Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Pimblett On Makhachev’s Record: “I’d Submit Hooker In The 1st Round”

UFC lightweight prospect Paddy Pimblett is not at all impressed with Islam Makhachev and his title credentials, claiming he’d also be able to submit Dan Hooker in the first-round.

Since falling to his only loss professional MMA at the hands of Adriano Martins in 2015, Makhachev has built a win streak impressive enough to ascend him into the top five at 155 pounds.

Victories over Arman Tsarukyan, Davi Ramos, and Drew Dober landed the Dagestani his first main event slot. At UFC Vegas 31, he made the most of it by submitting formerly-ranked contender Thiago Moisés. Having risen to #5 on the lightweight ladder, much to the bemusement of some, Makhachev had the chance to jump closer to the title three months later on Fight Island.

The Abu Dhabi fan favorite faced short-notice opponent Hooker at UFC 267 after a clash with long-time rival Rafael dos Anjos fell through for the third time. In the opening round, Makhachev showed his superiority on the ground by submitting “The Hangman” with a brutal kimura.

Having defeated a top-10 opponent and extended his active win streak to nine, many are beginning to sing the praises of Makhachev and brand him a future champion, suggesting he could perhaps even hold gold by the end of 2022. However, one rising 155lber doesn’t share the same sentiment.

During a recent appearance on Michael Bisping’s Believe You Me podcast, Paddy “The Baddy” Pimblett downplayed Makhachev’s form and résumé. After suggesting the #4-ranked lightweight hasn’t beaten anyone of note except Hooker, Pimblett claimed he’d be able to beat the New Zealander in a similar fashion.

“Makhachev hasn’t fought anyone lad,” Pimblett said. “He’s only fought Hooker. I think I’d submit Hooker in the first round. That’s what I mean, he’s a kickboxer lad. I’d take him down and submit him.”

Pimblett Can’t See Makhachev Beating Gaethje, Oliveira Or Dariush

Following his victory over Hooker, many expected Makhachev to perhaps be accelerated to the title next. Unfortunately for him, Justin Gaethje‘s winning performance in a Fight of the Year contender against Michael Chandler effectively prevented that from being a possibility.

With “The Highlight” set to challenge for Charles Oliveira‘s gold this year, Makhachev has had to settle for a title eliminator against #3-ranked contender Beneil Dariush.

But while many see Makhachev ending Dariush’s seven-fight win streak before dethroning the winner of Gaethje vs. Oliveira in late 2022, Pimblett doesn’t believe the Dagestani has what it takes to beat any of them.

“Whoever wins out of Oliveira/Gaethje (will enter 2023 with the title), because I can’t see Makhachev beating either of them… I think Dariush beats Makhachev. I rate Dariush mate, I think he’s very underrated. He’s fucking quality.”

We won’t have to wait long for the first of those three predictions to be tested. Makhachev and Dariush are set to headline a UFC Fight Night card on February 26.

Barring an inconclusive end to the next title fight or the intervention of a certain Conor McGregor, it stands to reason the victor will be joining the champion inside the Octagon at the end of this year.

Who do you think will have their hand raised on February 26, Islam Makhachev or Beneil Dariush?

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