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What Happens With Islam Makhachev After Moicano vs. RDA Matchup?

By Timothy James  |  March 5, 2022  |  1,964 Comments

Mahachev claimed to want to take the RDA fight on short notice, but Dana White says his team turned down the fight.

Originally, Rafaelz Fiziev was supposed to take on Rafael dos Anjos in a Fight Night headliner. It was the battle of “Rafaels,” with the prospect Fiziev looking to break into the top ranks of the division and the grizzled vet dos Anjos looking to prove he’s still in the mix for 155 gold.

Visa issues made it difficult for Fiziev to enter the country, and so the fight got pushed back to UFC 272. This time, a positive COVID test forced Fiziev to pull out of the fight only days before the scheduled bout. When news broke of the pullout, Islam Makhachev threw his name into the mix for replacement immediately on Twitter.

However, Dana White later claimed that Makhachev’s team turned down the fight after it was announced that Renato Moicano would be stepping in for a catchweight fight at 160 lbs. White added that the UFC was now looking to reschedule the fight with Beneil Dariush.

What makes this even more confusing is the fact that Islam threw his name into the mix when Fiziev pulled out, only to have his team decline the fight. Did he accidentally hurt his title shot, or simply believed he was next in line no matter what?

Unsurprisingly, Makhachev blames Dana White and the UFC for the fight falling through.

After making quick work of Bobby Green, Islam made it clear he wanted a title shot. 10 wins in the UFC’s deepest division is no easy feat, even if he had only ever beaten 1 ranked opponent in Dan Hooker.

For what it’s worth, Rafael dos Anjos said he saw this all coming.

Adding to the complication is the fact that White also recently hinted at a possibility of Conor McGregor returning to a title shot against Charles Oliveira. This comes after a McGregor interview at Bellator Dublin in which the Irish superstar suggested Oliveira would be wise to wait until July to fight.

While it’s expected that Oliveira will be fighting Justin Gaethje at UFC 274, the fight has yet to be officially announced. With Dariush still needing a few weeks to heal, it now seems as if Makhachev won’t fight again until the fall. By then, the entire championship picture could be completely different.

There’s no shortage of irony in the fact that White seems willing to give Conor an immediate title shot, coming off 2 losses to Dustin Poirier (who just lost to the champ) while making Makhachev fight Dariush to get that shot coming off 10 consecutive wins at lightweight.

There’s also the fan effect, with many people ready to give Makhachev all the props in the world for taking a tough fight on short notice, only to be completely disappointed when it was announced it wasn’t happening. Deserved or not, people will hold this against him.

Now RDA poises himself to reestablish himself as a title contender at lightweight, while Moicano looks to catapult himself into the higher rungs as well.

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