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HomeSportsEven Habib's father cried. Makhachev's first defeat was terrible.

Even Habib’s father cried. Makhachev’s first defeat was terrible.

Date: July 18, 2024 Time: 03:59:04

On the night of June 2 at UFC 302, Russian champion Islam Makhachev will attempt to make his third title defense. The opponent will be Dustin Poirier, who has already lost twice in fights for the full belt.

Now Islam is at the top and is the best fighter in the UFC. At least according to the pound-for-pound rating. And Makhachev’s dominance is difficult to challenge. However, almost nine years ago, the Russian fighter found himself in an extremely difficult situation, having suffered the first and so far last defeat of his professional career.

Makhachev was supposed to have his second fight in the UFC with the 33-year-old Brazilian Adriano Martins, who a little earlier acted as Rustam Khabilov’s “executioner.” However, Islam had the greatest possible confidence in himself and planned to take the Brazilian with pressure and aggression. The Russian did not pay enough attention to Martins’ counterattacks and from the first seconds he began to launch attacks in an attempt to catch his opponent with an overhand. Once Makhachev managed to get into such a situation, but Adrian had already sensed the moment and punished Islam in the next exchange.

Islam Makhachev

Photo: Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Makhachev again launched a big attack, but Martins missed him and immediately shot with his right foot into the nose area. The blow was very accurate and Islam ended up on the canvas; The referee allowed the Brazilian to deliver only one final blow and immediately stopped the fight. Despite the controversy over the early stop, the decision was made correctly. Makhachev clearly lost his orientation in space and remained on trembling legs. He looked creepy. And it only took a couple of minutes.

Martins explained how he infected Islam and assured that his opponent would not have returned after such a shock: “We already knew before the fight that he was constantly advancing. My boxing coach told me, “Dude, you have to constantly move and when you feel his timing, meet him with a cover punch, through the arm.” And when the fight started, I immediately started moving, moving, moving. I saw that he wanted to enter my building and move. After a while, I clearly saw all his movements, when he started, what he wanted. The coach yelled from the corner, “It’s time to catch him when he slams forward!” For some time I could not clearly capture the moment of his advance, but in the end I did. The blow was not very strong, but it hit such a part of the face, under the nose, on the jaw, that under no circumstances was it impossible not to fall. I managed to hit him on the ground again and the referee intervened. Then they said, “The referee helped you, it was an early stop,” but under no circumstances would he have returned to the fight after such a blow.”

Islam later complained that he had taken the threat too lightly: “I wouldn’t say I lost to a strong fighter in the UFC. After me, sometimes I go to look at his statistics, he still hasn’t won a single fight. And then you understand that anyone can be hit and the fight can end. Strong or weak, anyone can be hit. In this fight, I thought I would run up to him, fight and hit him. I was in very good shape, no one pushed me for 15 minutes, I didn’t get tired of anyone in 15 minutes. I watched his fights, he fought Rustam Khabilov, one start, and that’s it, run for two minutes and rest. I thought I would just force it somehow. And it happened that I missed the shot. After that I realized that there is no need to rush, we must fight carefully.”

Martins didn’t really win any fights after that. But this did not make it easier for Makhachev himself. Also suffering was Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov, who repeatedly admitted his guilt: he allowed Javier Méndez and Islam himself to impose his plan on him. Abdulmanap wanted Makhachev to fight and Mendez assured that the Russian fighter was ready for a stand-up fight.

Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov and Islam Makhachev

Photo: from the personal archive of Islam Makhachev.

“My only tears in sport in recent years were the fight between Islam Makhachev and Martins in the United States. I agreed with Javier Méndez and let Islam trade blows. Although it was possible to resolve the problem in a fight. Makhachev fell and missed a terrible blow. The only loss of his career. First fall. This was my unfortunate mistake as a coach! Why did I agree?! Why did you change your principles? When they discussed the fight plan, both Islam himself and Javier Méndez persuaded me: “He is ready, he will win…” The last word was mine. Even today I have a lump in my throat, as I remember,” Nurmagomedov Sr. later recalled.

Makhachev managed to reverse the defeat in his favor. He had a streak of 13 victories, now he acts much more carefully and practically does not allow himself to make mistakes. Rivals point out that Islam has very few loopholes that can be exploited, and it is important that the Russian champion has not developed a fear of blows. He can work both standing and on the ground, and finishes his opponents in a variety of ways.

UFC 302 main events with the fight against Makhachev:

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UFC 302: Makhachev defends his championship belt. Will Islam send Diamond into retirement? LIVE

A fighter without weaknesses and a deserved number one in P4P. On the night of June 2, Makhachev will once again try to show the world that it is not in vain that he considers himself the best in the world.

* This website provides news content gathered from various internet sources. It is crucial to understand that we are not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, or reliability of the information presented Read More

Puck Henry
Puck Henry
Puck Henry is an editor for ePrimefeed covering all types of news.
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