It may lack the glamour of previous main events but the lightweight bout headlining UFC Fight Night: Makhachev vs. Moises certainly won’t lack for excitement. Riding a seven-fight winning streak, Islam Makhachev didn’t get the big name opponent he was looking for and instead will tangle with Thiago Moises in Saturday’s main event from the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. The fight was originally on the card but it was elevated to main event status when Max Holloway was forced to withdraw. Both fighters will be headliners for the first time in their careers.
Does that bring added pressure to the fighters? Probably not, but the combatants will have to tussle for an additional 10 minutes, assuming the fight goes that long. Makhachev (19-1), ranked No. 8 in the division with seven consecutive victories, is making his own mark in UFC after being recognized as Khabib Nurmagomedov’s protégé for most of his career. At least he learned from the best and the results have moved him into position for a run at a title fight. One of the top contenders in a loaded class, Makhachev is a massive -700 favorite at BookMaker.eu.
While Makhachev didn’t get the big-name opponent he was looking for, Moises (15-4) certainly did. I guess it all depends on perspective. Outside the top-10 rankings in the division, Moises jumped at the chance to take on a top contender knowing that it’s a great opportunity to advance his own career. He’s been doing that lately winning his last three fights showing off a diverse skill level each time. His recent success hasn’t swayed oddsmakers, though.
The co-main event has the backdrop of a Hallmark movie rather than a UFC women’s bantamweight bout. Miesha Tate (18-7) returns to the octagon for the first time since walking away from the sport in 2016 with hopes of reigniting her career.
Meanwhile, her opponent Marion Reneau (9-7-1) has said this would be her last battle inside the octagon. Reneau lost her last four fights but a win would be a storybook ending to a decent career. This is a tough match to handicap with Tate having not competed in five years. And the emotion of a final dance around the octagon should pump Reneau. Oddsmakrers have Tate as a -147 favorite with Reneau at +117.
There is sure to be plenty of action inside the octagon and even more at the betting windows with 11 bouts making up the Fight Night card, including five on the main card. All fights can be seen on ESPN and ESPN+ starting at 7 p.m. ET on Saturday, July 17.
UFC Fight Night: Makhachev vs. Moises Odds
Thiago Moises +456 vs. Islam Makhachev -700
Miesha Tate -147 vs. Marion Reneau +117
Jeremy Stephens +169 vs. Mateusz Gamrot -216
Dustin Stoltzfus +172 vs. Rodolfo Vieira -220
Gabriel Benitez -180 vs. Billy Quarantillo +143
Preston Parsons +218 vs. Daniel Rodriguez -285
Montserrat Ruiz +365 vs. Amanda Lemos -525
Sergey Morozov +127 vs. Khalid Taha -160
Anderson dos Santos +143 vs. Miles Johns -180
Malcolm Gordon +228 vs. Francisco Figueredo -300
Alan Baudot +261 vs. Rodrigo Nascimento -350
Thiago Moises (+456) vs Islam Makhachev (-700)
If Makhachev reads the headlines and sees the odds he might be in trouble thinking all he has to do is show up. He’s shown up and won all but once in his 20-fight career so what’s different about this one? For one he has an eager opponent. While some fighters would shy away from this matchup, Moises jumped at the chance to put a notch on his belt.
Of course wanting to fight one of the top contenders in the weight class and actually winning the bout are two entirely different things. Moises outlasted Alexander Hernandez in February for his third straight win showing off an impressive array of moves.
Makhachev is coming off a submission of Drew Dober in March and was probably expecting another top-contender in the weight class. Instead he could have a letdown going against Moises, who wasn’t among the top-15 contenders in the division. And as we know, not being properly prepared leads to disaster inside the octagon. There isn’t a lot of value backing Makhachev
UFC Prediction: Islam Makhachev / TKO
Miesha Tate (-147) vs Marion Reneau (+117)
Just before hanging it up in 2016 Tate was a belt holder, albeit for a short time. A wild come from behind submission of Holly Holm in March 2016 earned her the bantamweight strap. Four months later she lost to Amanda Nunes and four months after that was dominated by Raquel Pennington only to announce she was walking away.
In a span of eight months Tate went from being a champ to out of the sport. After nearly five years away from the sport can she simply step into the octagon and regain the form that had her at the top of the division? While Tate is coming back, Reneau is walking away.
A fixture in the rankings since first entering the octagon, Reneau hasn’t backed away from taking on the best. The results haven’t always been there, but she will give everything she has, which is something Tate has to be wary of in her return.
UFC Prediction: Marion Reneau / Decision
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