The bout serves as the UFC’s second straight 155-pound headliner following this past Saturday’s UFC 264 event which was capped off by Dustin Poirier’s TKO win over Conor McGregor. Makhachev has been circled as a fighter who can now carry the torch from his protege and former champion Khabib Nurmagomedov as he enters the bout with seven straight wins, and victories in 19 of 20 as a pro. In his most recent outing, Makhachev submitted Drew Dober in the third round at UFC 259.
Moises, a former Contender Series contract winner, looks to make it four consecutive victories as he gets set for his first UFC main event. The Brazilian fighter has octagon wins over Kurt Holobaugh, Michael Johnson, Bobby Green and, most recently, Alexander Hernandez.
Round 1: Thiago Moises, the youngest fighter on the card at 26 years old, looks very motivated to pull off the massive upset according to the betting lines. Islam Makhachev makes the walk with Khabib Nurmagomedov in his corner. Herb Dean oversees his second consecutive main event in as many weeks and starts the action. They touch gloves and Moises throws a high kick to the arm of Makhachev. Moises circling around with his back near the fence but moves left to get a little separation. Makhachev lands a leg kick, followed by a teep to the body. Moises darts in with a combination that comes up a little short. Moises goes for a body lock and has Makhachev’s back against the fence, possibly to slow down the action. Makhachev separates and eats a body kick, returned by Makhachev. Left hand by the AKA standout and they engage in a clinch. Thai clinch from Makhachev, Moises puts his opponent against the fence. Makhachev reverses, grabs a body lock and hoists Moises up for a takedown. Moises gets back to full guard as Makhachev looking to land shots on top, and does so to the body. Final 10 seconds of the round and Moises lands an elbow from his back before the horn sounds.
MMAFighting scores it 10-9 Makhachev
Round 2: A very measured opening stanza from both fighters with Makhachev getting some late momentum. Javier Mendez tells Makhachev to stick with his bread and butter in the second. Quick body kick from Moises starts it off as blood trickles down the left side of his face. Moises lands a right hand and a leg kick. Makhachev moving forward and lands a combination, Moises with a body kick. Makhachev pushes Moises against the fence, reversal of position from the American Top Team 155er and the clinch battle resumes. Short knees from Makhachev and Moises lands a takedown and takes the back. Makhachev shakes him off and takes the back of Moises now. Both men very calm in this spot as Makhachev lands some knees to the back of Moises. Makhachev working to put a hook in but Moises is defending. Right hand from Makhachev lands as Moises is content defending the position. Final minute of the round and Makhachev remains in a dominant place, now getting a hook in and rolls Moises over. Left hands from Makhachev as he is looking to find some space, body triangle locked in. Full mount from Makhachev and goes for an armbar, but the horn potentially saves Moises. Dominance from Makhachev.
MMAFighting scores it 10-9 Makhachev. 20-18 overall
Round 3: Moises has tremendous heart and grit, but the size discrepancy is quite visible. Makhachev lands a jab, Moises darts in for a combination, then lands a body kick. High kick comes up short from Moises, Makhachev answers with a sharp check hook. The 19-1 fighter keeps pushing forward and lands a left hand before a clinch battle begins on the fence. Moises looks for the takedown and Makhachev is able to stay up. Another attempt from Moises leads to the same fate as the battle continues against the cage wall. Makhachev goes for a foot sweep but Moises defends and they trade knees to the body. Moises changes levels, Makhachev pushes down on the head and reverses position. Good knees up top and to the back of the legs from Makhachev before taking Moises down and taking the back. Final minute of the round, Moises scrambles and goes for a leg lock. Makhachev drops hammer fists to the face of Moises and it appears Makhachev is out of danger. The horn sounds and it’s on to the championship rounds.
MMAFighting scores it 10-9 Makhachev. 30-27 overall
Round 4: Moises needs to get something going here in this fourth round as he’s likely getting shut out through 15 minutes. Makhachev immediately shoots a double, lifts Moises in the sir and looks for a slam. Moises is able to soften the blow and throws up a triangle. Makhachev defends and is in the full guard of Moises with just under four minutes to work with. Short punches and hammer fists, along with a hard elbow scores for Makhachev, who then transitions to the back. Left hands from Makhachev find the mark. Makhachev looks to have a rear naked choke locked up, and he does. Moises taps quickly and it’s over. Eight wins in a row for Islam Makhachev who continues to prove he’s the real deal at 155 pounds.
OFFICIAL RESULT: Islam Makhachev def. Thiago Moises via submission (rear naked choke) - Round 4, 2:38