UFC lightweight champion Islam Makhachev and UFC featherweight titleholder Alexander Volkanovski lit up RAC Arena in Perth, Western Australia atop UFC 284 last Sat. night (Feb. 11) with their epic, five-round “Fight of the Night” that ended in favor of Makhachev (highlights here). Both fighters will return home with their respective belts and resume responsibilities in their own divisions.
Like Israel Adesanya before him, Volkanovski failed to join the promotion’s exclusive “champ champ” club, despite a valiant effort that was a lot closer than the official scorecards reflected.
Have a look:
#UFC284 Official Scorecards: Islam Makhachev (@MAKHACHEVMMA) vs Alexander Volkanovski— UFC News (@UFCNews) February 12, 2023
See every judges' scorecard from #UFC284 here ➡️: https://t.co/enKup6T3NK pic.twitter.com/5DJgiyxJdU
“The Great” is expected to unify the titles against newly-crowned interim champion Yair Rodriguez, who captured the substitute strap by finishing Josh Emmett in the UFC 284 co-main event, while Makhachev could find himself battling the winner of Conor McGregor vs. Michael Chandler, who will throw down after finishing their duties as TUF 31 coaches this May on ESPN.
McGregor has spent the better part of UFC 284 fight week uploading selfies to Twitter while referring to himself as the greatest fighter of all time. The former “champ champ” then chimed in during the live pay-per-view (PPV) event to call Makhachev and Volkanovski “pound-for-pound wafflers.” The 22-6 “Notorious” also reminded his followers that his fighting life remains in service to “God and Country.”
Maybe he was back on that Tyson weed.
I guess now is a good time to mention that McGregor is no longer ranked in the lightweight Top 15 and has only registered one victory over the last six years, a first-round laugher over a shopworn Donald Cerrone. The two fights that followed saw him get knocked out by Dustin Poirier at UFC 257 then lose by way of technical knockout — thanks to a gnarly leg injury — in their UFC 264 rematch.
Don’t expect Makhachev to be looking over his shoulder.
“Honestly, I don’t remember when this guy beat someone,” Makhachev previously said. “He have to come back, beat someone, and then … let’s go, why not? I’m gonna smash him like easy. Bobby Green is harder for me more than him.”
“It’s gonna be hard for him to make 155 because he drunk all days and lot of people are gonna smash him in this situation,” later told ESPN. “He just gonna fight versus Nate Diaz or some old people for make some money, and that’s it. He’s never gonna be champion. He’s never gonna be compete this level. This guy has money, everything, but if he wants to come back, let’s do it. I will be happy to smash him.”
McGregor, 34, will work his way back into the limelight on TUF 31 and could probably score a lightweight title shot with a convincing victory over Michael Chandler. Not because he deserves it, but rather because “Notorious” is still considered to be the top draw in MMA with multiple PPV buy records. Expect the next few months in the lightweight division to be very, very interesting.
For more results and fallout from UFC 284 click here.