‘Islam Is Definitely Not Like Khabib’- Thiago Moises Shuts Down the Khabib Nurmagomedov- Islam Makhachev Comparisons

Published 07/17/2021, 12:25 AM EDT
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – FEBRUARY 27: (L-R) Thiago Moises of Brazil punches Alexander Hernandez in a lightweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on February 27, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)


UFC lightweight rising star Islam Makhachev will face Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu master Thiago Moises in the headliner of UFC Vegas 31. The Brazilian, who will look to continue his winning momentum, faces an uphill task in the form of Makhachev.

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Both the fighters are scheduled for a five-round clash. While it’s not a new concept for Moises to handle, as he has competed in 5 round affairs before, the same can’t be said about Makhachev.

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Prior to his clash against the Dagestani juggernaut, the Brazilian appeared for an interview. He gave some insights on his preparation and what he expects from his opponent. He also detailed why his long match experience will come in handy against Makhachev.

“I did a couple more rounds in sparring, a couple of little things in the strength and conditioning department,” Moises told reporters. “I had done five rounds three times before… and I think this is going to be an advantage for me, to be honest with you because… Islam, he never do that before.”

Even though Moises is claiming advantage of experience, only a few will bet on him to beat Makhachev. The latter is a good friend and teammate of former UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov and their fighting styles and approach have always been compared.

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Although Moises praised Makhachev, he doesn’t think they are similar. “I think Khabib has a higher pace than him,” Moises said. “Khabib doesn’t stop. More pressure. I think Islam is a little bit more technical on the feet. For me, Khabib is the best lightweight of all time. Nobody’s like Khabib, and Islam is definitely not like Khabib. That’s the biggest difference between them, is, I think, the pace,” he added.

What does Thiago Moises want next if he beats Islam Makhachev?

Moises (15-4) is on a three-fight winning streak. Just like Makhachev, he is also eyeing a fight with one of the top-ranked opponents.

If Moises overcomes Makhachev, he will have four straight wins against some of the strongest competitors. Hence, the July 17 bout could be a breakthrough fight for him to gain further recognition.

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – OCTOBER 31: (L-R) Thiago Moises of Brazil punches Bobby Green in a lightweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on October 31, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

“I think with a win over Islam I deserve a top 5 opponent,” Moises added. “I’m going to be right in the mix for a title match.”

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Although Moises looks confident, he knows Makhachev is a different game altogether. He will come up against a fighter who is well versed in grappling, just like him.

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Who do you think will have the last laugh?

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Akshyay Srichandan Mahapatra

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Akshyay Mahapatra is a UFC author for EssentiallySports. He wished to combine his passion for the UFC (that he has been following since 2008) as well as his love for writing. This motivated him to enter the world of combat sports journalism.

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