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UFC 294 - Islam Makhachev vs Alexander Volkanovski Preview

In the main event, we get the honor of seeing a rematch of one of the most competitive matchups we’ve seen in a long time. The Lightweight champ Islam Makhachev is looking to double down on his first title defense against Alexander Volkanovski.

Volkanovski who is coming off a title defense against Yair Rodriguez, took the call on 10 days notice, chillin at home, weighing 181 pounds when he stepped in for Charles Oliviera to fight Islam for the 155lbs Belt. 20 pound weight cut in just over a week? If anybody's going to do it and make it look easy, its Alexander the great. The man is undefeated in his weight class and continues to look more dominant each time he steps into the octagon.

In his fight against the Korean Zombie at UFC 273 we saw Volk win in violent fashion, after dropping a decision to Islam, he went back to defend his belt and beat Yair Rodriguez up like he stole somethin. Volk is a dangerous man, and he just keeps getting better. But what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object? In the last fight it seemed as if Volk gave it his all yet still could not pull out the decision, while it is a highly debated fight I do believe you have to TAKE the belt from the champ and Volkanovski might have had to do a little bit more to convince the judges he got the job done.

Islam never seemed to falter, only ever showing any slight signs of fatigue in the 5th round. Volk capitalized and ended the fight on top raining ground and pound strikes but it wasn’t enough to get the job done. I believe this fight could look a little different. With Volkanovski coming in on just 10 days notice, I don’t think he will try to drag the fight into the 5th if he doesen’t have to.

While Volkanovski is most definitely one of, if not the most well conditioned fighter on the roster, the effect that not having a full camp can have on stamina is undeniable, and Makhachev isn’t one you wanna be in deep waters with. Islam is a work horse, a killer croc, the man gets his hands on you and next thing you know you wakin up lookin at Herb Dean or your arm is twisted up like Dan Hooker.

On top of that he just doesen’t seem to get tired, and is so defensively sound with such good timing that attacking him feels like running into a woodchipper. Charles Oliviera learned this fast when Islam knocked him down with a hook after Charles threw a flying knee. In the seconds that followed Charles was in an arm triangle losing his belt, this man is dangerous on the feet, and even more so on the ground. A large part of this success comes from the aggressive Sambo style in which Islam trains, that style and training foundation being the same one Khabib came in and dominated the roster with. Islam’s strength in Sambo and Grappling, mixed with the fire in his hands makes him an even more dangerous combination than Khabib in my mind, (Calm down give it time he aint there yet).

However, Volkanovski is feeling as prepared as ever to defend against these techniques, from his time working more closely with Craig Jones a man who is well versed BJJ they believe the team has the answer to shutting down Islam’s numerous techniques. Craig says “Sambo is fake”, ineffective and will be neutralized this time around by volk, I guess we’ll find out when these two fighters, looking legend status in the eye meet in Abu Dhabi on Saturday.

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