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Israel Adesanya ‘gun to my head’ believes Alex Volkanovski defeats Islam Makhachev: ‘The man’s different’

UFC 277: Moreno v Kara-France 2 Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

2023 will start with an early bang between two of mixed martial arts’ (MMA) most impressive champions.

Reigning Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Featherweight titlist, Alexander Volkanovki, is set to return to the Lightweight division where he’ll challenge new titleholder, Islam Makhachev, at UFC 284 on Feb. 11, 2023, in Perth, Australia. Despite Makhachev becoming champion as recently as Oct. 2022, the dominant Dagestani finds himself as a decent favorite over “The Great.”

Admittedly biased, former UFC Middleweight champion and teammate of Volkanovski’s, Israel Adesanya, has full faith in the four-time defending 145-pound kingpin getting the job done.

“Volk used to be a fat guy,” Adesanya told the FLAGRANT podcast (h/t MMA Junkie). “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 s—t — he’s crafty.

“Islam is great,” he continued. “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. Volk is just different. Volk is just the kind of guy — even when he cuts weight, the amount he cuts, for him to have the cardio he has in the later rounds, it’s mind-blowing. The man’s different.”

Currently positioned atop the promotion’s pound-for-pound rankings, Volkanovski is believed to be defending his No. 1 spot even though his title isn’t on the line. Between Volkanovski and Makhachev, the pair has each only lost once and has a combined 48 wins.

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