And still the champion! Monster Energy congratulates Islam Makhachev on defeating Alexander Volkanovski to retain the UFC’s Lightweight World Championship title at UFC 284 in Perth, Australia. In Saturday night’s Main Event fight inside RAC Arena, the 31-year-old from Makhachkala, Dagestan, went the distance for five rounds to defend his belt by unanimous decision (49-46, 48-47, 48-47). The epic battle also earned the UFC’s ‘Fight of the Night’ bonus, with a $50,000 payout for each fighter.
Monster Energy’s Makhachev (24-1) stepped into the Octagon as the reigning UFC Lightweight World Champion after submitting Charles Oliveira at UFC 280 in October 2022. His first title defense involved high stakes and a notorious opponent: Australia’s Alexander Volkanovski (25-2) came into the fight undefeated in his UFC career and on a 22-fight win streak.
Currently, the UFC’s reigning Featherweight World Champion, Volkanovski, stepped up a weight class to compete for the Lightweight division belt against Makhachev for a shot at a historic double-division title reign. With Volkanovski ranked as the UFC’s No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter and Makhachev a close No.2 on the rankings, the 155-pound fight had all the makings of a UFC classic… and it sure delivered!
Right from the start, both fighters launched into the fight aggressively. Volkanovski unleashed jabs at the reigning champ, and Makhachev fired back with a flurry of hooks and heavy kicks, before securing a takedown for the upper hand in Round 1.
The second round saw Volkanovski knocking Makhachev off balance with a heavy right, only to be taken down immediately for the second time. Later in the round, Makhachev came through with a clean right hook that visibly rocked the Australian and found openings for grappling in Round 3, although unable to score a submission.
As the fight entered the championship rounds, both fighters remained on the offensive and traded blows back-and-forth. Again, Makhachev brought Volkanovski to the ground and controlled the challenger for most of the round, but faced impeccable submission defense trying to lock in a chokehold. After the fifth round brought more back and forth assaults on the feet, the judges went to their scorecards to pronounce Makhachev the winner by unanimous decision (49-46, 48-47, 48-47).
Defeating Volkanovski in front of a hometown crowd, Makhachev mastered the toughest test of his career and is expected to move to the top of pound-for-pound rankings. He retained his UFC Lightweight Championship title, bringing his current win streak to twelve consecutive victories.
“Doesn’t matter how I won today. Now, I’m not just the champion, I’m the best fighter in the world. I’m very happy. Now people are going to call me not just champ, but the best fighter in the world. This is my dream!” said Monster Energy’s Makhachev after his victory at UFC 284 in Australia on Saturday night.
Hailing from Dagestan, Russia, Makhachev is the former Combat Sambo World Champion at 74 kilograms. He made his UFC debut in 2015 at UFC 187. After a series of victories and spectacular submissions, he was invited to fight for the vacant UFC Lightweight Championship title against Brazilian Charles Oliveira at UFC 280 in October 2022 – and took home the win. Makhachev just defeated his title for the first time against Volkanovski at UFC 284. Stay tuned!