UFC Fight Night results, highlights: Islam Makhachev dominates Thiago Moises to score fourth-round submission
With former UFC champion Khabib Nurmagomedov in his corner, Islam Makhachev dominated Thiago Moises for a fourth-round submission in the lightweight main event of UFC Fight Night from the Apex facility in Las Vegas. Makhachev was never in danger throughout the fight, dominating both on the feet and on the ground to score yet another impressive victory.
Makhachev looked strong on the feet from the opening round, showcasing strong combination punching and mixing in big kicks to the body. To the Dagestani fighter, showcasing his wrestling seemed a priority before his coaches insisted he change his focus, despite the early success.
"I felt very comfortable when I strike with him, but these guys said, 'Take him down, take him down,'" Makhachev said of his corner after the fight. "I wanted to do my striking but I have to listen to my coaches."
Surprisingly, Moises managed to take Makhachev down in the second round. Showing considerable calmness and that his grappling skills translate to all areas of the sport, Makhachev easily reversed nearly immediately, taking Moises' back. Moises managed to survive as Makhachev easily moved to mount, landing big shots before trying to sink in an armbar as the round came to a close.
Having found no success on the feet and even less on the ground, Moises chose to continue trying to force the fight to the ground, with the apparent thinking that catching Makhachev in a submission would be his most realistic path to victory. That nearly paid off in the third round, with Moises teasing a heel hook after Makhachev reversed Moises' takedown attempt into one of his own.
By Round 4, Makhachev had completely taken over, this time initiating his own takedown. Makhachev eventually advanced to the back before sinking in a fight-ending rear-naked choke.
In addition to his improved striking, Makhachev showed that his cardio could hold up in a fight that went into the championship rounds.
"You know, this is my first fourth round in my life," Makhachev said. "I never fought more than three rounds so this is good experience for me. He's a tough opponent, I tried to finish him before four rounds, but he's very strong."
Makhachev has long felt he is the most avoided fighter in the division, struggling to get matched up against top contenders at 155 pounds despite a now eight-fight winning streak. The desire for a big fight was brought up once again after his big main event victory.
"I have one question, brother," Makhachev said. "Why do all these guys run? Nobody wants to take this fight. Give me an answer."