This past Saturday night in the headliner of UFC 284, we saw a champion versus champion showcase for the lightweight title. P4P king and featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski (25-2) moved up to lightweight to challenge Islam Makhachev (24-1).
Many people entering the bout thought that Makhachev would be too strong and would ultimately control the smaller Volkanovski. However, I had a hunch that Volkanovski was going to walk away Saturday night with double champ status.
In the opening round, Makhachev was able to land some nice shots and get a takedown that earned him the round. In the second round, Makhachev briefly got Volkanovski down, but couldn’t keep the featherweight champion down. The second round could’ve gone either way, but I leaned Volkanovski.
In the third round, Volkanovski kept the fight standing and I believe landed the better shots. Two of the three judges rightfully awarded him the round. In the fourth round, Makhachev got a takedown the back of Volkanovski. He’s being criticized a little today because he literally didn’t do anything after getting that position.
No strikes or submission attempts. He just held the back mount for nearly four minutes. The fifth round was all Volkanovski and he dropped the lightweight champion. Going to the scorecards, I thought it could go either way, but I personally thought Volkanovski did enough to win at UFC 284.
Volk won more than he lost at UFC 284
Ultimately, all three judges gave the fight to Makhachev. Makhachev keeps his lightweight title and will now likely take the top spot in the UFC’s P4P rankings. However, I don’t think he walks away the winner in terms of public opinion.
Yes, he kept his title. However, the story is more about Volkanovski. This is a wildly different example, but think of Nate Diaz – Leon Edwards. Edwards dominated most of the fight, but Diaz won in the court of public opinion after nearly finishing Edwards in the final round.
Volkanovski and Makhachev were basically even throughout the whole fight and Volk beat down Makhachev in the final round. While he didn’t get the status he wanted, I still believe he deserves to be the P4P #1 in the UFC rankings despite the official loss on his record.