Islam Makhachev has been confirmed for UFC 267 in October in Abu Dhabi, where he will take on former lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos.
The Dagestan athlete, considered one of the brightest prospects in the UFC, was announced officially on Monday for the October 30 event at Etihad Arena, although it had been mooted for some time.
A heavyweight encounter between Alexander Volkov and Marcin Tybura has also been confirmed. The UFC 267 card already includes two championship bouts and the eagerly anticipated return of Khamzat Chimaev.
Makhachev and Dos Anjos were scheduled to meet last October, but the latter tested positive for Covid-19. The fight was booked once more for November, only for Makhachev to withdraw because of illness.
A close friend and teammate of former lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, Makhachev rides an eight-fight win streak and boasts an overall professional mixed martial arts record of 20-1.
The highly touted Russian, 29, fought last month when he defeated Thiago Moises in Las Vegas. Nurmagomedov, now retired, was in his corner. Makhachev has competed in Abu Dhabi before, sealing a unanimous-decision victory against Davi Ramos at UFC 242 in September 2019.
Dos Anjos, meanwhile, marked his return to lightweight last November by triumphing against Paul Felder via a split decision in their five-round main event, also in Las Vegas. The Brazilian, 36, had not competed in the division since 2016 after suffering back-to-back defeats to Eddie Alvarez and Tony Ferguson.
Dos Anjos held the lightweight belt in 2015 following his dominant victory against Anthony Pettis and went on to successfully defend his crown once – he defeated Donald Cerrone by first-round TKO – before losing it to Alvarez. He is ranked currently as the lightweight division’s No 7 contender, with a record of 30-13. Makhachev sits fifth.
The addition of Makhachev-Dos Anjos enhances an already stacked card for UFC 267. A light-heavyweight championship bout between belt-holder Jan Blachowicz and No 1-contender Glover Teixeira tops the bill, while bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling defends his title against Petr Yan in a rematch of their March encounter.
Elsewhere, Chimaev returns following a protracted battle with Covid-19 to go up against China’s Li Jingliang, while popular Brazilian Amanda Ribas meets compatriot Virna Jandiroba.
UFC 267 concludes the second Abu Dhabi Showdown Week. Ticket news is expected to come in the next few days.