Streaking Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) lightweight contender Islam Makhachev will have one final hurdle to clear before securing his shot at the 155-pound strap when he collides with fellow Top 5 title hopeful Beneil Dariush.
They’ll do the deed at the promotion’s upcoming MMA event on Feb. 26 in Las Vegas, where Makhachev opened as the -330 favorite against +265 for Dariush at FanDuel. Expect this line to shift as we get closer to fight night, so if Dariush is your pick, don’t dawdle.
Makhachev (21-1) is the winner of nine straight with five finishes — one knockout and four submissions. The only knock on his recent success is the fact that Makhachev has not fought anyone in the division Top 10 until last October’s victory over Dan Hooker.
As for Dariush (21-4-1), he’s rattled off seven straight wins of his own with four finishes — two knockouts and two submissions. And just like his Dagestani rival, Dariush was not facing elite competition until his victory over Tony Ferguson back in May.
Charles Oliveira will defend his lightweight title against Dustin Poirier next weekend in Las Vegas and according to UFC President Dana White, Justin Gaethje is next in line for a crack at the 155-pound crown. Then comes the winner of Makhachev vs. Dariush.
Unless something crazy happens.