Alexander Volkanovski standing next to Islam Makhachev

Alexander Volkanovski vs Islam Makhachev set for UFC 284

Alexander Volkanovski vs Islam Makhachev set for UFC 284

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  • Post last modified:July 20, 2023
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Alexander Volkanovski standing next to Islam Makhachev

Alexander Volkanovski vs Islam Makhachev has officially been booked for UFC 284 in February 2023. The most interesting thing about this event is that it will happen in Perth, Australia, Volkanovski’s home country. There is nothing better than a champion fighting in his own country. While we are at it, I think the UFC should have honored Charles Oliveira’s grant of holding UFC 280 in Brazil. After all, Charles was the champion at that time.

Aside from that, there is still a burning question in most people’s minds. Why is this fight happening in the first place and what is on the line for each opponent? Well, simply put, Alexander ‘The Great’ has literally cleared the division and has done it in a dominating fashion. Truly, there is no challenge for him at featherweight. To top it all off, Volkanovski has never lost a match in the UFC. I think Volkanovski’s reason for moving up is valid and can well be justified.

But what about for the new Lightweight champion, Islam Makhachev? Well, to begin this discussion, it was decided long ago that the winner of Charles Oliveira vs Islam Makhachev, would face Volkanovski. When Makhachev won the title, he had no other choice but to accept the matchup. There is no chance in hell any fighter would refuse such a fight especially after winning a world championship fight as it would be deemed as a weak move.

What’s on the line in this matchup?

A picture of Volkanovski and Makhachev

Since both competitors are champions, what else is left. What more can they win other than a belt? Well, how about two belts. This is certainly more compelling and worth fighting for. It goes without saying that two belts are better than one but again numbers don’t lie. Since the UFC begun there have ever been only four double champs with McGregor being the pioneer in this elite group of fighters. The others include; Amanda Nunes, Henry Cejudo and Daniel Cormier. Others have tried in the past but failed. A good example is when Israel Adesanya fought Jan Blachowicz in UFC 259. How likely is it that Volkanovski will cement his name as the fifth UFC fighter to ever make it to double champ status? I would say it is very much possible hence the title to this article ‘Don’t rule Volk out’. More on this later.

Now that we know what’s on the line for Volkanovski, what does Islam stand to gain in this fight. Looking at their resumes Islam being 23-1 and Volk being 25-1, both are really impressive. It brings back the big question, what more can Islam want other than the belt. Remember if Volkanovski loses, he still retains his Featherweight title but if Islam loses, he loses his champion status to Volk and goes back to being a contender.

With this in mind, it begs the question, what could be more captivating to Islam than his recently attained belt. Well, how about being ranked as the number one pound for pound fighter in the world. Pound for pound is a rank in combat sports which lists the best fighters in the world in order of merit despite their weight class. Currently Volk holds the number one spot and Islam comes in at second. But is this worth the trade for his belt if he loses. In my opinion it is not worth the trade because seeing how elite of a fighter Islam is, it’s only a matter of time before he tops the list. Nonetheless, I know some people think that it is a fair trade.

Who has the highest chances of winning?

A picture of Islam and Volkanovski

A lot is on the line here and everyone is speculating based on different factors, but realistically, who has the highest chances of winning this bout? Both fighters are elite, top of the food chain so to speak. They are as tough as they come but each has their own strengths with very minimal weaknesses if we are being honest.

Alexander ‘The Great’ is well equipped in striking as well as ground game. As a matter of fact, he has a blackbelt in Brazilian Jiu jitsu which speaks volumes. He also trains in Kickboxing, Muay Thai and also has a background in Greco-Roman wrestling. He is as complete as a fighter can get. In UFC 266, Volkanovski faced Brian Ortega who is considered to have one of the best Jiu Jitsu skills in the game. To show how tough Volk is, he managed to get out of a Guillotine choke only to find himself a few moments later in a triangle which he managed to break free from. He is as tough as they come and had it been anyone else, they would have tapped.

Now let’s look at Islam’s resume. As you already know by now, Makhachev is a combat Sambo world champion. Sambo is considered to be one of the hardest martial arts to master and as the great quote from former UFC Lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov goes, “If Sambo was easy, it would be called Jiu Jitsu.” Compared to other forms of martial arts, Sambo has only managed to produce three champions in UFC history; Andrei Arlovski, Khabib Nurmagomedov and now Islam Makhachev. Sambo mainly focuses on wrestling, grappling techniques, striking and throwing techniques with the goal of submitting your opponent. To continue reading on Sambo, what it entails as well as its history, click here.

With this in mind, Makhachev can wrestle, Strike, grapple and if his last fight was anything to go by, he can damn sure submit. He submitted, Charles Oliveira who has the highest submissions in UFC history which is just crazy come to think of it. But one thing about Makhachev is that we have never seen him in troubled waters. The only time he wasn’t in his element was when he was knocked out in UFC 192 against Adriano Martins. Since then, he has won every fight in a dominating fashion. Unlike Volk, we have never seen Islam in a tight spot so to speak. He has never been in a triangle, an arm bar situation or even in any form of choke. Hard to tell how he would react if Volk manages to secure either of these techniques on him.

What Israel Adesanya had to say about Volk in an interview

A picture of Israel Adesanya and Alexander Volkanovski

Former Middleweight Champion Israel Adesanya was recently on an interview on the Flagrant and he had a lot to share about Volk. The two are Team mates and long-time trainers who have Co-headlined UFC event before. When he was asked to give his thoughts on this match up, here’s what he had to say: “Volk used to be a fat guy. Like, big boy, brolly, played rugby. When you walk around with that kind of body mass for years, you develop a different kind of muscle density. Even with Volk, I’ve tried to hold him down. I’m not the greatest wrestler, but even with my frame and my leverage, it’s hard to hold him down. He finds his way back up – a crafty veteran. His inside leg kick, his jabs, his hand control, all that sh*t – he’s crafty.”

“Islam is great. These (Dagestani) boys, they know what they’re doing. They have their own pedigree and they’re great. I’m biased – of course I’m going to say that because that’s my boy. But I truly, gun to my head, I could bet my whole house on him.”

Final thoughts

A picture of Islam Makhachev entering the octagon

I think this is going to be a very tough night for both opponents. I don’t see either opponent getting knocked out. In addition to this, the chances of this fight extending to the full five rounds is highly unlikely. If I had to pick a winner, I think Islam Makhachev wins by submission.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Davenport Reuben

    Good to know that Alexander has great resume by his dominance

  2. Carson Anekeya

    Great insight. Thanks for sharing.

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