The future of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Lightweight division (at least according to Khabib Nurmagomedov), Islam Makhachev, looked to extend his win streak to seven tonight (Sat., March 6, 2021), locking horns with 15-fight Octagon veteran, Drew Dober, at UFC 259 inside UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada. Dober was one of the biggest betting underdogs on the entire card, so it would be a huge upset if he could derail the Makhachev hype train.
Unfortunately for him, Makhachev was just too much, mauling Dober for more than 11 minutes on the ground before finally securing a fight-ending submission win in the third round.
Both fighters came out in the Southpaw stance, with Dober looking to lineup that big left hand on Makhachev’s beard. Makhachev pumped the jab then dove in for a single-leg takedown less than one minute into the bout. Makhachev had him pinned in the center of the Octagon — right where he wanted him. Dober locked down Makhachev’s leg to make sure he didn’t secure full mount, with the Dagestani boxing his ears to soften him up. Makhachev tried to wriggle his leg free and finally was able to sneak it out and get into full mount. But, Dober wiggled him into half guard, with Makhachev eventully passing to side control. Makhachev went for full mount and Dober used it to try to spin out from underneath, but Makhachev stuck to him like glue. After a brief scramble, Makhachev was able to lock in a tight armbar, and it seemed like Dober was in deep trouble, but he was somehow able to get out of danger right before the round ended.
It was a dominant round for Makhachev, with Dober needing to land a big shot before the fight hit the floor. And it didn’t come — Makhachev had him back on his back in less than 40 seconds. Makhachev stuffed him up against the bottom of the cage and dropped some hard elbows, as Dober tried to scoot up and use the fence to get back to his feet. Makhachev readjusted, pinned Dober’s legs between his and eventually was able to muscle him back to the ground completely. Short shots from Makhachev while on top, but nothing significant landed. Makhachev continued to the face, then the body, with Dober trying to push him away with his legs. With 30 seconds remaining, Makhachev landed some real hard ground-and-pound, but Dober was still with it and defending until it came to a close.
Dober was down huge on the judges scorecards — he needed a Hail Mary finish to go home victorious. And he went for it to start the third and final frame, but he ended up on his back once again, this time less than 30 seconds into the round. Dober tried to get back to his feet, but Makhachev was just suffocating from top position. He went for a kimura from the bottom, but Makhachev maneuvered to the side and sunk in a tight arm-triangle choke. Dober, at this point, had nothing left and tapped before he napped.
It wasn’t the most exciting 10 minutes, but Makhachev wore down Dober in clinical fashion and got an impressive submission win. There’s no doubt he will likely inch closer to the Lightweight Top 10 as a result and, hopefully, higher-ranked competition down the line.
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