Islam Makhachev shuts down doubters after stone-cold KO triumph over Alexander Volkanovski at UFC 294

At UFC 294, the defending lightweight champion Islam Makhachev stamped his authority with a highlight reel finish to challenger and featherweight champion, Alexander “Great” Volkanovski. It was the second meeting between the pair.

The two first faced off against each other at UFC 284 where Makhachev won by the scorecard of 49-46, 48-47×2. The fight garnered controversy as many believed that Volkanovski did enough to eke out a decision over the lightweight champion from Dagestan.

Islam Makhachev beats Alexander Volkanovski

In the main event of UFC 294, Islam Makhachev defended his lightweight title for the second time with a TKO win over Alexander Volkanovski. Volkanovski was a short-notice replacement as the original opponent for Makhachev, Charles Oliveira had to withdraw after he suffered a nasty cut in his eyebrow during sparring.

The fight was very different than their first encounter which saw Volkanovski showing defensive grappling and wrestling maneuvers to frustrate Islam Makhachev. At UFC 294, Makhachev set the Australian up with body kicks that ultimately resulted in the head kick finish. This was the first time that Volkanovski was KOed in the UFC.

At UFC 284, Volkanovski and Makhachev competed closely for five rounds. Moreover, in the final round, “The Great” dropped Makhachev and rained ground and pound. However, the situation at UFC 284 was very different than that of UFC 294. Makhachev had less time to rehydrate at UFC 284 which was in Perth, Australia. At UFC 294, in Abu Dhabi, the fighters get close to 36 hours to rehydrate.

Alexander Volkanovski vs Islam Makhachev at UFC 294
(Image via X/UFC)

After the victory, Makhachev was asked by Daniel Cormier in the post-fight interview about his future plans. Makhachev was of the opinion that he was ready to face whoever the UFC puts in front of him. Charles Oliveira and Justin Gaethje are the presumed choices. Oliveira was the original opponent for Makhachev at UFC 294 whilst Gaethje is the BMF champion of the UFC.

Islam vs Volk head-to-head

With the win at UFC 294, Islam Makhachev is now 2-0 against Alexander Volkanovski. Michael Bisping among others was of the opinion that if Volkanovski ever goes 0-2 against Malhachev, the chances of him getting another shot at lightweight would be slim. Furthermore, Daniel Cormier, Paul Felder, and Jon Anik who were the commentators for the event seconded the thought.

Alexander Volkanovski vs Islam Makhachev at UFC 284
(Image via MMA Fighting)

Makhachev originally planned to rematch Charles Oliveira, however, circumstances forced a Volkanovski rematch. Volkanovski was planning to defend the featherweight title against Ilia Topuria at UFC 297 before he got the call to fight at UFC 294 against Islam Makhachev. Incidentally, Volkanovski has had a trilogy fight with Max Holloway at featherweight where he went 3-0.

Apart from two losses to Islam Makhachev, Alexander Volkanovski is undefeated in the UFC. Moreover, he has lost only in the lightweight division. He currently holds a 13-2 record in the promotion. With the victory at UFC 294, Makhachev now has two title defenses to his name, one less than Khabib Nurmagomedov.

Makhachev has lost only once in his professional career. It was in the UFC against Adriano Martens. He has a 14-1 record with the promotion and is tied with Tony Ferguson and Khabib Nurmagomedov for the longest win streak in the UFC’s lightweight division with 12.

With the win at UFC 294, who do you think makes the best case to be Islam Makhachev’s next title defense?


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