Russian lightweight contender Islam Makhachev claimed a fourth-round submission finish of Brazil’s Thiago Moises, then called out his opponent’s compatriot as he looks to edge closer to a shot at the undisputed UFC lightweight title.

Makhachev finished Moises via rear-naked choke in the main event of UFC Vegas 31 at the UFC Apex to register his eighth straight victory inside the octagon.

And, after his win, the Russian contender declared himself happy with how the night panned out as he was taken into the championship rounds by Moises before he eventually secured the submission finish.

“I feel great because it was my first time going four rounds, was good to have the four-round experience. I’m very happy,” he said.

“Nothing surprised me. Inside my head I always had to think I cannot go crazy in the first or second round, because I have three more rounds, that’s why it was a good experience.

“When you have by your side a champion, he knows everything everywhere, what I have to do, what I have to say, how I have to move… When Khabib [Nurmagomedov] is in my corner, I feel more powerful.”

Makhachev said that he plans to stay active as he looks to gatecrash the division’s elite who, to date, haven’t appeared too keen to face him inside the octagon. 

But the Russian singled out a former world champion as a potential next opponent as he made a statement in a bid to move up the lightweight rankings.

“I have to keep moving. I have to fight in November, December, it doesn’t matter,” he said. 

“I’m going to be ready. I’m going to train all this month. No rest. A couple of days off and that’s it.

“Who is going to bring me closer to this title? RDA is good for me, he won his last fight and he is going to bring me closer to the belt.

“Two more fights [to earn a title shot]. Doesn’t matter how many, I’m going to smash everybody. No matter who’s next, I’m going to be ready.”