Here is the typical, up-side-down, thinking of the dino-to-bird enthusiasts, using cladistic analysis.
"Mahakala is a genus of basal dromaeosaurid dinosaur from the Campanian-age (about 80 million years ago) Upper Cretaceous Djadokhta Formation of Ömnögov, Mongolia. It is based on a partial skeleton found in the Gobi Desert. Mahakala was a small dromaeosaurid (approximately 70 centimeters long (28 in)), and its skeleton shows features that are also found in early troodontids and avialans. Despite its late appearance, it is among the most basal dromaeosaurids. Its small size, and the small size of other basal deinonychosaurians, suggests that small size appeared before flight capability in birds."
"A phylogenetic analysis performed by Turner and colleagues, who described the specimen, found Mahakala to be the most basal known dromaeosaurid. "
They consider Mahakala (80 mya) to be a basal dromaeosaurid, even though it came millions of years after (closer to today than) the earlier flying dromaeosaurids (167 mya).
Mahakala is actually a secondarily flightless dromaeosaurid.