Report: UFC books Dariush-Makhachev headliner for Feb. 26
Beneil Dariush and Islam Makhachev will headline UFC Fight Night on Feb. 26 in a lightweight tilt, sources told ESPN's Brett Okamoto.
Makhachev took the fight after angling for a title shot on the heels of his first-round submission of Dan Hooker at UFC 267. The understudy of former undefeated champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, Makhachev has won nine straight bouts and owns a 21-1 career record.
Dariush is riding a seven-fight winning streak of his own and claimed a dominant decision over Tony Ferguson in May. He took the rest of the year off to welcome a newborn daughter with his wife.
Combined, the two combatants went 5-0 in 2021:
|Feb. 6||Dariush||Carlos Diego Ferreira||Split Decision|
|March 6||Makhachev||Drew Dober||Submission (R3)|
|May 15||Dariush||Tony Ferguson||Unanimous Decision|
|July 17||Makhachev||Thiago Moises||Submission (R4)|
|Oct. 30||Makhachev||Dan Hooker||Submission (R1)|
The coming headliner figures to carry major title implications. Makhachev and Dariush are ranked third and fourth, respectively, in a lightweight division that now seemingly has clarity at the top. Charles Oliveira is scheduled to defend the title against Dustin Poirier at UFC 269, and Justin Gaethje looks to be in line to face the victor. The Dariush-Makhachev winner could fight for the belt after Gaethje.
"These two have worked their whole lives to become a champion and this is a No. 1 contender match," said Ali Abdelaziz, who manages both fighters.
A location for the Feb. 26 Fight Night hasn't been announced.