Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Lightweight grapplers Islam Makhachev and Davi Ramos will duel this Saturday (Sept. 7, 2019) at UFC 242 from inside The Arena in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
Five straight victories finally resulted in Makhachev shedding his reputation as the best unranked Lightweight and earning the No. 15 spot. A long-time training partner of Khabib Nurmagomedov, Makhachev hopes to build an impressive enough win streak to break into the title mix just as his teammate looks to exit the sport. Ramos enters this bout on the heels of four victories of his own, and the Brazilian jiu-jitsu ace has generally had his way with his competition thus far. This is a significant step up in competition for the Brazilian, but he’s been calling himself the man to take out Nurmagomedov for a while now — what better way to provide some evidence than take out his team mate?
Let’s take a closer look at the keys to victory for each man:
Key Wins: Arman Tsarukyan (UFC Fight Night 149), Gleison Tibau (UFC 220), Nik Lentz (UFC 208), Kajan Johnson (UFC on FOX 30)
Key Losses: Adriano Martins (UFC 192)
Keys to Victory: An International Master of Sports in Sambo and four-time combat Sambo champ, Makhachev has lived up to expectations inside the Octagon. He’s definitely a specialist: Makhachev excels when able to get his hands on his opponent, as he’s able to force wrestling transitions and dominate from top position.
There’s something of a myth in mixed martial arts (MMA) that expert-level jiu-jitsu fighters will submit their opponent instantly when the fight hits the mat, regardless of position or skill level. It’s been disproven numerous times, yet the idea still persists even among excellent fighters that with certain men, going into the guard is an instant death sentence.
Ramos is dangerous and his guard should be treated with caution. At the same time, this is not jiu-jitsu! Makhachev has the wrestling chops to throw Ramos on his head and work from top position. He should be careful, but the combination of his own experience and the ability to punch Ramos in the face should prove more than enough to navigate his foe’s guard.
Plus, working from bottom position in MMA is exhausting. Ramos may be quick and sneaky with his submission attempts early, but that will fade after a few minutes of being smothered.
Key Wins: Nick Hein (UFC 224), Austin Hubbard (UFC Fight Night 152), Chris Gruetzemacher (UFC Fight Night 123)
Key Losses: Sergio Moraes (UFC Fight Night 106)
Keys to Victory: A jiu-jitsu black belt and ADCC gold medalist, Ramos has some quality credentials of his own. As one would expect, Ramos’ game inside the Octagon largely relies on a slick double leg and dominating back take game, at which point Ramos is quick to lock up the rear-naked choke.
One question ahead of this bout is which man holds the kickboxing edge? Both have shown skill on the feet, but neither often choose to compete there. Whether he ultimately does hold the advantage or not, it would be best for Ramos to push the pace and throw power punches.
Most of Makhachev’s opponents are hesitant to commit to punches in fear of the takedown — Ramos should have no such fear. In fact, attacking hard with powerful punches early is perhaps the best way to convince Makhachev into making a mistake, such as taking a poorly timed shot.
It only takes one such error for Ramos to wrap up the neck.
Bottom Line: It’s an interesting style match up.
Makhachev definitely deserves a higher level of opponent given his current win streak, but match ups opposite Top 10-ranked Lightweights are quite difficult to come by — the old guard largely refuses to fight foes ranked beneath them. At any rate, Makhachev has a chance to defend his ranked position and pick up a seventh straight win on a high-profile card, which should lead to something better next time out.
Alternatively, it’s really a major step up in competition for Ramos, who has yet to fight anyone near the caliber of Makhachev. If the Brazilian can pull off the upset, it gives his repeated call outs of Nurmagomedov and the idea that he might be a bad match up for the champ a bit more gravity. If nothing else, a victory breaks him into the rankings, which is an incredibly difficult goal to accomplish at 155 pounds.
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 242 fight card right HERE, starting with the Fight Pass “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. ET, then the remaining undercard balance on FX at 12 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 2 p.m. ET on ESPN+.
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At UFC 242, Islam Makhachev and Davi Ramos will go to war. Which man will have his hand raised?