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Alex Volkanovski drops UFC 280 bombshell after officials make after-hours call — ‘Someone was struggling’

Reigning featherweight champion Alex Volkanovski, on location to play backup fighter for the UFC 280 main event, was sound asleep last night likely dreaming of becoming the next “champ champ.” But while “The Great” was sawing wood, his team was fielding calls from UFC officials, who wanted to make sure the Aussie was on weight.

Volkanovski didn’t mention if it was Charles Oliveira or Islam Makhachev struggling to make the 155-pound limit, but both fighters endure a pretty difficult cut to make the lightweight mark. In addition, championship bouts don’t permit the one-pound allowance typically afforded in non-title fights.

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CHAMPIONSHIP DOUBLE-DIP! Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns to “The Fight Mecca,” Madison Square Garden in New York, N.Y., on Sat., Nov. 12, 2022, featuring two highly-anticipated championship showdowns. In UFC 281’s pay-per-view (PPV) main event, Middleweight champion, Israel Adesanya, will look to settle the score with former kickboxing foe and No. 5-seeded contender, Alex Pereira. In the ESPN+-streamed PPV co-main event, women’s Strawweight champion, Carla Esparza, intends to defend her newly-won title for the first time against former champion and No. 2-ranked contender, Zhang Weili.

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“Without giving too much away, we got asked pretty late last night, ‘How’s Alex doing?’ So obviously someone was struggling a little bit,” Volkanovski told BT Sport. “I was asleep when that happened, I just heard about it this morning.”

Oliveira was looking to silence critics after last May’s scale fail and went so far as to release a video ahead of the official weigh ins showing “Do Bronx” on weight. Both fighters came in 154.5 pounds, a half pound under the 155-pound limit, so whatever struggles were happening overnight were resolved by the early morning weigh ins.

Obviously it was a commitment, I worked hard to be ready just in case, but I mean all that’s worth it just because it’s locked me in as the next guy,” Volkanovski continued. “There probably was a risk, it’s not like I had the best camp. We put the work in anyway and it’s good to know the big bosses agree that I’m next.”

Volkanovski (25-1) is expected to fight the winner of Oliveira vs. Makhachev, assuming we get a conclusive finish on Sat. (Oct. 22) at Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi, UAE. The leading locations are UFC 283 in Rio and UFC 284 in Perth, or both if “Do Bronx” gets the promotion to commit to this crazy idea.

MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 280 fight card RIGHT HERE, starting with the early ESPN+ “Prelims” matches at 10 a.m. ET, followed by the remaining undercard balance on ESPN+/ESPNews at 12 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 2 p.m. ET on ESPN+.

To check out the latest and greatest UFC 280: “Oliveira vs. Makhachev” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here. For the complete UFC 280 fight card and PPV line up click here.

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