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Monday Morning Hangover: Even in defeat, Alex Volkanovski’s stock soars after UFC 284

UFC 284 went down this past weekend (Sat., Feb. 11, 2023) inside RAC Arena in Perth, Australia, providing fight fans with one of the best championship fights in recent memory after Islam Makhachev and Alexander Volkanovski went toe-to-toe for 25 minutes in a Lightweight title fight (see it here).

This was truly one of the best fights we have seen in a long time, and both men came out winning despite only one of them getting his hand raised. This is one of the classic cases where the loser, oddly enough, is getting more praise than the winner.

Much of it is because everyone loves an underdog, which is weird to say about a current world champion riding a 22-fight fight win streak. The other side is that some felt “The Great” did enough to win. I don’t think he did. It was a highly-competitive fight and it was a lot closer than even I expected given the sheer size difference (see it), but Makhachev was the rightful winner.

On that note, Volkanovski’s stock went through the roof (and is still climbing) after his gutsy performance against a man who at one time claimed he couldn’t lock down any fights because all 155-pound contenders were turning down offers. Volkanovski wanted this fight and he proved why UFC was in the right to give it to him without a second thought.

Against a man who is accustomed to rag-dolling the opposition, Volkanovski was having fun in there, and when the dust cleared, it looked like he could go another 25 minutes, while Makhachev appeared, in all honesty, totally shot. Indeed, it took the 145-pound champion to give the 155-pound king his toughest fight to date (sans his knockout loss to Adriano Martins).

What that means is that the Featherweight division should be even more worried about how to figure out the puzzle that is Volkanovski because if Makhachev couldn’t take him down often and keep him down, what hopes do a lot of the great wrestlers at Lightweight have?

I mean, let’s keep it real: Volkanovksi was already running roughshod over the 145-pound division and his performance against Makhachev is only going to elevate his confidence and prompt him to work even harder.

That’s a scary thought.

Up next for Volkanvoski is a title unification fight against Yair Rodriguez, who won the interim title in the co-main event by delivering his own spectacular performance against Josh Emmett (highlights). Rodriguez has been on a nice run of his own over the last three years, which culminated in his first taste of UFC gold last night. But, after Volkanovski’s performance last Saturday, “El Pantera” will have to be on his “A” game, and then some, if he wants to become undisputed champion.

And that’s just fine by the Mexican-born star, who has proven to possess the chops to hang with the best and fight fans are going to be in store for one of the best 145-pound title fights in recent memory if their respective UFC 284 performances are any indication.

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

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