Sunday, November 28, 2021

Islam Makhachev vs. Drew Dober Targeted for UFC 259 in March

The UFC is targeting a high-level lightweight bout between streaking fighters Islam Makhachev and UFC vet Drew Dober for UFC 259 in March.

As initially reported by ESPN, a fight between Islam Makhachev and Drew Dober is in the works for UFC 259 on March 6. The ESPN report cited March 6 as an option while other sources with direct knowledge believe the March 6 date is specifically being targeted. The bout is not yet confirmed, but if finalized, it will feature two top-15 lightweights who will have the opportunity to extend their winning streaks.

Islam Makhachev is looking like one of the most difficult tasks for any fighter to take on, as evident by the current seven-fight winning streak he is riding. A true product of Dagestan, Makhachev’s elite grappling and air-tight defensive acumen has made him appear impenetrable ever since his only loss in 2015. Makhachev was originally scheduled to fight Rafael dos Anjos at UFC 254 alongside training partner and close friend Khabib Nurmagomov who headlined the event, but dos Anjos was pulled from the event after contracting the coronavirus. The bout was rebooked for weeks later, only to fall apart once again. With Rafael dos Anjos already recently competing in a victory over Paul Felder, Makhachev will now draw a new opponent in Drew Dober if all goes according to plan.

In the eyes of many, Drew Dober was destined to be a gatekeeper in the UFC for the entirety of his career. Indeed, the first few years of Dober’s UFC run did turn in mixed results. But since last year, Dober’s improvement has been quite visible, and the evidence can be found in three consecutive finishes, including over high lightweight prospects Nasrat Haqparast and Alexander Hernandez. With these wins, Dober is now ranked #15 in the lightweight division, two spots behind Islam Makhachev at #13. It is reasonable to think that the winner of this bout could potentially crack the top 10.

There is currently no headliner for UFC 259, but the card is growing slowly, with the current projected lineup consisting of the following bouts:

Thiago Santos vs. Aleksandar Rakic

Joseph Benavidez vs. Askar Askarov

Dominick Cruz vs. Casey Kenney

Islam Makhachev vs. Drew Dober

Randy Costa vs. Trevin Jones

Aalon Cruz vs. Uros Medic

If finalized, who do you see winning this bout between Islam Makhachev and Drew Dober?

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