Makhachev / Tsarukyan
Makhachev is one of my favorite fighter honestly, I was waiting a long time for his return since his win against Johnson in July. He is on a solid win streak, and has only one loss which came against Martins in UFC years ago, it was by one munch knock out, Makhachev striking at that time was not very good let's be honest, he was rushing too Martins without setting his punchs. I dont know how to explain it in english but like you cant go forward to your opponent without throwing a jab or something you cant just go after him throwing long right hand and hooks, you going to get a counter.
But after this loss and his first and only loss, he just fight better and better honestly with his two recents win he was very impressive to me with knocking out Tibau in first round and submitting Johnson in the first too with an armbar after dominating the round. He improved almost everywhere in his wrestling, jiu jitsu and most importantly his striking.
He improved a lot and here he will have in his corner coach Javier from AKA (his coach in USA) and will have his coach in Russia which is Khabib's father. An important fact to know is that Khabib's father couldn't come to his fight for years because he can't have a visa to come to the US so here he can finally be here in his corner because it's in Russia and I am sure it will boost Makhachev's confidence. Khabib can't be in his corner because of his 9 months suspension, but he will be in the arena supporting his long time friend and training partner.
But now he is facing a new comer in the UFC, he will make his UFC debut, he is 13-1 and he is 22 so he is in the beginning of his MMA career. 22 for UFC is very young, he might be one of the youngest UFC fighter active along with female fighter Barber maybe. Despite his age he has solid experience, 14 pro MMA fights and has some solid wins against former UFC fighter like Olivieri and Assunçao, they might not be the best UFC fighters but they still have some solid experience.
Honestly when I heard Makhachev opponent for the first time I was disapointed because it was some talk about Kevin Lee, or I was expecting someone from the top 15 at least but they give him someone that I only know from the name honestly. To be honest I've seen his face before once, but that was it I never really watched his fight because he fought in less known organisation even though I try to watch every major MMA organisation or less known like KSW, Cage Warrior, Bellator of course, Brave CF, Road FC etc.
But after the fight was announced I watched Tsarukyan's fight and honestly I was impressed. He is very good for me. Solid kicks, solid stand up overall, very good wreslting, very good strength honestly I understand why they give him Makhachev as an opponent. He is pretty good everywhere, even though he is armenian by blood he grew up in Russia so he has that Russian wrestling style in his fights.
I think Tsarukyan will do pretty good in UFC, he is young, can improve a lot, has already a lot of experience because let's be honest fighters at 22 they are either just turning pro or they have 3-4 pro fights at best for the most part. But I think honestly if he keeps working he can stay in the UFC on in the high level because for me has the level and potential for.
And that's why I took Makhachev by decision and not before the limit, because I believe Tsarukyan is pretty good overall, good kicks and stand up, solid wrestling and very good body strength wich can cause Makhachev some problems at least in the beginning. Makhachev him self is not really a fast finisher, even though he is coming from 2 first round finish I think in my opinion it will last longer, it's a 3 round fight, but it's Tsarukyan first UFC fight and he takes on Makhachev, Khabib's closest friend and he might even be a futur UFC champion in the near futur (I think Makhachev is at least a top5 level), so a lot of attention is coming for this fight, a lot of people will want to see Makhachev return since July so he might not perform like he used too and be a little scare in there and get finished so it's a risky bet let's be honest but I still think Tsarukyan will put a good fight and go the full 3 rounds so let's see