Khabib Nurmagomedov has suggested that Islam Makhachev can make a definitive statement by securing a stoppage win over Rafael dos Anjos on the ground. Makhachev, who is Nurmagomedov’s childhood friend and longtime teammate, is set to face dos Anjos.
Speaking to the Russian media at a recent media scrum, MMA legend Khabib Nurmagomedov was asked whether he felt anxious about Makhachev’s upcoming fight against dos Anjos. Nurmagomedov responded by stating:
“Yes, I do. Dos Anjos is a very experienced fighter. He has fought for five rounds a lot, against many opponents.”
Nurmagomedov then spoke about dos Anjos' recent five-round fight against Paul Felder and continued:
“Well, look, he (Rafael dos Anjos) has fought me. He’s fought Kamaru (Usman), (Colby) Covington, Felder, and many more. He fought (Eddie) Alvarez as well. He has great experience. In these types of fights, the experience factor is like a unique weapon. The way I see that fight playing out – because I’ve fought Dos Anjos – well, I want Islam to take him down early, to give him that wrestler’s pressure. After that, I think he’ll be in control. It’d be great if Islam finished him on the ground. It’d be perfect. I don’t remember anyone doing that to him. He has got dominated but not finished. Myself, Kamaru, and Covington dominated him on the ground. But if Islam becomes the first fighter to finish RDA on the ground, it’ll be a massive statement.”
The belief is that Khabib Nurmagomedov is alluding to Makhachev finishing dos Anjos via submission on the mat or perhaps even ground and pound rather than stopping him with strikes on the feet.
Dos Anjos has just one official submission loss on his MMA record, which was due to a jaw injury against Clay Guida in 2010. He also has only two KO/TKO losses in his career, which came against Jeremy Stephens and Eddie Alvarez.
Khabib Nurmagomedov’s friend Islam Makhachev faces Rafael dos Anjos at UFC 267
Makhachev will fight dos Anjos in a three-round lightweight bout at UFC 267 on October 30th, 2021. The winner of this matchup will move one step closer to a shot at the coveted UFC lightweight title.