Islam Makhachev TKO’d Bobby Green to make a case for him to be the next UFC lightweight title contender at UFC Vegas 49.
The victory was Islam’s 10th in a row as well as his fourth consecutive stoppage taking his pro career to 22 wins in 23-fights. The Dagestani got the late sub, Green, to the mat and smothered him with pressure before striking his way to a TKO at 3:23 of the first round.
Makhachev consistently plodded forward against a quick-handed and fleet-footed Green, who’d fought and won on the main card at UFC 271 in Houston just two weeks ago.
Makhachev got Green against the cage, shot for a double-leg takedown, and then went to work.
He quickly got Green’s back and landed big shots until referee Herb Dean stepped in to stop it.
Green came in on 10 days’ notice after Makhachev’s original opponent, Beneil Dariush, broke his leg in training and was forced to withdraw. Makhachev-Dariush was billed as a potential lightweight title eliminator bout.
Makhachev will have to wait a little longer for his title opportunity but made sure to put the UFC on notice with another dominant win.
Charles Oliveira will defend the lightweight belt against Justin Gaethje at UFC 274 on May 9.
Islam Makhachev seems likely to be next for the winner of that bout.
Makhachev (21-1) has won 10 straight and 11 of his past 12 in the UFC.
A Dagestan native, he is a longtime training partner of former lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, who is now his coach. Makhachev, 30, was expected to take the torch from Nurmagomedov and become champ following Nurmagomedov’s retirement. That was the plan set forth by Nurmagomedov’s late father, Abdulmanap, the longtime coach of both men.
Green (29-12-1) had been on a roll coming into the fight, winning five of his past seven fights, and was on a two-fight win streak.
The Californian had beaten Nasrat Haqparast via unanimous decision at UFC 271 on Feb. 12.