Australian mixed martial arts (MMA) legend, Alexander Volkanovski, puts it all on the line TONIGHT (Sat., Feb. 11, 2023) — No. 1 pound-for-pound status, legacy, reputation, bragging rights and more — when he steps up a weight class to challenge 155-pound boogeyman, Islam Makhachev, for the Dagestani’s newly-won Lightweight strap in UFC 284’s pay-per-view (PPV) main event.
Volkanovksi, UFC’s dominant Featherweight champion, will attempt to join the select “champ-champ” club — joining the likes of Conor McGregor, Daniel Cormier, Henry Cejudo and Amanda Nunes. It would be a remarkable feat, considering Makhachev — the No. 2-seeded pound-for-pound fighter on the planet — just cut through former champion, Charles Oliveira, like a hot knife through butter.
And he did it behind enemy lines, which is where he will once again find himself this evening; however, he will have to do it this time without his mentor, Khabib Nurmagomedov, in his corner.
Will Makhachev steamroll his much shorter championship counterpart or will “The Great” style on the Dagestani?
IT’S TIME TO DETERMINE THE NO. 1 P4P FIGHTER IN THE WORLD!
Live updates will begin to flow below the moment the two fighters make their way to the Octagon ...
Volkanovski, the “challenger” in this 155-pound clash of champions, was the first to make the walk to the cage to his iconic Men at Work walkout song ... and the crowd was rabid.
Fighting in front of his people!@AlexVolkanovski enters #UFC284 with the support of a nation behind him pic.twitter.com/VN2pHprVD1— UFC (@ufc) February 12, 2023
Then it was time for unheralded champ to make the much more subdued saunter:
Fighting for the right to be called P4P #1!@MakhachevMMA enters to defend his throne at #UFC284! pic.twitter.com/zjhIOsBGXD— UFC (@ufc) February 12, 2023
Volkanovski Orthodox, Islam in Southpaw stances. Volkanovski pawing with his left hand, gauging distance, as Islam opens with a kick to the body. Volkanovski with a combination upstairs, barely landing the second shot and smiling after. Volkanovski switching stances, picking up his pace, putting Islam on his back foot. Sweet standing elbow from Volkanovski wobbled Islam for a minute, then started to chase, perhaps feeling there was blood in the water. There wasn’t — Islam remained cool, calm and collected, getting his bearings back just fine. Low kick from Islam, then a brief fire fight broke out, with Islam dropping Volkanovski to a knee with a hard cross. In the ensuing scramble, Islam got behind Volkanovski with about two minutes remaining in the round. Islam got him to the canvas with about a minute on the clock and was able to get a hook in as Volkanovski was in a sitting-type position. Islam went for a neck crank, but Volkanovski just smiled. Islam continued with the choke until the round concluded. Great round!
Unfazed to this point... #UFC284 pic.twitter.com/WDJEYun6BX— UFC (@ufc) February 12, 2023
Imagine... #UFC284 pic.twitter.com/gePqvOB25d— UFC (@ufc) February 12, 2023
Volkanovski comes out pumping a jab, with Islam shoulder rolling and missing with a looping left cross. Nice kick from Islam to the body as Volkanovski came barreling in with hard shots that didn’t connect. He buried Islam with a hard shot along the cage, but the Dagestani literally rolled with the punch and countered with a takedown. Volkanovski was able to break free this time, drilling Islam with a knee on his way back to his feet. Volkanovski turned Islam to the fence and the pair made their way back to the center of the Octagon. Big swing from Volkanovski, wh is going for the fences. Big left hand from Volkanovski, which Islam handled well and returned in kind, stunning the Featherweight champ with a hard overhand left. Volkanovski was hurt and Islam knew it, pouring on the pressure down the stretch, but it appeared Volkanovski recovered just fine. The pair clinched along the cage, standing, as the round came to a close. Another great round!
Inside the Volkanovski corner after 2 rounds #UFC284 pic.twitter.com/20WWlHvPLx— UFC (@ufc) February 12, 2023
Volkanovski’s corner urged him to remain on his feet — the control time at the end of the first two rounds apparently has them concerned. Nice shot from Volkanovski to get the third round started as Islam looked to lock him up in a May Thai clinch. Islam stalking, launching low and left kicks as Volkanovski fires back with wild haymakers upstairs. Nice right hand from Islam, with Volkanovski countering with a hard inside leg kick that knocked his opponent off balance. Islam went in for another takedown mid-round, with Islam draped on Volkanovski’s back along the cage. Volkanovski was able to spin out, which made the crowd go insane. On the break, Volkanovski unleashed a flurry, but Islam appeared to walk through it just fine. Nice left hand from Islam, with Volkanovski countering with an inside low kick. Some blood now on Volkanovski’s forehead. Volkanovski barreled in, head down, and Islam went for a ride, but he ended up in a good spot after the scramble. What a fight — so evenly matched.
We're headed to CHAMPIONSHIP ROUNDS— UFC (@ufc) February 12, 2023
How are you scoring it? #UFC284 pic.twitter.com/RZRhRkHJOQ
Heading into the championship rounds, Volkanovski wanted to know if he was winning, perhaps realizing he needs to turn up the volume. Islam with a nice straight left to start, with Volkanovski pot-shotting in response. Volkanovski with a nice overhand right, but Islam responded with same. Islam with a huge takedown in the middle of the Octagon with more than three minutes to go. Volkanovski raced to the cage on his knees, but Islam was all over him. Islam was able to get the body triangle in, with Islam behind him, angling for a choke and boxing his ears. Volkanovski tried to punch behind him, but they weren’t effective. Volkanovski tried to spin belly-on-belly, but Islam was just too strong. Volkanovski bounced a few good punches off his forehead, but he remained in total control. Volkanovski looked like he was talking some smack, perhaps frustrated he’s in the position he’s in. He continued to land little rabbit punches to Islam’s forehead as the round came to a close.
Volkanovski's corner heading into our 5th and final. Gunning for a finish #UFC284 pic.twitter.com/T2IHI79232— UFC (@ufc) February 12, 2023
Volkanovski seemed well aware that he probably needed a finish, likely down three rounds to one on the judges scorecards (but, who knows). Nice left hand early from Islam, but Volkanovski appeared ready to walk through anything to get inside. Volkanovski feinting and Islam is taking the bait on all of them in the early going. Volkanovski got a little too overzealous in the center of the cage and Islam nearly got behind him again, but Volkanovski was back to his feet quickly. Volkanovski whiffed on a big overhand left on the next exchange and Islam was able to grab an ankle. Volkanovski did great, working himself out of danger again and getting back to his feet. Big left from Volkanovski along the fence. He actually attempted a takedown, but Islam wasn’t having it. Less than two minutes to go and Islam was clock-watching. Huge right hand from Volkanovski dropped Islam and he landed in full mount. Rather than standing up, he remained in full guard to rain down ground-and-pound. Volkanovski was dropping bombs down the stretch, but Islam was able to hold on until the end.
What. A. Fight!!!
We just witnessed an ALL TIMER #UFC284 pic.twitter.com/Abd1D0T24S— UFC (@ufc) February 12, 2023
Final result: Makhachev def. Volkanovski via unanimous decision (48-47x2 and 49-46) — WATCH HIGHLIGHTS!
AS ADVERTISED. #UFC284 pic.twitter.com/1KbHnkr7q4— UFC (@ufc) February 12, 2023
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