Islam Makhachev doesn’t see Alexander Volkanovski’s chin holding up in their massive champion-versus-champion tilt this weekend (Sat., Feb. 11, 2023) at UFC 284 in Perth, Australia.
The bout will be Makhachev’s first attempted Lightweight title defense and perhaps one of the tougher that a new champion has ever had in mixed martial arts (MMA) history. Volkanovski (25-1) has been flawless as the Featherweight kingpin at 145 pounds, defending his title on four occasions and claiming the promotion’s No. 1 spot in the pound-for-pound rankings.
Despite his incredible wrestling acumen, Dagestan’s Makhachev (23-1) is looking to touch up “The Great” to finish things on the feet rather than the mat.
“Honestly, I want to knock him out, because everybody says Islam is a grappler or wrestler, but I want to show people my striking,” Makhachev told ESPN Deportes (h/t MMA Junkie). “He is a short guy, and I really believe I can knock him out.
“This is not his area,” he continued. “I’m from other division. This is not the same power. It’s not the same, and he’s going to understand this, but he wants to try because he’s not losing. If he loses, what is he going to lose? Just belt with him, but he wants to try to jump and make some good money, make some pay-per-view money, but this is not his area.”
Both champions have only lost once in their illustrious careers thus far. Finishes via strikes coincidentally led to each’s demise. Volkanovski’s came in his fourth professional bout at Welterweight, whereas Makhachev’s was in his second UFC appearance (13th pro fight) opposite Adriano Martins.
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 284 fight card right here, starting with the early ESPN+ “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard on ESPN/ESPN+ at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+ PPV.
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