Islam Makhachev Shines in his UFC Debut
Welcome the next Dagestani prospect to the UFC’s octagon.
Islam Makhachev (12-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC), a Sambo champion and pupil of top lightweight contender Khabib Nurmagomedov, ran roughshod over fellow newcomer Leo Kuntz (17-2-1 MMA, 0-1 UFC), securing a submission in the second round.
The lightweight bout was part of the preliminary card of today’s UFC 187 event at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. It streamed on UFC Fight Pass ahead of additional prelims on FOX Sports 1 and a main card on pay-per-view.
Makhachev, who trains at American Kickboxing Academy alongside Nurmagomedov, coaxed a tap at the 2:38 mark of the second frame via rear-naked choke.
A clash in the middle of the cage sent Kuntz to the mat, and Makhachev took the back, the second time he advanced to the position after an impressive hip toss in the first round. Kuntz appeared out of step and tentative in his debut, allowing his Dagestani opponent to assert himself in the clinch with punches.
“I was preparing most of the time for this fight in Dagestan, in my hometown,” Makhachev said. “Then one month ago, I left to train at American Kickboxing Academy in San Jose (Calif.) I know I had a lot of people rooting for me and cheering me on, so I could not disappoint them. I feel that I was at the top of my game and tonight I did my best.
“Obviously having Khabib Nurmagomedov in my corner and in my camp makes me have a lot of confidence in my training. He’s the best lightweight in the world, and after training with him every day I know that there’s no other lightweight out there who can beat me.”
Makhachev remains undefeated with 12 professional wins, while Kuntz suffers his first pro loss since 2009.
Source: MMA Junkie