t get away with Reneau, who said this will be her last fight.
Follow live with Bretta Okamoto and Marco Raimondi or watch the fights on ESPN +.
Fight in progress:
Nascimento survived an ugly first round against Baudot, before using his opponent’s vanishing gas tank.
Nascimento, 28, of Belo Horizonte in Brazil knocked out Baudot with punches along the fence in 1:29 of the second round. The finish came after Nascimento found himself in several difficult spots in the opening frame, including a fight from the ground and a kick from the back after pulling the guard.
– ESPN MMA (@espnmma) July 17, 2021
Baudot, from France, it all worked out in the first five minutes as he beat Nascimento on the legs and made him pay for his effort to bring the fight to the ground. Yet in the second round he looked like a different fighter, while Nascimento walked him down and shot at will.
Nascimento recorded finals in both victories within the Octagon.
Light: Islam Makhachev (19-1, 8-1 UFC, -650) vs. James Moses (15-4, 4-2 UFC, +475)
Female heaviest category: Marion Reneau (9-7-1, 5-6-1 UFC, +110) vs. Miesha Tate (18-7, 5-4 UFC, -130)
Light: Jeremy Stephens (28-18, 1 NC, 15-17.1 NC UFC, +180) vs. Mateusz Gamrot (18-1 1 NC, 1-1 UFC, -220)
Middle category: Rodolfo Vieira (7-1, 2-1 UFC, -220) vs. Dustin Stoltzfus (13-2, 0-1 UFC, +180)
Men’s featherweight category: Gabriel Benitez (22-8, 6-4 UFC, -160) vs. Billy Quarantillo (15-3, 3-1 UFC, +135)
Light heavyweight category: Daniel Rodriguez (14-2, 4-1 UFC, -280) vs. Preston Parsons (9-2, 0-0 UFC, +230)
Straw: Amanda Lemos (9-1, 3-1 UFC, -550) vs. Montserrat Rabbit (10-1, 1-0 UFC, +400)
Men’s Simple Category: Khalid Taha (13-3 1 NC, 1-2 1 NC UFC, -175) vs. Sergey Morozov (16-4, 0-1 UFC, +130)