A potential No. 1 contender fight in the lightweight division has been agreed upon for an upcoming UFC Fight Night in February.
Beneil Dariush and Islam Makhachev are expected to meet in the headliner set for five rounds, per Brett Okamoto of ESPN. A location and venue for the event scheduled for Feb. 26 have not been determined yet. Ali Abdelaziz — manager of Dariush and Makhachev — has confirmed the fight and told Okamoto that the winner would indeed challenge for the lightweight championship in the near future.
Dariush will enter the fight on a seven-fight win streak that includes finishes over Drew Dober, Frank Camacho, Drakkar Klose and Scott Holtzman. The No. 3 ranked lightweight contender followed those performances up with a ‘Fight of the Night’ showing against Carlos Diego Ferreira in a rematch at UFC Fight Night: Overeem vs. Volkov this past February. He earned a split decision over Ferreira.
Dariush made his second Octagon appearance three months later at UFC 262 and was given a step up in competition when paired with former Ultimate Fighter winner and interim UFC lightweight champion Tony Ferguson. Dariush dominated Ferguson on the ground en route to a unanimous decision and called for a title eliminator for his next fight, which he just received opposite of Makhachev.
Makhachev has been a dominant force throughout his UFC tenure. He rebounded from his only professional loss thus far — a first-round knockout against Adriano Martins at UFC 192 over six years ago — and went on a tear. Makhachev now has a nine-fight win streak and has bested the likes of Nik Lentz, Arman Tsarukyan and Thiago Moisés.
Makhachev sent a message to the rest of the division in his most recent outing at UFC 267, where he submitted Dan Hooker with a kimura in the very first round. The streaking contender has drawn comparisons to former UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov due to his similar fight style.
With the addition of Dariush vs. Makhachev, here is what the lineup currently looks like:
- Beneil Dariush vs. Islam Makhachev
- Ignacio Bahamondes vs. Zhu Rong
- Hannah Goldy vs. Jinh Yu Frey
Stay tuned to Bloody Elbow for updates to the event as they become available.
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