Islam Makhachev takes on Bobby Green this Saturday in the main event of UFC Vegas 49, but it wasn’t always supposed to be that way.
Originally, Makhachev was set to face Beneil Dariush in an unofficial No. 1 contender’s bout; however, Dariush was injured last week and so Green stepped in. And while the unranked Green wouldn’t have been Makhachev’s first choice of last-minute opponent, the No. 4-ranked lightweight in the MMA Fighting Global Rankings said he didn’t hesitate to accept the change.
“Honestly, when Beneil was injured, I told Ali [Abdelaziz, Makhachev’s manager] and he said the next day that nobody gave an answer, and I thought it wasn’t going to happen. Ali replied, “Just Bobby Green answer. He said he was ready.” Makhachev spoke to reporters during his pre-fight media access. “It doesn’t matter who because the last three months [were] so hard for me. Training so hard, I was ready for Beneil.
This “someone” turned out to be one of the most well-known veterans in the lightweight division. He is a fan favourite who competes in the UFC from 2013, Green. His fighting skills are as well-known as his antics in the cage.
Brimming with confidence, Green frequently can be heard talking to his opponents mid-fight, as he did just two weeks ago when he dominated Nasrat Haqparast at UFC 271. Makhachev claims he will talk this weekend.
“This guy has big heart because he took this fight [with] one-week [notice],” Makhachev said. He has a good style of boxing and we’ll check out his wrestling and grappling skills.
” We’re going to talk in the cage. He will be brought down by me and I’ll tell him to get up. Get up.’ I’m gonna talk. When we are beginning or striking, he will talk to me. But when I take him down I’ll ask him some questions.”
Makhachev, as expected, is a prohibitive favorite going into the bout. Should he win the fight, Dagestani’s fighter would be on an 10-fight winning streak in the lightweight division. And even though he’s no longer facing a top-ranked fighter like Dariush, Makhachev still believes that a win over a well-respected veteran like Green will be enough to finally earn him his title shot against the winner of the upcoming bout between Charles Oliveira and Justin Gaethje at UFC 274.
“Of course, because it’s gonna be my 10-fight win streak,” Makhachev said. “I really believe this is key for title fight. Oliveira will beat Justin Gaethje.
UFC Vegas 49 is held at UFC Apex Las Vegas.