Jul 8, 2023; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; Alexander Volkanovski (red gloves) prior to the fight against Yair Rodriguez (blue gloves) during UFC 290 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Makhachev Triumphs in First-Round Knockout at UFC 294

Lightweight Champion Makhachev Defends Title Against Volkanovski in Stunning Victory

Makhachev Dominates with First-Round Knockout, Defending Title Against Volkanovski at UFC 294

In a stunning display of sheer power, Islam Makhachev knocked out Alexander Volkanovski in the first round, defending his lightweight title at UFC 294, Saturday, in Abu Dhabi. Makhachev, maintaining his position atop the pound-for-pound rankings, solidified his reign in the lightweight category, leaving Volkanovski grappling with only the third loss of his career.

Volkanovski, stepping in for Charles Oliveira on short notice, couldn’t counter Makhachev’s brutal head-kick three minutes into the fight, marking his second defeat by knockout. The fierce competition was a rematch following Makhachev’s prior unanimous decision victory over Volkanovski at UFC 284. Makhachev’s triumph extends his winning streak to 13 consecutive fights, underscoring his dominance since capturing the lightweight title at UFC 280.

Reflecting on the loss, Volkanovski expressed his internal turmoil and motivation behind accepting the fight,

“I needed a fight. This opportunity came up… I wasn’t training as much as I should’ve, but I thought I had to do it… I was struggling a bit not fighting, doing my head in. You just need to keep busy,” he confided post-fight. The featherweight champ, still holding his title, emphasized his need for continual competition, revealing, “When I’m not fighting, I don’t feel like I’m ticking all the boxes.”

Despite the setback, Volkanovski’s spirit remains unbroken, eyeing future bouts to regain his momentum.

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