Alexander Volkanovski will look to approach things differently in his rematch vs. Islam Makhachev.
Alexander Volkanovski (26-2 MMA, 13-1 UFC) steps in on short notice to challenge lightweight champion Makhachev (24-1 MMA, 13-1 UFC) in Saturday’s UFC 294 main event at Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi. The main card airs on pay-per-view at a special time of 2 p.m. ET following prelims on ESPN+.
In their first fight, Alexander Volkanovski was edged out by Makhachev in a tightly contested unanimous decision loss at UFC 284. He plans on ramping up the aggression and going for the finish when they run things back.
“Obviously, I showed him a lot of respect which he deserves that respect, but I could have backed myself a little earlier,” Alexander Volkanovski told MMA Junkie. “Where this time, at least I got to figure that out because now, it’s perfect timing, I can’t afford to show him that respect. I need to go out there, and I need to go for the finish.
“I want to go out there and finish him. I feel like I can go the five rounds anyway, but let’s not even worry about that. Let’s go out there and really set a statement, which is going to be massive for the legacy, and that will get people talking.”
Makhachev’s over seven minutes of control time was vital in swaying the judges in his favor. Volkanovski expects Makhachev to try and take him down again, but warns him not to rely on him tiring out.
“I guarantee you he’s going to try and grapple again because I plan on putting heavy hands, and knees, and kicks, and whatnot on him,” Alexander Volkanovski said. “And I think he’s going to think his best bet is to try and slow me down, and try to take me to the later rounds. Or, because I haven’t had this camp, hope that I slow down but, I don’t slow down.”
Alexander Volkanovski’s perfect scenario is a finish – and he can see it happening quickly.
“Knockout,” Volkanovski said. “Early, early stoppage.”