Islam Makhachev doesn’t expect much of a threat from his current rival.
The stage is set for UFC 294 to be a thrilling return to Abu Dhabi for the promotion Saturday afternoon. After the main and co-main events were hit with drastic changes, the final matchups are arguably better than the originals. In the evening’s headliner, fans will be treated to the first champion vs. champion rematch in UFC history when the reigning lightweight king Makhachev looks to once again turn back the best featherweight on the planet, Alexander Volkanovski.
Volkanovski will enter the bout on 11 days’ notice fresh “off the couch” as he’s said during fight week. A lot of talk has been made by both men regarding the outcome and how it will come. In fight No. 1, Volkanovski took Makhachev to his limits, hurting him on two occasions but still was unable to come out on top, losing a unanimous decision. This time, Makhachev sees even less resistance from “The Great.”
“Zero chance [he can finish me],” Makhachev said on Daniel Cormier’s YouTube channel. “Who can finish me? No one. No lightweight, no welterweight, no one can finish me.
“First fight, I control all this fight. He just hold last minute, that’s it. Why he not finish me all this first fight? Because of what? Because the people in Australia? Brother, here, everything is different, everything on my side, that’s why. I wanna finish him.”
Makhachev and Volkanovski’s first encounter took place in the featherweight titlist’s home of Australia in Perth at UFC 284 this past February. The rematch sees the tables turned as Abu Dhabi has embraced Russia’s finest over the years since the promotion started holding events there.
This is twice in a row that Makhachev will have fought Volkanovski, while Volkanovski last entered the octagon at UFC 290 in July, defeating Yair Rodriguez via third-round TKO. Throughout the time since his bid at becoming a two-division champion, Volkanovski has expressed his desire to get back his lone UFC defeat. He now gets the shot under less-than-ideal circumstances, leading Makhachev to believe the Aussie just wanted the big payday.
“Brother, I don’t he’s a dangerous — just my opinion, I want to be honest — this guy come for money,” Makhachev said. “They give him good check and that’s it. If he lose again, he still champion of his division, that’s it. And he fight in January. He don’t have some problem to come, make some good money, and go back to Australia. That’s it, and beginning his training camp, finally.
“Brother, 100 percent. Why he come to Abu Dhabi? Just make money, that’s it. I think Dana [White] give him good check. This is true, brother. This is my opinion.”
Revisit. Retro Robbery Review: Islam Makhachev vs. Alexander Volkanovski at UFC 284
Support. Dana White defends Paulo Costa’s UFC 294 withdrawal, Khamzat Chimaev says Costa ‘s*** himself’ and ran
Clarity. Kamaru Usman: ‘The knees are fine, and they’ll be put to use’ vs. Khamzat Chimaev at UFC 294
Contention. Islam Makhachev rep: Charles Oliveira ‘missed his shot,’ Justin Gaethje should be next title challenger
Shade. Michel Pereira dismisses revisiting ‘little coward’ Stephen Thompson, wants eventual Israel Adesanya bout
Between the Links.
UFC 294 Official Weigh-Ins.
UFC 294 Pre-Fight Presser.
UFC 294 Pre-Fight Presser Staredowns.
Makhachev vs. Volkanovski 2 Preview.
The resurgence of Johnny Walker.
Best of Bellator 100, 200, and 300.
PFL Road to the Millions: Welterweight.
Rapid Rounds: Mueller vs. DeJesus.
Anatomy of UFC 294 3.
ONE has their first three 2024 Fight Night dates listed on their website, with the location listed as Bangkok for all three:
Jan. 12- ONE Fight Night 18
Feb. 16- ONE Fight Night 19
Mar. 1- ONE Fight Night 20
— Chris Presnell (@mmaecosystem) October 19, 2023
A wild MVP appears.
Ramazan Kurmagomedov (11-0) vs. Randall Wallace (20-9-1); Bellator 301, Nov. 7
Makhachev is providing some seriously jinxable quotes ahead of this fight but that just adds even more fuel to the excitement.
Happy Friday, gang. Enjoy the action. Thanks for reading!