Volkanovski Says He Will Not ‘Tap’ Or Go To ‘Sleep’ – But Is It A Winnable Fight?
Tonight will be by far Alexander Volkanovski‘s challenge of his career – and he’s confident he will not lose via submission.
Like his opponent Islam Makhachev, he has just one in his MMA career.
Just months ago, Makhachev won the lightweight belt and beat former 155 champion Charles Oliveira.
Volkanovski has four belt defenses – which is the second-highest in featherweight history.
The Australian native’s resume includes beating one of the most respected fighters in the game Max Holloway three times (one was controversial) and Brian Ortega, who is a black belt in Jiu-Jitsu.
Volkanovski’s fight style matches up well against anyone – but there are two major things for what makes him an underdog in this fight against Makhachev.
Firstly, moving up in weight is never easy.
And this is a double whammy when he’s put up against Makhachev, whose grappling game is just as good as anyone’s.
While he isn’t quite as good as arguably the greatest lightweight of all-time Khabib Nurmagomedov, he’s the same type of fighter that isn’t afraid to stand up and box or wrestle.
Although Makhachev is primarily aiming to take his opponents down and make life miserable with the ground and pound before submitting them.
He made it look easy and wasn’t afraid to go to the ground with Oliveira, who has the most submission wins in UFC history with 16.
But Volkanovski thinks he’s well prepared and said he will be put in that kind of situation.
“I had one of the best grapplers in the world put me in these positions for 16 weeks straight – a bigger strong guy than [Machacehv],” Volkanovski said in a UFC press conference.
And he added, “I ain’t tapping, I ain’t going to sleep, I’m getting out and I’m putting hands on him.”
And Volkanovski has already proven it at least once in his UFC career.
In one of his most recent fights, Ortega had what appeared to be two triangle and guillotine chokes locked in tightly – but Volkanovski stayed claim and somehow escaped them both.
While it seems inevitable that Makhachev will get him on the ground at least once, Volkanovski must convincingly win the exchanges on the feet to have a chance to become the eight-ever UFC double champion.
And he is quick and precise enough where he absolutely can.
It will just come down to how long and often will Volkanovski be able to keep Makhachev off him for.
Machacehv is a -400 favorite at UFC 284 – but tonight will be a treat for UFC fans.
Tonight’s main UFC card will start at 10 p.m. ET and can be watched on ESPN+ for $74.99.
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