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Midnight Mania! Islam Makhachev reacts to pound-for-pound snub: ‘I never expected justice’

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The stakes of UFC 284’s main event were supposed to be clear cut. The top two pound-for-pound fighters on the roster meet at a weight class, collide, and the better man walks away the victor and pound-for-pound king. Simple and easy, right?

Of course not! Alexander Volkanovski outperformed the general public perception, doing better than anyone else in handling Islam Makhachev’s wrestling (watch highlights). Despite a noticeable size disadvantage, “The Great” finished the fight in top position after knocking Makhachev down in the final round. Unfortunately for the Aussie, the judges sided against him, naming Makhachev the winner via unanimous decision.

To his credit, Makhachev did land plenty of hard shots and a couple fight-changing takedowns. It wasn’t a robbery by any means, but the UFC rankings panel deemed Volkanovski’s performance impressive enough to retain his top spot. That news released earlier today, and Russian outlet Za Khabiba reported Makhachev’s first reaction to the news.

“About the rankings, I never expected justice and still don’t, because we saw on the example of our other fighters, Ankalaev, Petr Yan, saw the attitude toward us always,” Makhachev said. “The main thing I flew 13,000 kilometers there, defeated their champion. They raised my hand, and with a raised hand, confidently with a belt flew home.”

The next move for both men is unclear. Volkanovski could return to Featherweight to square off with Yair Rodriguez, the interim champion. However, he’s also expressed interest in sticking around for another showdown vs. the Russian talent, but Makhachev has other contenders like Beneil Dariush waiting in the ranks.


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