MMAOB staff writer Adam Martin takes a deeper look at the main event of UFC 284, a five-round UFC lightweight title bout between Islam Makhachev and Alexander Volkanovski. The event takes place on Saturday, February 11 at RAC Arena in Perth, Australia.
Islam Makhachev (-380)
Makhachev (23-1) is the UFC lightweight champion. The 31-year-old Russian joined the UFC back in 2015 and he has a 12-1 record since then with victories over the likes of Charles Oliveira, Bobby Green, and Dan Hooker. Makhachev has some of the best wrestling in the sport and he has used his grappling skills to take his opponents down and control them and finish them on the floor. He also has improved his striking in recent years to turn into a well-rounded fighter. Overall, he’s an absolute beast and there is a reason why he is such a big favorite to defend his lightweight belt.
Alexander Volkanovski (+310)
Volkanovski (25-1) is the UFC featherweight champion. The 34-year-old Australian has been a member of the UFC roster since 2016 and he has a perfect 12-0 record in the Octagon since then. He holds notable wins over the likes of Max Holloway three times, Brian Ortega, Jose Aldo, and Chan Sung Jung. Volkanovski is one of the most well-rounded fighters in the sport. He has exceptional striking, a great gas tank, and solid grappling skills. He was the best featherweight in the world and now he is moving up to lightweight and testing himself against an elite opponent.
Fight Breakdown: I absolutely love this fight for the UFC lightweight title. It’s a true super fight because it features two of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the sport who are at the height of their careers. That being said, I lean towards Makhachev to win the fight. I do feel like there will be a size difference here, and at the highest levels of the sport, those small differences can very well decide a fight. Makhachev has some of the best wrestling in the sport and he should be able to control where this fight takes place. If he can get the takedown, then he should win the fight. Of course, if Volkanovski can keep this fight standing, he can make things very interesting. Even though I really like Volkanovski as a fighter, I still have to go with Makhachev to get his hand raised. I think he will take Volkanovski down and be able to win the decision.
Prediction: Islam Makhachev wins via decision