Wednesday afternoon brought the news that a planned main event bout between top-five lightweights Beneil Dariush (21-4-1) and Makhachev (21-1) was off after an injury forced Dariush out of the booking. The news left fans and media wondering if the Dagestani fighter on a nine-fight win streak would remain on the card.
On Wednesday night, the MMA world had an answer when ESPN reported that Green would replace Dariush on 10 days notice and face Makhachev in a 160-pound catchweight fight in the main event slot on February 26 card.
Bobby Green vs Islam Makhachev set for UFC Vegas 49 headliner
Veteran UFC lightweight Green (29-12-1) has had a very busy — and successful — last few months. In November he walked into Madison Square Garden in New York City and handed local fighter Al Iaquinta a first-round technical knockout loss. This past weekend he was victorious on the main card of UFC 271. Beating Nasrat Haqparast by unanimous decision.
Green even took part in a grappling bout on UFC Fight Pass in January. However, being highly active is nothing new for the 35-year-old competitor. In 2020, he fought inside the Octagon for three straight months from July to September. Winning two of those three matchups.
A win for Makhachev is widely expected to land him a championship opportunity next against the winner of the UFC 274 lightweight title bout between champion Charles Oliveira and former interim titlist Justin Gaethje. Likely making it a promotional priority to keep him on the card, give him an opportunity to fight, make money, and hold on to a spot as the top contender in the division.
UFC Vegas 49 takes place on February 26 from inside the UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada.