Javier Mendez gives surprise prediction for Islam Makhachev vs. Alexander Volkanovski at UFC 284

American Kickboxing Academy coach Javier Mendez expects Alexander Volkanovski to go the full 25 minutes with Islam Makhachev.

Lightweight champion Makhachev (23-1 MMA, 12-1 UFC) will make his first title defense against featherweight champion Volkanovski (25-1 MMA, 12-0 UFC) in the UFC 284 main event Feb. 11 at RAC Arena in Perth, Australia.

Makhachev has finished his past five opponents, including a submission of Charles Oliveira to capture the vacant lightweight title at UFC 280. But his coach, Mendez, foresees a back-and-forth battle.

“I expect at the end of the day Islam Makhachev is going to be pound-for-pound the best fighter in the UFC or in the world,” Mendez said in an interview with Helen Yee. “After he beats Alex, which I’m expecting him to do, but not like people are thinking, like any kind of finish. I don’t like that. It’s going to be a five-round war.”

Volkanovski is expecting to get taken down by Makhachev but doesn’t see himself getting held down for too long. Makhachev disagrees and sees him panicking once it hits the ground – and Mendez understands why Makhachev said that.

“Once he grabs you, you’re not thinking that kind of strength, and he’s super strong,” Mendez said. “So yeah, I think it’s possible it could happen. But Alex should relax, because that’s the best weapon, but will he be able to relax when Islam takes him down? When he takes him down, because that’s gonna happen. In my opinion, there is no one in the lightweight division that’s gonna beat Islam outside of what anybody can. Anybody can win, but on a decision? No one’s gonna beat him.”

UFC 284 poster for return to Australia features pair of title fights

The UFC returns to Australia next month, and the official poster for the event touts the two title fights atop the bill.

In the UFC 284 main event in Perth, lightweight champion Islam Makhachev (23-1 MMA, 12-1 UFC) will put his title on the line for the first time when he takes on featherweight champ Alexander Volkanovski (25-1 MMA, 12-0 UFC), who will try to become a two-division titleholder in front of his home-country fans.

In the co-feature, because Volkanovski is moving up to lightweight instead of defending his own belt next, an interim 145-pound title bout was made between Yair Rodriguez (14-3 MMA, 9-2 UFC) and Josh Emmett (18-2 MMA, 9-2 UFC). The winner will be set up for an eventual title unification bout against Volkanovski.

UFC 284 takes place Feb. 11 at RAC Arena in Perth. The main card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on ESPN and ESPN+.

Check out the poster for the event and its two title fights below:

The latest UFC 284 lineup includes:

  • Champ Islam Makhachev vs. Alexander Volkanovski – for lightweight title
  • Yair Rodriguez vs. Josh Emmett – for interim featherweight title
  • Zhang Mingyang vs. Tyson Pedro
  • Jack Jenkins vs. Don Shainis
  • Parker Porter vs. Justin Tafa
  • Melsik Baghdasaryan vs. Josh Culibao
  • Jimmy Crute vs. Alonzo Menifield
  • Kleydson Rodrigues vs. Shannon Ross
  • Joel Alvarez vs. Zubaira Tukhugov
  • Loma Lookboonmee vs. Elise Reed
  • Blake Bilder vs. Shane Young
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