BREAKING: Islam Makhachev Out of UFC Main Event Fight Against Rafael Dos Anjos

Published 11/08/2020, 11:49 PM EST


UFC lightweight Islam Makhachev has reportedly sustained an undisclosed injury and has been forced out of his main event match-up. The Russian fighter was set to headline UFC Vegas 14 against former champion Rafael dos Anjos on November 14, 2020. ESPN’s Brett Okamoto put forth the cancelation of the lightweight bout after confirmation from several sources.

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UFC is looking to secure a marquee name to fill in for Makhachev less than a week from the fight. The Fight Night event was heavily reliant on the headliner, and the UFC will now be scrambling to make a match-up that is suitable for the rankings. Furthermore, the remainder of the year doesn’t have many lightweight fights booked and Makhachev vs Dos Anjos was a highly anticipated bout.

Who steps in for Islam Makhachev?

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Chiefly, fight fans were excited to see Khabib Nurmagomedov’s protégé in Islam begin to make waves in the UFC. The Dagestani wrestler is on the verge of breaking into the top ranks and a win against ‘RDA’ would have ensured that. Dos Anjos is a clear-cut litmus test for fighters who have shown a possible championship level pedigree.

What’s more, Makhachev’s career ascent has constantly been halted due to injuries that lead to stints of inactivity. In a shark tank like lightweight, it is essential to keep a strong strength of schedule in order to make a big impact. Fighters like Justin Gaethje and Dustin Poirier have reached lofty peaks of success, much in part due to their activity rates.

Rafael dos Anjos took to Twitter and called out UFC newcomer Michael Chandler to fill in for Makhachev.

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Although stepping into the spotlight of a main event is a massive opportunity, Chandler recently underwent a full-weight cut. He came in as an alternate for UFC 254: Khabib vs Gaethje and went through a brutal cut to 155. Hence, it may not be a viable option to once again take on a short notice booking.

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Fellow top-ranked 155-pounders such as Charles Oliveira or Carlos Diego Ferreira are more suitable options. Neither fighter has fought lately, and it will be important to keep their names atop the fans’ minds.

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Darryl Pinto

1797 articles

Darryl Pinto is a senior MMA writer at EssentiallySports. He is currently pursuing his graduate degree in Mass Media (with a specialization in Journalism) out of Xavier’s College and has a year's experience in his current role. Darryl specializes in predictions, reporting, and covering UFC events live.

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