Currently the fifth-ranked fighter on the UFC lightweight challenger list, Makhachev will compete with former UFC lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos at the end of October, on October 30. Makhachev's fight against the current seven-ranked RDA will be the biggest in his career to date, and Khabib’s legitimate successor will have a real test of his abilities in the experienced Rafael dos Anjos.
Retired Khabib Nurmagomedov is a great friend and one of the coaches in the corner of Islam Makhachev. The undefeated Nurmagomedov fought back in 2014 against the RDA and is well aware of his capabilities. In an interview with RT Sport, Khabib revealed that he believes that Islam is waiting for a difficult match and that he is a bit worried about it.
'' Dos Anjos is very experienced. He has been in fights for five rounds very many times. He fought good fighters. Look, he fought against me, against Kamaru Usman, Covington, Felder, Eddie Alvarez, and many other fighters."
"He has a handful of experiences. In such great fights, experience comes to you as an additional trump card up your sleeve, '' Nurmagomedov praised the Brazilian, and then described what kind of victory Makhachev should achieve.
'' This is how I see the fight given that I also fought dos Anjos. I would like Islam to knock him down in the first round and use his grappling pressure on him."
"Then he will be ready. It would be great for Islam to finish him on the ground floor because I don’t remember anyone finishing Dos Anjos on the ground floor."
"Yes, he was dominated, but not finished. Covington, Kamaru, and I all dominated him on the ground floor, but we couldn’t finish it. If Islam finishes him and becomes the first fighter to do so against it, it would leave a strong impression, "Nurmagomedov added.
Rafael dos Anjos has lost 13 times in his professional MMA career. Although Khabib claims that no one has ever finished a Brazilian by submitting, this is not really true. Clay Guida back in 2010 forced Dos Anjos to tap. However, this is a somewhat specific situation.
Namely, Guida broke the jaw of the Brazilian with a blow in the first round, and then he knocked him down in the third round and pressed his shoulder against the jaw of dos Anjos. The Brazilian tapped due to great pain, and although it was not a classic submission, the RDA was forced to tap and it was officially his only defeat by submission in 43 professional MMA appearances. We’ll see if Islam Makhachev can get the former champion to tap.