Islam Makachev (31, Russia) knocked out Alexander Volkanovskiy (35, Australia) in the first round of their rematch, putting an end to their rivalry.
Makachev finished featherweight champion Volkanovski with a high kick followed by a hammerfist at 3:06 of the first round in the main event of UFC 294: Makachev vs. Volkanovski 2 at Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Nov. 22.
The finish came as promised. Makachev had vowed to finish this fight to wash away the judging controversy that followed his last victory.
It was a carefully laid trap. From the start, Makachev targeted the legs with inside low kicks and the abdomen with front and middle kicks. Volkanovsky gradually began to look downward. At this point, Makachev landed a high kick. Volkanovsky, who was slow to react in anticipation of the middle kick, blocked it with one hand, but the kick went through his guard and landed on his head.
Staggering, Volkanovsky lost his center and went down. Makachev jumped right in and landed a series of eight hammerfists to the head with the base of his fist, and when Volkanovsky couldn’t recover, referee Revere called for the end of the fight. Volkanovsky’s face was unusually bloody.
It was Volkanovski’s first knockout in 10 years and five months, since he was knocked out by Corey Nelson in May 2013, and many fans were shocked.
“We always practiced this technique in training, and my teammates pushed me hard,” Makachev said in the post-fight interview. That’s why this KO happened today,” he explained. “I showed Volkanovski a few low and body kicks, then switched to high kicks. I’ve been preparing for (Charles) Oliveira for the last few months, and I didn’t do anything different for Volkanovski.”
He also thanked Volkanovski for accepting the short-term offer and saving the fight. When former UFC lightweight champion Charles Oliveira (34, Brazil) pulled out 12 days before the event, Volkanovski immediately accepted a replacement offer. “I’m grateful to Volkanovski,” Makachev said. He is a real champion, he never gives up,” Makachev said.스포츠토토
The loser Volkanovsky admitted that accepting the short-term replacement offer was a mistake on his part. “I’m a big believer in the need to prepare for matches,” he said in a tearful post-match press conference. But I made this decision because I believed in myself. Maybe I could have made a better decision. Makachev was never an opponent who could be fought with short offers,” he regretted.
With this victory, Makachev ended his controversial rivalry with Volkanovsky once and for all. Makachev’s next move is to move up to welterweight (77.1 kg), where he hopes to become a double champion. However, he said, “I never pick my opponents,” suggesting that he could defend his lightweight title against whoever the UFC presents.
UFC CEO Dana White (54, USA) has expressed interest in pursuing a rematch between Makachev and Oliveira. Makachev defeated Oliveira via second-round arm-triangle submission at UFC 280 last October.
“I’ll just sign the contract. It won’t be any different than last time, just a different name,” he said. Oliveira is going to get tired and give up. I’ll finish him with a choke submission or strikes,” he said.
Meanwhile, in the co-main event, Hamzat Chimayev (29, UAE) defeated former UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman (36, Nigeria/USA) to earn an immediate title shot upon moving up to middleweight (83.9 kg).