Alexander Volkanovski's jiu-jitsu coach, Craig Jones, has praised Islam Makhachev's grappling prowess, shares plans of 'reverse engineering' tactics for title fight

Alexander Volkanovski’s jiu-jitsu coach, Craig Jones, has praised Islam Makhachev’s grappling prowess. With Volkanovski set to fight Makhachev next year, Jones has his work cut out for him over the next few months.

In a recent episode of B-team Jiu-Jitsu, Jones addressed Makhachev’s grappling ability and the upcoming superfight between Volkanovski and the Russian at UFC 284 in February.

Speaking on the lightweight champion’s potent threat on the mat, Jones said:

“I think Makhachev’s grappling is superior to what a lot of other traditional jiu-jitsu guys do. Because they don’t know how to hold someone down. They have no idea how to do it.”

Outlining Volkanovski’s preparations for the bout, Jones added:

“So we’ve really got to reverse engineer what Makhachev’s doing… Volkanovski’s already really good against the fence to get up.”

Islam Makhachev is widely regarded among the best grapplers in the UFC. In 2021, the Dagestani lightweight submitted Drew Dober, Thiago Moises and Dan Hooker to vault himself into the upper echelons of the division. Last month, he won the UFC 155-pound title with a submission win over Charles Oliveira, the promotional record-holder for most submission victories.

Soon after Makhachev’s win over Oliveira, the Russian called for a fight against reigning featherweight king Alexander Volkanovski. With the lightweight title and No.1 pound-for-pound status on the line, the duo will square off at UFC 284 next year.

Catch Craig Jones’ take on Islam Makhachev’s grappling below:

Alexander Volkanovski believes Islam Makhachev is underestimating him

After winning the lightweight title at UFC 280, in his post-fight interview with Daniel Cormier, Islam Makhachev called out Alexander Volkanovski for his first title defense. The betting lines have now opened for the champion vs. champion bout scheduled for next year, with Makhachev opening as a massive favorite.

In a recent interview with Submission Radio, Volkanovski gave his take on the matchup and reiterated his belief that Makhachev and his team are underestimating him:

“It’s funny, I feel like he’s underestimating me in a sense where I’m just a featherweight, a small featherweight. How am I gonna be able to handle his strength?”

Speaking on his ability to neutralize Makhachev’s grappling prowess, Volkanovski added:

“That’s how he’s looking at it… When he tries to grab a hold of me, realizes, ‘Oh sh*t! This man isn’t as weak as I thought,’ struggles to get me down, or even when he does get me down and I start getting back up… Mentally, he’s breaking. This stuff is going to get to him because that’s not what he’s expecting.”

Watch Alexander Volkanovski’s full interview on Submission Radio below:

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