Alexander Volkanovski’s services won’t be needed at UFC 280 on Oct. 22, 2022, in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
Since his last title defense in July 2022, UFC’s reigning Featherweight kingpin has been offering to act as the backup fighter for the upcoming Lightweight title fight between Charles Oliveira and Islam Makhachev if needed. Volkanovski can now rest and watch from the sidelines as No. 6-ranked Lightweight, Beneil Dariush, expects to fill in if needed.
“That’s what [my manager] Ali [Abdelaziz] told me, I was the backup for this,” Dariush told MMA Fighting. “If something goes wrong, they would put me in.”
Dariush acting as backup makes more sense than Volkanovski for two very obvious reasons. First, he’s a ranked Lightweight contender, and second, he already has a fight on that card.
Competing on the pay-per-view (PPV) main card, Dariush returns for a pivotal clash against Mateusz Gamrot. It will be the 33-year-old’s first appearance of the year, last defeating Tony Ferguson via unanimous decision in May 2021.
No matter who Darisuh faces out of his three potential options at UFC 280, they all have superb grappling.
“I just prepare,” Dariush said. “I prepare for a guy like Mateusz Gamrot and three rounds, five rounds, it’s really just pacing yourself. For three rounds, I just get to go nuts for three rounds. I can go as hard as I want. For five rounds, I’ll pace a little bit more. You get to enjoy your time in there if you really want to fight five rounds.
“As far as preparing for Islam or Charles, really the way you do that, you be as well-rounded as you can possibly be, in terms of striking, in terms of timing, wrestling, all that stuff, be the best that you can be and then don’t worry about the rest,” he concluded. “It’s all going to take care of itself.”
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