Following one of the most dominant performances in his UFC career to date this past weekend, Islam Makhachev now finds himself a heavy favourite (according to online sportsbook, Betonline.ag) against the elites of the UFC’s lightweight division.
The hottest commodity out of Dagestan since his friend and coach, Khabib Nurmagomedov, retired, Makhachev can (at the time of writing) be found at -415 odds against the would-be defending champ Charles Oliviera, who himself is a +345 underdog on the sportsbook’s provisional lines.
Against the rightful (according to the UFC rankings) number one contender at lightweight, Justin Gaethje, the former combat sambo champion is sitting on an even larger margin to win the prospective match-up, at -600. The fan-favourite, Gaethje, finds himself a bigger underdog than in his previous bout against Nurmagomedov, at +450 to emerge victorious in a hypothetical bout.
These lines were released in the wake of Makhachev’s emphatic TKO win against Bobby Green on Saturday, February 26th. The authoritative first-round finish of the MMA veteran has fueled speculation over Makhachev’s next match-up, with that win pushing him deeper into the title conversation.
While a title shot seems inevitable to some, many of Makhachev’s critics note that a win over the unranked Green, a short-notice replacement for the number three ranked Beneil Dariush, shouldn’t warrant a title shot.
Regardless of the fanfare and excitement in the days following his most recent stellar win, it certainly seems it’s only a matter of time before the UFC brass give Makhachev his shot at the lightweight strap.