Michael Bisping: Islam Makhachev 'a brand new, improved model' of Khabib Nurmagomedov

by Christina S. Brown
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Michael Bisping sees UFC light-weight champion Islam Makhachev as model 2.0 of Khabib Nurmagomedov.

Makhachev (25-1 MMA, 14-1 UFC) will look to tie Nurmagomedov’s file of three light-weight title defenses when he faces Dustin Poirier (30-8 MMA, 22-7 UFC) in Saturday’s UFC 302 (pay-per-view/ESPN2/ESPN+) essential occasion at Prudential Heart in Newark, N.J.

Nurmagomedov handed the torch on to his protege after retiring as undefeated light-weight champion in October 2020. Bisping thinks Makhachev is a extra effectively rounded fighter than Nurmagomedov.

“Khabib got here first, and he’ll at all times be remembered for that, for what he did to the game, how he represented Dagestan and applied that model,” Bisping informed TNT Sports activities. “It took over the game, let’s be sincere. However his time has gone. It has handed, however Islam is a brand new, improved model. Take a look at the top kick knockout of Alexander Volkanovski.

“He’s a lot, a lot smoother on the ft. His grappling’s simply nearly as good as Khabib’s, or it’s definitely up there. He’s actually molding into this champion. He feels it. He walks and talks with a sure bravado and an assurance that comes not from confidence or ego. It comes from figuring out what he’s able to.”

Makhachev revealed that Nurmagomedov will likely be in his nook for the primary time since UFC 280, the place he submitted Charles Oliveira to say the vacant light-weight title. Nurmagomedov beforehand said that he retired from cornering fighters, however seems to have modified his tune.

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