Following high praise from his teammate and close friend Khabib Nurmagomedov leading into Saturday night, Makhachev put on a suffocating showcase against Drew Dober before putting him away with an arm triangle choke with the end coming at 1:37 in the third round.
After announcing his retirement last year, Nurmagomedov has seemingly passed the torch to Makhachev and it appears he’s ready to make a play for the throne after notching his seventh consecutive win overall.
“I know deserve, years ago, somebody from the top five,” Makhachev said after securing the win. “Now I cannot be quiet. I need some top guy. I know Tony Ferguson’s free. I will be ready for anyone. Please. Give me somebody.”
It took only a minute into the fight for Makhachev to snatch a leg and bring Dober crashing down to the canvas. A suffocating grappler, Makhachev was quick to begin putting pressure down on Dober while looking to advance his position.
Makhachev was able to move into the mount and eventually side control before looking for an armbar that was in deep but Dober was able to scramble until finally breaking free of the submission.
Despite Dober’s best efforts to stay standing after the restart in the second round, he just couldn’t keep Makhachev away from him as the Russian swooped inside and this time used a trip to put them back on the ground. While it wasn’t the most punishing attack, Makhachev was just crushing Dober from the top and giving him very little hope that he could even fathom an escape.
Finally, Makhachev saw an opening to dig his shoulder into Dober’s neck while securing the arm-triangle choke and the tap came just a second later to end the fight.
While he came into the night as the No. 14 ranked lightweight, it’s safe to assume Makhachev will earn the attention of just about every fighter ahead of him with the kind of showing he had at UFC 259.