Islam Makhachev defeats Alexander Volkanovski at UFC 284 to retain lightweight belt

Islam Makhachev defeated Alexander Volkanovski via unanimous decision (48-47, 48-47, 49-46) to retain the lightweight belt at UFC 284 on Saturday night in Perth, Australia. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Makhachev (24-1), a close friend and training partner of legendary fighter Khabib Nurmagomedov, has now won 12 fights in a row.
  • The win ensures he is now named the world’s No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter.
  • Volkanovski (25-2) suffered his first loss since May 2013 and his first since joining the UFC in November 2016. He was on a 22-fight win streak when he entered the fight.

What does this mean for Makhachev’s legacy?

If we didn’t think he had superstar potential, tonight showed it. Makhachev possesses a nearly unbeatable ground play and mauls opponents until they submit or tap. We haven’t seen such ruthless skill on the mat since Nurmagomedov retired in 2020. His standup game also appears to be stronger than many thought. Makhachev seems destined for greatness. —Rosenstein

What next for Makhachev and Volkanovski?

There are plenty of intriguing lightweight matchups, but Charles Oliveira’s winner against Beneil Dariush, who is rumored to be an upcoming fight, makes sense for his next title defense. Makhachev previously fought Oliveira, who was close early on before the Dagestani took control of the mat. Dariush is on an eight-fight win streak against some of the toughest guys in the division. Both would be fun matchups, but I’d pick Makhachev in either of them. —Rosenstein

(Photo: Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images) Islam Makhachev defeats Alexander Volkanovski at UFC 284 to retain lightweight belt

Russell Falcon

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