Islam Makhachev beats Alexander Volkanovski to defend UFC lightweight title – Orange County Register

PERTH, Australia (AP) — Islam Makhachev defied a rowdy crowd and a sustained challenge from Alexander Volkanovski on Sunday to cement his supremacy in the UFC lightweight division in a grueling fight in Perth, Western Australia.

In the UFC 284 main event, Makhachev defended his 155-pound belt with a unanimous decision, taking the title of top pound-for-pound fighter from Australian featherweight champion Volkanovski, who saw his 22-win streak end.

“I showed why I’m number one. I’m the best fighter in the world right now,” said the Russian as cheers went up in front of a sold-out 13,000 spectators in the RAC Arena.

Makhachev (24 wins, one loss) had to fend off a furious challenge from 34-year-old Volkanovski, but his grappling and wrestling skills proved enough.

A former concrete worker and rugby league player, Volkanovski impressed as he climbed a league. He landed several punches and dominated for stretches of the competition but fell in his second loss of 27 bouts.

Among the other fights on the main card, Mexican Yair Rodriguez choked American Josh Emmett to become interim featherweight champion.

“I’ve dreamed of this moment since I was a kid,” Rodriguez said before holding up his championship belt.

The 30-year-old, who earned the surrender in the second round, will face Volkanovski at a later date.

New Zealand’s Justin Tafa defeated American Parker Porter in the first round of the heavyweight bout after landing a right uppercut.

At welterweight, Perth hometown hero Jack Della Maddalena defeated Jamaican Randy Brown by submission.

It was the first UFC event in Australia since the COVID-19 pandemic, which has seen the country face tight border controls for most of 2020 and 2021. Islam Makhachev beats Alexander Volkanovski to defend UFC lightweight title – Orange County Register

Russell Falcon

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