Prediction for the fight Islam Makhachev vs Benil Dariush

Russian lightweight Islam Makhachev, who came to the UFC 7 years ago, was immediately considered as the future TOP and "heir" of Khabib Nurmagomedov. But, before getting close to the Candidates fight, he had to go through a whole maze of rivals, and the moment came when he needed to take the penultimate step on the way to the top.

As rivals, he got the 3rd number of the rating, Benil Dariush, who also passed a thorny road, and no less than his counterpart dreams of the coveted gold. They are honored to headline UFC Fight Night 202, and on February 27, the two will face off in the octagon of the best promotion in the world to determine who will next take on the winner of the Charles Oliveira-Justin Gaethje pairing.

Islam Makhachev vs Benil Dariush

Islam Makhachev

The fighter from Makhachkala is ranked 4th in the UFC lightweight rankings. Despite the minimum number of defeats in his career, in mixed martial arts, in Russia and the United States, he failed to become a champion in any organization. But Islam proved himself in combat sambo, becoming the champion of the country and the world in this discipline in just a year.

To match his eminent friend and coach, Makhachev quickly became one of the elite fighters in his weight class, dismantling on the ground all the masters of BJJ and grappling that he came across on the way. Remarkably, in the last bouts, he increasingly shows dominant performances, where opponents finish.


There is grappling, there is jiu-jitsu, and there is Dagestani wrestling, which, as practice shows, has become a universal tool for working in the UFC octagon. Of course, Islam skillfully spices it up with submissions, and perfectly mixes it with the stand, but the fact that he is one of the best in the division on earth cannot be canceled.

Despite the criticism regarding the unwillingness of the guys from Khabib's team to fight on the stand, it is worth noting that Makhachev's clean boxing is very good, and most importantly, his hands are accurate and his defense allows him to avoid damage in most cases.

We have never seen Islam in the 5th round, but even the longest fights of this guy took place at a crazy pace on his part. Endless pressure, ground-and-pound and cold calculation introduce the opposition of the Dagestani into a helpless state.


Makhachev has one drawback, which so far does not allow him to bring his skills to the absolute. During the attacks, being one step away from the finish line, he periodically begins to hesitate, and does his job with less efficiency than he should. The same kimura to Dan Hooker, without prompts from the corner, might not have passed in the end, although technically this athlete knows all the subtleties, but sometimes he “thinks”. At a high level, such mistakes are already unforgivable.

The current form and readiness of the fighter

Makhachev is 30 years old, his winning streak reaches 9 victories in a row, and the last time we saw him in the octagon was on October 31 last year. The Victorias over the aforementioned Hooker, Thiago Moises and Drew Dober showed that Islam is at its peak and will be showing phenomenal form in the coming years, so it's time to challenge for the title. As before, we expect an ideal performance from our athlete, with complete dominance over the opponent.

Islam Makhachev vs Benil Dariush

Benil Dariush

The Iranian-American excelled in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Moving from blue belt to brown belt, he managed to take first place in the world championship three times, and then confirm his qualification for black belt. Also, he had experience in Muay Thai, but he did not win trophies of this level there.

In mixed martial arts, Benil became the RITC champion, and once in the UFC, he appeared in the ratings all the time, but only now he got to the top. He has scalps of Jim Miller, Rashid Magomedov, Thiago Moises, Tony Ferguson and others. Recently, Dariusz has established himself not only as a wrestler, but also as a puncher, giving several bright finishes.


Considering the level of opposition Benil has beaten, it's safe to say that he's a level one point above most lightweights, allowing him to dominate them on the ground floor. And here the story is no longer about tricks, but about control and retention, with a black belt in BJJ.

Despite the calm outside, inside Dariush there is a craving for experimentation and risk. He, when the situation allows, can easily go for broke and cut down with the enemy, passing in response, but still bombarding him with blows, moving only forward.

In more than 80% of cases, the American managed to avoid unfavorable ground positions, thanks to good defense against takedowns. Obviously, so far he has not encountered those who effectively perform passes to the legs, but this does not detract from the dry statistics in his asset.


On the way to the Candidates fight, Dariusz did not have to meet with someone from the TOP-5. At one time, he dealt with Edson Barboza, who was then at his peak, and that evening the Brazilian gave a hard knockout, reading the movements of his counterpart. After, Benil looked confident, but he never met anyone like him. It is possible that this is why his statistics in recent years are so flawless.

When you fight at a high level, standing defense is key, because the less damage you take, the longer you can stay at your peak, and your body will thank you. However, Dariush apparently missed this lesson, because even at the moments when he misses in the face, he does not always manage to keep his hands at the jaw.

The current form and readiness of the fighter

Benil is 32 years old, he has not competed since May 2021, but a series of 7 victories in a row suggests that the athlete is now in the best shape of his entire career. He managed to neutralize Tony Ferguson without any problems, knock out Scott Holtzman, and with difficulty pass Diego Ferreira. And here the fact is on the face - his manager very competently led his ward to the title, not allowing meetings with really dangerous opposition. So, in the upcoming fight, we will see the real level of Dariush.

Comparative analysis

The dimensions and anthropometry of the participants in the main event are very similar, with identical height, Benil has a slight advantage in arm span, almost 4 cm. Otherwise, the same Dan Hooker was a great danger for Makhachev, given the difference in their sizes. Some are jumping to conclusions that Dariush will be the first serious wrestler the Russian meets. But one should not confuse BJJ and the wrestling skills of an American with the Dagestani wrestling and grappling of Islam. Their levels on the ground are completely different and those who understand the technical intricacies of fighting on the ground clearly understand that Makhachev is better in control, ground and pound, getting into positions for holding tricks and much more. The school that he went through in his homeland is an order of magnitude more effective than anything that Western clubs can offer.

But in the stand, Benil's arsenal will definitely be wider and more dangerous. While Makhachev uses boxing more, Dariush combines kicks, knees, elbows, and a clean “collective farm” is good for him. It makes no sense to kill him on hand, especially given the insanity of this guy, although at a distance the more accurate Islam, with its excellent defense, will be able to accurately shoot the counterpart, with minimal damage to itself. But there should not be an urgent need for this, because the main action will take place on the ground, and there the gap in levels will do its job.

Islam Makhachev vs Benil Dariush Fight Prediction

Islam is confidently moving towards the title, and at this stage of his career, only fighters who are higher in the ratings are a real danger to him. As for Dariush, he will have to demonstrate impeccable takedown defense and sharp work in the clinch to force Makhachev to stay on his feet. This probably won't happen, so it doesn't make much sense to consider alternative betting options. It will not be an easy victory for the Russian, but the further the meeting goes, the more dominant the performance of our athlete will seem. And it may well be that in the championship rounds we will see Dariush so tired that Islam will be able to finish him with a technique. Install the 1xbet app and place a bet on the favorite!

Prediction: Islam Makhachev's victory

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