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Here’s everything that happened at UFC 284 last night | Makhachev vs. Volkanovski

Last night (Sat., Feb. 11, 2023), Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) ventured forth to Perth, Australia for UFC 284. It’s been quite some time sent UFC went “Down Under,” and the pay-per-view (PPV) card was appropriately filled with local talent from top-to-bottom. It wasn’t the most stacked card of the year overall, but a pair of title fights and a wild crowd still made for a rather fun night of fights after a slower start.

Let’s take a look at UFC 284’s best performances and techniques:

UFC 284: Makhachev v Volkanovski Photo by Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Islam Edges ‘The Great’

I wrote an entire piece focused on Alexander Volkanovski right HERE, so I wanted to give the Lightweight champion his due as well.

It’s kind of wild to consider the simple fact that Makhachev’s kickboxing retained his title. After all, he only had any meaningful wrestling success in rounds one and four. The rest of the rounds were contested almost entirely on the feet, and Makhachev showed a new level of depth in that regard (watch highlights).

First and foremost, the classics did work. A heavy left kick and long left hand counter against a much shorter Orthodox opponent? Those will always be good ideas! Still, Makhachev’s ability to fire back in combination and pick with accurate single shots was much improved. When he did get stung, he even did a nice job of biting down on his mouthpiece and flurrying back, which produced some heavy lands in the second.

Makhachev’s knees were also a real factor here. It’s known that he’s strong in the double-collar tie and can do damage from there, but Makhachev also interrupted at least a couple Volkanovski combos with counter knees. Again, these are all strategies far easier to employ against a shorter opponent, but Makhachev proved he has tools in his back pocket if and when his wrestling fails to produce an effortless victory.

UFC 284: Makhachev v Volkanovski Photo by Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

An Offensive Dynamo

Yair Rodriguez is one of the most consistently offensive fighters on the UFC roster.

All ranges of his offense were on display against Josh Emmett last night. Early on, it was the distance kicks, which did prove to be an issue for Emmett as many predicted. Rodriguez’s right low kick destabilized Emmett every time it landed, and Emmett’s best pokerface couldn’t hide the simple fact that Rodriguez’s left kick lands like a sledgehammer. Alongside those fundamental power kicks, Rodriguez mixed trickier moves like lead leg teeps and jump knees. He also paired his kicks with punches, a great trick against any foe looking to counter kicks.

In the pocket, Rodriguez was at first as wild as ever. A few Emmett right hands seemed to calm him down, however, and “Pantera” grew sharper as a result. Some of his mid-distance elbow work was really beautiful, and his introduction of knees into the pocket seemed to really disrupt Emmett’s rhythm as well.

Finally, Rodriguez’s wildness did land him on his back on a couple occasions, but the offense didn’t stop. Back in December, we talked about offensive jiu-jitsu beginning to return in the meta, and Rodriguez just demonstrated that principle beautifully. With a hurt Emmett in his guard, Rodriguez didn’t focus on wrestling up, which can kill a lot of time. Instead, he went to war with elbows, threatened an armbar, then transitioned into a sinker triangle choke while his opponent was still trying to recover from the earlier damage.

Rodriguez’s full game was on display, and he proved he can hurt his opponents from anywhere.

UFC 284: Makhachev v Volkanovski Photo by Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Maddalena Makes His Mark

It’s so nice to see a fighter execute a game plan perfectly. As soon as the bout between Jack Della Maddalena and Randy Brown was booked, the questioned posed was obvious: could the young Aussie handle his foe’s sharp boxing and lanky reach.

Immediately, Maddalena made it clear he knew how to handle the situation. Brown was working to establish the jab, so Maddalena adjusted by largely remaining Orthodox and kicking the calf. That’s a simple solution on paper, but Maddalena’s timing was on point, and the result was immediate. Brown didn’t feel confident in his punches, resulting in a lot of slapping strikes that did little to scare Maddalena off.

The Australian talent remain patient. He continued to advance, and as soon as Brown hit the fence, he exploded. Smartly doubling up on the Southpaw hook as Brown tried to circle off, he connected clean and sent his foe face-first into the canvas. Brown briefly survived the onslaught of punches, but Maddalena snatched the path of least resistance in the form of a rear naked choke anyway.

There are still questions about Maddalena — that’s what happens when he wins four straight fights in the first round! It is clear, however, that he’s an expert striker with bricks in his hands, and it’s also clear that it’s time for him to enter the cage against a ranked opponent.

UFC 284: Makhachev v Volkanovski Photo by Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

266 Pounds Of Power

Is Justin Tafa developing into a pretty good Heavyweight?

Parker Porter may not be a standout in any one area, but he’s a solid test for up-and-coming big men. Tafa passed that test with flying colors! The fight didn’t last long, so there’s not a ton to discuss really, but Tafa pretty effortlessly shook off Porter’s attempts to clinch and then beamed him with a perfect counter left hand.

Tafa has yet to prove that his conditioning or grappling have come along in a significant manner. Still, when a 29-year-old Heavyweight is scoring walk-off knockouts, it’s worth taking notice.

UFC 284: Makhachev v Volkanovski Photo by Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

A Flyweight Flurry

Kleydson Rodrigues showed up in Australia.

Brazil’s “KR” didn’t make any waves with his debut performance, a split-decision loss to CJ Vergara. He seemed plenty motivated to avoid a similar outcome last night, exploding out of the gate. To summarize his performance quickly: the fight only lasted 59 seconds, and Rodrigues threw three spinning kicks, one of them with a bonus jump!

Really though, it was the left hook upstairs and to the body that did the damage. Once Rodrigues hurt Shannon Ross, he refused to let him off the hook, flurrying wildly to force the finish. It was really exciting, a great display of explosive offense at 125 pounds.

UFC 284: Lookboonmee v Reed Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Additional Thoughts

  • Joshua Culibao defeats Melsik Baghdasaryan via second round rear-naked choke (HIGHLIGHTS): Things were not looking great for Culibao halfway through round two. The two were going pretty strike-for-strike, but Baghdasaryan was the faster and stronger man by a considerable margin. His kicks were landing hard, and his strength seemed to mitigate Culibao’s attempts to close distance and clinch. Then, Culibao interrupted a kick with a jab and off-balanced Baghdasaryan. Within a split-second, he was suddenly on the back, locking in an instant choke without hooks in! It was the definition of opportunism, and Culibao remains undefeated in the UFC as a result.
  • Loma Lookboonmee defeats Elise Read via second round rear-naked choke (HIGHLIGHTS): Thailand’s first UFC fighter has been a fun addition to the roster. She’s a little small for the Strawweight division, but outside of that issue, her overall game is coming together really nicely! More and more, she’s able to translate her Muay Thai skill into the Octagon, but last night, her grappling improvements were on display. After getting taken down in the latter half of the first, Lookboonmee entered the second with a point to prove. She dragged her foe down and proceeded to really drop the hammer, and the damage really opened up Lookboonmee’s path towards the submission finish.

For complete UFC 284: “Makhachev vs. Volkanovski” results and play-by-play, click HERE.

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