UFC 294 took place on October 21 in Abu Dhabi, UAE. The main event of the night was one of the most anticipated rematches in recent history. Although they were not matched up initially, as fate would have it, Islam Makhachev was up against Alexander Volkanovski, a fight that was finalized just 11 days before the fight.
While this was probably the last chance for Volk to achieve the legendary double champ status, Islam had his reasons to win the fight too. Despite being the lightweight champion, he has not been getting the respect and acknowledgment that he would like to receive. Moreover, his win over ‘The Great’ at UFC 284 was not convincing for some, so this one at UFC 294 had to be as clear as a day.
Islam wins via first-round TKO.
Clean head kick rocked Volk.
Finished him off with ground and pound.
No controversy this time. Very impressive.
— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) October 21, 2023
Islam Makhachev delivered a stunning head kick that sent Alexander Volknaovski to the canvas before finishing the fight with a relentless barrage of ground strikes. The referee intervened to do the formalities as Islam retained the lightweight crown yet another time. While the fight fans have nothing but respect for Volkanovski, the 35-year-old himself had some other reasons to take up this fight on such short notice.
In the post-fight interview with Daniel Cormier, Volk revealed, “I just want to say to the UFC, please keep me busy; I don’t do well when I’m not fighting. I needed to take this fight because it’s doing my head in when I’m not fighting. So please keep me busy”.
So, it seems Volkanovski had some deep reasons to accept the fight against Islam. Fans would not complain, as a rematch between the two is what they wanted after their intense first fight.
Alexander Volkanovski wants Ilia Topuria next
After losing to Islam Makhachev for the second time, Alexander Volkanovski is done with the lightweight division for now. He plans to take on top featherweight contender Ilia Topuria in January next year for yet another 145-lbs title defense.
“I need to be busy,” Volkanovski said. “Again, it’s just that I think my purpose obviously now is family and fighting. When I’m not fighting, I don’t feel like I’m ticking all the boxes,” he added.
As for the champion, Islam Makhachev, there’s no clear opponent ahead of him for his next title defense. While the bout with Oliveira might be rescheduled, former interim champion Justin Gaethje is also patiently biding his time, poised for an opportunity to challenge the Dagestani.
However, the 31-year-old Islam does not care much about who his next opponent is; he said in the post-fight interview that he is not the one who likes to choose his fights. Do let us know in the comments what’s next for Islam Makhachev and Alexander Volkanovski.