Islam Makhachev vs. Drew Dober UFC 259 Odds, Pick & Prediction (Saturday, March 6)
Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC. Pictured: Islam Makhachev (left) and Drew Dober.
- Islam Makhachev looks to take a step toward contending in the lightweight division against knockout specialist Drew Dober.
- Makhachev, Khabib Nurmagomedov’s protege, has won six straight in the UFC, while Dober has finished three straight opponents.
- Sean Zerillo breaks down where he sees betting value on Makhachev in this matchup.
Islam Makhachev vs. Drew Dober Odds
No. 14-ranked lightweight challenger Islam Makhachev will meet the No. 15-ranked challenger Drew Dober in the octagon in the final non-title fight on Saturday night's UFC 259.
Makhachev is coming off an 18-month long layoff, but brings a six-fight winning streak into this matchup with the Dober who has won three in a row by either TKO or knockout.
Below I preview the matchup and odds for tonight's fight. For more analysis on the rest of the card, you can check out my projections for the entire slate here.
Tale of the Tape
|Record||18-1||23-9 (1 NC)|
|Avg. Fight Time||9:23||7:30|
|Weight (pounds)||156 lbs.||156 lbs.|
|Date of birth||10/27/91||10/19/88|
|Sig Strikes Per Min||2.10||4.66|
|SS Absorbed Per Min||0.76||4.12|
|Take Down Avg||3.40||0.88|
In retirement, Khabib hasn't been shy about declaring that Makhachev is ready to assume his throne as the king of the 155-pound division.
The Dagestani is one of the most potent wrestlers in the UFC history, with better grappling metrics (3.4 takedowns per 15 minutes, 68% accuracy, 93% takedown defense) than Khabib (5.32/48%/84%) himself.
Of course, there's a caveat: Khabib eventually faced better competition and through his first 10 UFC fights, he had a better strike margin (+221 to +101) and nearly 15 more minutes of control time relative to Makhachev.
Despite a single knockout loss (as a -150 favorite) against Adriano Martins in 2015, Makhachev is also one of the most defensively responsible strikers in the history of the promotion (72% striking defense):
There are 813 fighters in UFC history with fewer than 100 career significant strikes absorbed
Islam Makhachev has the most fight time (75 minutes, 4 seconds) in the group
2nd place is Bryce Mitchell's 64:20
Makahachev has absorbed just 57, compared to Mitchell's 94#UFC259
— MMA By The Numbers (@NumbersMMA) March 2, 2021
The constant wrestling threat has turned Makhachev into an above-average striker, and I'm still waiting to see how he looks against a fighter with solid takedown defense, but Dober (career 58% takedown defense) isn't necessarily that fighter.
What Dober does provide is a legitimate knockout. If he is willing to accept Makhachev's takedowns while losing the fight on the bottom (58% takedown defense), he could have a few chances to crack that chin upon entry. Just accept that you're getting taken down, even if you try to stop it, and let the hands go for the few moments of the fight that you're actually standing.
It's hard to find a path to victory for Dober beyond that, though — a puncher's chance. While the Elevation Fight Team product has improved his game, this is still a terrible matchup, stylistically.
Makhachev vs. Dober Pick
Ultimately, I think this boils down to whether Makhachev wins by decision or submission, and my projection (-115) suggests that the decision line is the better play, though both props are close to their listed odds.
I would prefer to find a plus-money price, but I still think Makhachev's decision prop is playable to -110.
The Pick: Islam Makhachev Wins by Decision (-110, 0.5u)