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Islam Makhachev Claims Usman Nurmagomedov Has Better Striking Than Dustin Poirier

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Islam
Makhachev believes teammate Usman
Nurmagomedov is a better striker than upcoming opponent
Dustin
Poirier.

Makhachev is scheduled to defend his lightweight title against
Poirier in the main event at
UFC 302 on June 1 at the Prudential Center in Newark, New
Jersey. Since he’s in the same weight class, Bellator
MMA lightweight champ Nurmagomedov is one of Makhachev’s chief
sparring partners in camp.

While Nurmagomedov couldn’t join the rest of the team until
recently, Makhachev revealed that the undefeated Bellator champ
gave him some solid rounds as soon as they sparred. The reigning
lightweight champion heaped praise on his teammate, also labeling
him a better striker than Poirier.

“Usman, honestly always give me good rounds,” Makhachev said on the
“Weighing In” podcast. “After he was sick and
he just come back two days ago. We [rest of the team] are one week
here. When he feel like better, right away he come to support me.
And today he give me two good rounds. This guy I think have better
striking than Dustin. He gave me good time in the striking because
you know, his kick, his arm, he’s really good in the striking
honestly. And when you spar with some guy at the high level, they
call it [iron sharpens iron].”

While Dagestani exports are renowned for their dominant grappling,
many have showcased elite striking skill sets over the years,
including both Makhachev and Nurmagomedov. Nurmagomedov has scored
eight of his 17 career wins via KO/TKO, albeit many of them via
ground-and-pound. Nurmagomedov recently pulled out of a title
defense against Alexander Shabliy scheduled for Bellator Paris on
May 17 due to an undisclosed injury. The fight was supposed to be
his return from a six-month suspension due to a failed drug test
that resulted in his last title defense against Brent
Primus being overturned to a no contest.

Makhachev has also shown exceptional striking in dropping Charles
Oliveira before submitting him to win the title and knocking
out Alexander
Volkanovski with a head kick in his second title defense.

Meanwhile, Poirier is known to be one of the most lethal strikers
in the UFC lightweight division with 15 of his 30 career wins
coming via KO/TKO. “The Diamond” has outclassed famed strikers like
Justin
Gaethje, Dan Hooker,
Anthony
Pettis, Max
Holloway and Conor
McGregor.

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