This weekend UFC 294 will be scheduled at Abu Dhabi between Featherweight Champion Alexander Volkanovsky and Lightweight Champion Islam Makachev on October 21. This card will be one of the biggest and most entertaining cards of the year.
After a few big changes, this card looks even better than ever. The withdrawal of Charles Olivera and Paulo Costa from main and co-main events respectively, Alexander Volkanovsky and former Welterweight Champion Kamaru Usman will feature in the card.
Alexander Volkanovsky and Islam Makachev fought before in the UFC 284 where the latter received a decision victory. But the fight was very close and even in later rounds comparatively smaller fighter (Volkanovsky) dominated the fight. But now the question arises if Alexander Volkanovsky can beat Islam Makachev in a rematch or not. Let’s find out:
UFC 294: Alexander Volkanovsky vs Islam Makachev Preview and Prediction
The headliner of the evening at first scheduled between Charles Olivera and Islam Makachev. But due to the unexpected injury of Olivera just one week before the fight, UFC had to replace him with immediate action. Only Justin Gaethje at this moment deserves a title shot but will he take the risk to fight Islam Makachev on short notice and lose the title fight three times within a span of 3 years? Probably not.
In such a situation, to save the card UFC had to bend towards Featherweight champ Volkanovsky, who was preparing for a fight against Ilia Tapuria. Having a dream to become a two-division champion and finish the domination for Dagestani wrestlers, Volkanovsky didn’t take much time to accept the fight.
Since their last meeting in UFC 284 back in February, Islam Makachev hasn’t fought a single fight whereas Volkanovsky defended his belt in the 145 division against Yair Rodriguez and he looked as good as ever he has been before.
Can Alexander Volkanovsky beat Islam Makachev in UFC 294?
But the question is if Volkanovsky is prepared enough to outclass the dominant Dagestani fighter. In a fight, the game plan is not enough, you need proper fitness level and body conditioning as well. You should remember the fact that Volkanovsky will not fight in his own division, he will fight in a division upper which is another challenge.
Volkanovsky is a short but very powerful technical striker with a good ground game. Not many fighters in the UFC can match the strength of Islam Makachev. Being a smaller guy, Volkanovsky can match his strength and we have seen it before. In their first fight, Alex knocked down Islam Makachev in the fifth round, and later in an interview he revealed that he felt he could knock out Makachev and probably Alex will go for a knock-out this time.
On the contrary, Islam Makachev is a very powerful wrestler with a good stand-up game. His cardio is on point always. He loves to mix his wrestling, Judo, and Sambo with his strike and take the opponent down and finish him. If we look at the first fight between them, we can notice Islam Makachev dominated the first few rounds. Maybe because Alex respected his power and ground game too much. But in later rounds, we have seen Volkanovsky did well-adjustments and knocked him down.
We have to remember the fact that, Khabib and Islam Makachev are both different fighters. Though they trained together, Islam Makachev is the more complete fighter with a better stand-up game. But the one thing that goes against him is his chin. Khabib has a very strong chin which saw against Justin Gaethje and Edson Barboza but Islam’s chin is not that strong enough. We have seen previously Islam got knocked out and knocked down. So, if Alex can check Islam’s wrestling in the first few rounds, he has the ability to knock Islam out in the later rounds. After all, Alexander Volkanovsky is known for his superior fight IQ and adjustments between the fights.
Alexander Volkanovsky by fourth-round TKO.