A meeting of the two of the lightweight division’s greatest grapplers is expected to land on the main card of UFC 249 – and I’m not talking about Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Tony Ferguson. A matchup of top-fifteen ranked contenders has been earmarked for the April pay-per-view, as Gregor ‘The Gift’ Gillespie looks to return to the win-column against surging contender, Islam Makhachev. News of the planned pairing was initially reported by MATCH TV’s, Azamat Bostonof.
Gillespie fell victim to his first professional defeat at UFC 244 last November – as he suffered a devastating high kick knockout defeat to the hands – or should I say foot, of former interim title challenger, Kevin Lee.
Like the aforementioned Nurmagomedov, Islam Makhachev plys his trade at American Kickboxing Academy and has been tipped for eventual Octagon gold in the future. That’s not the only similarity Makhachev shares with Khabib though. The Dagestan native has notched an incredible six straight wins in the promotion – taking a unanimous decision over the decorated Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu player, Davi Ramos, last year at UFC 242 in Abu Dhabi.
Before his shocking defeat to Kevin Lee last November – New York native, Gillespie had managed to secure an impressive six-fight win streak and was vastly compared to division champion, Nurmagomedov, particularly due to his smothering wrestling style. As part of the winning-spree, Gillespie lodged victories over Jordan Rinaldi, Andrew Holbrook, Vinc Pichel, and Yancy Medeiros.
UFC 249 will take place on April 18th. from the Barclays Centre in Brooklyn, New York – and is expected to be headlined by a fifth attempted pairing of Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson, this time, with the undisputed lightweight title up for grabs. A co-main event rematch between former strawweight champions, Jéssica Andrade and Rose Namajunas is also planned for the card. In featherweight action, Brian Ortega is expected to make his Octagon return against perennial contender, Zabit Magomedsharipov.
In a middleweight bout, Uriah Hall has been matched with Jacaré Souza. At 145-pounds, Jeremy Stephens meets Calvin Kattar – while Lyman Good tackles Belal Muhammad at welterweight. At 135-pounds, Sijara Eubanks meets with Sarah Moras. Kharma Worthy and Ottman Azaitar meet in a lightweight clash. In two heavyweight bouts, Ben Rothwell meets Gian Villante – and Shamil Abdurakhimov takes on division prospect, Ciryl Gane.