Makachev defends UFC title for third time, announces welterweight challenge

UFC lightweight (70.3 kg) champion Islam Makachev (32, Russia) defeated Dustin “Diamond” Poirier (35, USA) to win his third title defense and 14th consecutive bout.

Makachev (26-1) defeated No. 4-ranked Poirier (30-9-1) via rear-naked choke submission at 2:42 of the fifth round in the main event of UFC 302: Makachev vs. Poirier at Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey, USA.

It was another hard-fought victory. Initially, this bout was expected to be an easy win for Makachev. But the veteran Poirier, who came prepared, gave the champion a test, defending multiple takedowns and bloodying him with a powerful left elbow in the fourth round.

The champion’s true colors were revealed in the fifth round. The challenger took advantage of the champion’s damage and low stamina to go for the finish. The champion calmly went for a single-leg takedown, grabbed an ankle and dragged Poirier’s center of gravity, then locked in a neck choke to secure the finish.

Now it’s time to make history. With the win, Makachev moved into a tie for first place on the UFC’s most defenses of the lightweight title (three) and into third place on the UFC’s longest winning streak. He is one fight away from the lightweight record for most defenses and three away from the UFC record for most consecutive wins. But to truly make history, Makachev wants the welterweight (77.1 kilograms) title belt, the weight class above.

“I want to be remembered by people as a double champion, I want to go down in history, this is my dream,” Makachev said at the post-fight press conference. If there is even a small chance, I will definitely grab it. If you want a great legacy, you have to become a two-weight champion,” he emphasized.

Makachev hopes to challenge for the welterweight title in New York City in November. UFC welterweight champion Leon Edwards (32, Great Britain) will make his fourth defense against No. 2 Belal Muhammad (35, USA) on July 28 in Manchester, England. No matter who wins, it’s not easy to accept another title shot in less than four months.

The next option is No. 1-ranked Arman Sarukyan (27, Russia/Armenia). Sarukyan lost a close decision to Makachev in his UFC debut in 2019. He defeated former lightweight champion Charles Oliveira in April to become the most likely title challenger. “I’m not interested in a 카지노사이트 rematch, I want a new challenge,” Makachev said, but he would accept a fight with Sarukyan if UFC CEO Dana White wanted one.

After failing in his last attempt, Poirier hinted at a possible retirement. “I can still compete with the best fighters in the world. But what am I going to fight for anymore,” he said, adding, ‘Honestly, this could be the last time.’

Poirier is one of the most beloved fighters in the UFC. He has been fighting in the UFC since 2011 and has defeated champions such as Conor McGregor (twice), Max Holloway (twice), Justin Gaethje, Eddie Alvarez, and Anthony Pettis. In 2019, he was crowned UFC lightweight interim champion.

He’s also known for being a knockout machine, having earned 10 Fight of the Night bonuses. His 2012 bloodbath against “Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung was also named Fight of the Year by many outlets.

Poirier dedicated the fight to his late grandmother, mother, wife, and daughter, saying, “It was the women who made me who I am today.” He reassured his young daughter, who was crying when she saw him fight for the first time, that “Daddy’s okay,” and handed over a dream 바카라사이트 추천 he’d been chasing for more than 20 years, saying, “Always follow your dreams, it’s a beautiful thing.”

In the co-main event, former UFC middleweight (83.9 kg) champion Sean Strickland (33, USA) defeated No. 7-ranked Paulo Costa (33, BRA) by split decision (49-46, 50-45, 46-49).

Strickland struggled with Costa’s powerful leg kicks early on, but used his trademark front kick and one-two combination to pull away for the win.

“I did my duty,” Strickland said after the fight, demanding a title shot. “I’ll wait until I get a title shot,” he declared, claiming he was “robbed of victory” in his last fight against Driquith du Plessis (30, South Africa), which he lost by split decision.

Whether Strickland’s dream will come true remains to be seen. Current UFC middleweight champion Du Plessis wants former champion Israel Adesanya (34, New Zealand/Nigeria) as his next challenger. The winner of the No. 3-ranked Robert Whittaker (33, Australia) vs. No. 10 Hamzat Chimayev (30, UAE) bout on Nov. 23 will also have a shot.


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