On a night when the top of the UFC’s lightweight division is the main attraction, a key matchup on the outer edge of the top-15 has also been booked.
Following an initial report from MMA Junkie, sources confirmed to MMA Fighting that #14 ranked Islam Makhachev is set to take on #15 ranked Alexander Hernandez at UFC 249 in Brooklyn, New York. The night’s main card airs live on pay-per-view, with prelims split between ESPN and ESPN+.
Hernandez (11-2) made a big splash when he entered the UFC on short notice and quickly knocked out Beneil Dariush at UFC 222. After a split decision over Olivier Aubin-Mercier, Hernandez took on Donald Cerrone at UFC Brooklyn last year, losing by second-round TKO. He bounced back with a rather uninspiring and controversial decision over Francisco Trinaldo at UFC San Antonio last July.
A longtime teammate of current 155 lbs king Khabib Nurmagomedov, Makhachev (18-1) has won six straight, most recently getting past Davi Ramos by decision at UFC 242. His only career defeat came by KO against Adriano Martins at UFC 192 way back in 2015. Despite his lengthy run of success, the 28-year-old has been unable to secure a fight against a ranked opponent until now.
UFC 249 takes place on Saturday, April 18th from the Barclays Center. The main event features a highly anticipated lightweight championship main event between Khabib Nurmagomedov and former interim champ Tony Ferguson. In the co-main event, former strawweight champions Rose Namajunas and Jessica Andrade rematch in a three-round showdown.