Nik Lentz long ago learned to turn his stifling wrestling game into a momentum-killer that makes opponents look awful. But he’s got a tall order against Islam Makhachev, who grew up wrestling bears and eating snow for sustenance.

The bout opens with them trading kicks and then clinching against the cage, where Makhachev pulls off a smooth trip that sends them to the canvas. Lentz slips on a guillotine that looks hella tight, but Makhachev eventually pulls his head free and goes to work with short punches from above. A minute and a half left and Lentz scrambles up, and again comes that trip that puts Lentz back down on the bottom. Once more comes the guillotine attempt, and time runs out with Makhachev just relaxing with his neck in peril.

They duke it out a bit in the second – Lentz lumbering forward with his punches and Makhachev winging high-kicks – and a minute and a half in Makhachev scores another trip takedown. The American tries to threaten with that guillotine, and Makhachev’s answer is to pass guard. He slides into mount for a second, and when Lentz rolls Makhachev very nearly takes his back. The horn sounds with them mid-scramble.

The Dagestani begins Round 3 with kicks to the body that take small chunks out of Lentz’s soul, and when Lentz tries to throw him down Makhachev out-techniques him and throws him instead. Just as in the previous round, Makhachev’s suffocating top game has him in mount, side-control and on Lentz’s back, and the American soaks up a lot of punishment. The round ends with another throw by Makhachev.


Results: Islam Makhachev def. Nik Lentz via Unanimous Decision