Khabib Nurmagomedov has backed Islam Makhachev to make a 'huge statement' against Rafael dos Anjos.
Makhachev (20-1) will battle it out with Dos Anjos (30-13) at the Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi on October 30 as he looks to move within touching distance of a world title fight.
Having won a hard-fought decision over Dos Anjos himself, Nurmagomedov knows exactly what it takes to beat the former UFC lightweight champion, and he believes Makhachev has all the right ingredients.
The pair first met back in 2014 when Nurmagomedov's wrestling proved to be too much for Dos Anjos as he took the bout by unanimous decision with scores of 30-27 across the board.
“Dos Anjos is very experienced,” Nurmagomedov told RT Sport.
“He’s been in five-rounders a lot of times. He fought a lot of good fighters. Look, he fought me.
"He fought Kamaru, Covington, Paul, a bunch of fighters. He fought Alvarez. He has a lot of experience.
"In such big fights, experience is like a trump card up your sleeve.”
And he believes former combat sambo world champion Makhachev, who also hails from the Makhachkala region in Dagestan, Russia, will stop Dos Anjos early on in the fight, despite the Brazilian having previously only been submitted once in his entire career.
“So here is how I see the fight going, because I have fought Dos Anjos, too,” he added.
“I would like Islam to take him down in the first round. Impose some wrestling pressure on him – then he will be ready.
"It would be great if Islam finished him on the ground because I can’t remember anyone finishing dos Anjos on the ground. Yes he was dominated, but not finished.
“Covington, Kamaru, myself – we all dominated him on the ground, but could not finish him.
"I think if Islam finishes him and becomes actually the first fighter to do so against him, it would be a huge statement.”News Now - Sport News