Alexander Volkanovski vs. Islam Makhachev delivered on everyone’s expectations and more. The mega-fight between two of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world lasted all five rounds, with both combatants fighting out tooth and nail to get their hands raised.
The fight is already in the conversation for a potential ‘Fight of the Year’ honors, and it’s only February. Alexander Volkanovski once again demonstrated why he is a force to be reckoned with by shattering Makhachev’s perception of invincibility. He fought bravely for five rounds, even managing to hurt the Dagestani on several occasions.
As the clock ticked around the four-minute mark of the final round, Volkanovski landed a punch that visibly rocked Makhachev and sent him to the ground. The crowd exploded as Volkanovski rained down ground-and-pound until the final bell.
With experts and fans alike unsure of exactly which way the judges would lean, Makhachev’s name was announced – and down came the boos.
Islam Makhachev extends his winning streak to 12, a stretch that also includes victories over Charles Oliveira, Dan Hooker, and Arman Tsarukyan.
The defeat marks Alexander Volkanovski’s first in the UFC – and his first overall since May 2013. The loss snaps a 22-fight winning streak.
A member of the Hall of Fame and former UFC lightweight champion, Khabib Nurmagomedov, commented on the successful performance of Islam Makhachev, who defended the UFC lightweight championship belt in a confrontation with the best fighter of the organization, Alexander Volkanovski:
Simply the best 👊
This has been proven in a stubborn, competitive battle against the best active fighter on the planet.
There is always something to work on.
But this story will remain for a long time in this sport.
Just remember in your memory who led the rating of the best fighter regardless of the weight category from Eurasia in the history of mixed martial arts, there were only a couple of fighters and Islam is already on this list.
You are already history Brother @islam_makhachev
In the end, the judges scored the bout unanimously in favor of Makhachev.
Despite losing his status as the pound-for-pound best and falling short on his efforts to become a two-division champion, Alexander Volkanovski’s performance will go down in history as one of the most courageous efforts.
The Australian spoke truth to power and delivered a powerful message that success is forged in adversity.