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Islam Makhachev of Russia punches Alexander Volkanovski of Australia in the UFC lightweight championship fight during the UFC 284 event at RAC Arena on February 12, 2023 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
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Islam Makhachev vs Alexander Volkanovski 1 Recap

Earlier This Year, UFC Headed To Australia For UFC 284: Makhachev vs. Volkanovski. Before They Have Their Rematch, Take A Look At What Went Down In February.

Before two of the top Pound-for-Pound fighters take the Octagon at UFC 294, let’s take a look back at the classic they put on at UFC 284.

The event was held in Perth, Australia, and it featured Alexander Volkanovski, the featherweight king, stepping up a weight class to take on Islam Makhachev, the lightweight champion, in a bid for the 155-pound title.

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Despite Volkanovski’s valiant efforts, he fell short, yet he made Makhachev work for the victory, pushing him to his limits in the grueling five-round main event.

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This highly anticipated clash exceeded all expectations, to say the least. 

For starters, it marked only the sixth instance in UFC history where champions went head-to-head. Makhachev was entering the bout riding an impressive 11-fight winning streak, having previously defeated former champion Charles Oliveira. But his opponent, “Alexander The Great,” also had a lengthy win streak under his belt, 22 fights to be exact, and was coming in fresh from concluding his trilogy with Max Holloway in July.

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Given his favorable odds, Makhachev was seen as the frontrunner to win the match. He has trained under coaches Javier Mendez and Khabib Nurmagomedov at the American Kickboxing Academy in San Jose, California. Meanwhile, Volkanovski trained at City Kickboxing in New Zealand alongside former middleweight champion Israel Adesanya.

In the initial round, Volkanovski brought the heat, refusing to yield any ground to Makhachev. He landed a combination to Makhachev’s body and head, momentarily stunning the champion. Makhachev shook off the early setback and regained control, taking Volkanovski down against the fence. Although Makhachev dominated on the ground, he couldn’t quite secure a submission, despite being in some favorable positions.

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In the second round, Volkanovski skillfully defended Makhachev’s takedown attempts. He found success with leg kicks from a distance and powerful punches on the inside. Makhachev, however, stood his ground and strategically timed straight left hands, eventually securing a takedown towards the end of the round.

As the fight progressed into the third and fourth rounds, both fighters turned up the heat and continued to capitalize on opportunities. 

 Islam Makhachev of Russia punches Alexander Volkanovski of Australia in the UFC lightweight championship fight during the UFC 284 event at RAC Arena on February 12, 2023 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
Islam Makhachev of Russia punches Alexander Volkanovski of Australia in the UFC lightweight championship fight during the UFC 284 event at RAC Arena on February 12, 2023 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

Volkanovski effectively translated his power to the higher weight class. Makhachev continued to attempt to land punches to close the distance and secure a body lock on Volkanovski. 

While Volkanovski had the upper hand in the striking, he occasionally found himself out of position and taken down.

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Entering the fifth and final round, Volkanovski showcased his best performance of the fight yet, out striking Makhachev and going as far as knocking him down. Makhachev’s tank appeared visibly empty by this time, while Volkanovski continued to defend against Makhachev’s persistent takedown attempts. 

Islam Makhachev of Russia punches Alexander Volkanovski of Australia in the UFC lightweight championship fight during the UFC 284 event at RAC Arena on February 12, 2023 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
Islam Makhachev of Russia punches Alexander Volkanovski of Australia in the UFC lightweight championship fight during the UFC 284 event at RAC Arena on February 12, 2023 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

After taking the fight the full five rounds, the judges unanimously ruled in favor of champion Islam Makhachev via scores of 48-47, 48-47 and 49-46. 

Makhachev successfully defended his title, cementing his position as the champion in the UFC’s most formidable weight class.

UFC 294: Makhachev vs Volkanovski 2 took place live from Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi, UAE on October 21, 2023. See the Final Results, Official Scorecards and Who Won Bonuses - and relive the action on UFC Fight Pass!