Islam Makhachev underlined his lightweight title credentials in Abu Dhabi on Saturday night, with a brilliant first-round submission victory against Dan Hooker at UFC 267.
The Dagestan native, a huge fan favourite in the capital, extended his win streak to nine to move to 21-1 in professional mixed martial arts, dispatching Hooker via a nasty Kimura 2:25 minutes in at Etihad Arena. Hooker’s arm looked dangerously close to breaking.
Speaking inside the octagon immediately afterwards, Makhachev said: “Nine-fight win streak. I am ready for title shot. This division is a little bit sleep. I’ll take the belt and keep it for
With the triumph, and the conclusive manner of it, calls will increase once more for Makhachev to next fight for the lightweight crown. The current champion, Charles Oliveira, defends the belt against No 1-ranked challenger Dustin Poirier at UFC 269 in Las Vegas in December.
On Saturday, with former champion and now coach Khabib Nurmagomedov in his corner, Makhachev made the statement he said pre-event that he would.
'I’m coming to take this belt,” he said. “And keep this belt many years.”