- The UFC lightweight title rematch between Islam Makhachev and Alexander Volkanovski will headline UFC 294.
- Makhachev is the betting favorite at -275.
- Volkanovski is the betting underdog at +200.
The upcoming UFC 294 pay-per-view event experienced a massive shake-up as title challenger and former lightweight champion Charles Oliveira was forced out of the main event title match against reigning UFC Lightweight Champion Islam Makhachev due to a nasty injury he sustained during the tail end of his preparation for the fight.
Fortunately, Makhachev received another rightful challenger in Alexander Volkanovski, who accepted the call-up from the promotion to replace Oliveira with days’ notice. It will be the second meeting between Makhachev and Volkanovski after the former defeated the latter in February 2023 to successfully defend his belt.
— UFC (@ufc) October 16, 2023
Makhachev is the betting favorite in UFC odds at -275 because he has previously defeated Volkanovski, who takes on the betting underdog role at +200. The Australian’s short training camp for this rematch is also one of the main reasons why he is the considerable betting underdog. This lightweight clash goes down this Saturday, Oct. 21, inside the Etihad Arena in Yas Island, United Arab Emirates.
Islam Makhachev Recent Fight Results
Makhachev was an undefeated prospect when he joined the UFC in 2015, parading a perfect record of 11 wins with seven finishes. He made his promotional debut in May 2015 and submitted Leo Kuntz in the second round of their fight. However, he received early adversity as Adriano Martins handed him his first career loss in October 2015 when he was knocked out in the opening round.
Following that loss, the 31-year-old has collected 10 straight victories in the UFC to earn a world title fight with Oliveira in October 2022. Makhachev submitted the Brazilian in the second round of their showdown to become the undisputed champion of the 155-pound division. He made a successful first title defense in February 2023 by beating Volkanovski unanimously.
— UFC (@ufc) February 12, 2023
Alexander Volkanovski Recent Fight Results
Before joining the UFC, Volkanovski already had an incredible MMA record of 13 wins and one loss. He made his debut in November 2016 against Yusuke Kasuya via second-round TKO. Six wins after that triumphant UFC debut, Volkanovski challenged Max Holloway for the UFC featherweight title and maximized the opportunity by unanimously beating him. From there, the 35-year-old made an excellent case for himself as the greatest featherweight champion ever.
The Australian made four successive title defenses of his 145-pound belt before moving up to the 155-pound division and challenging Makhachev in February 2023 in an attempt to become the latest two-division UFC champion. But he received a tough decision loss to the Russian. Volkanovski made another title defense against Yair Rodriguez in July 2023 with a third-round TKO to remain king of the featherweights.
— UFC (@ufc) July 9, 2023
Islam Makhachev vs. Alexander Volkanovski 2: Tale of the Tape
Islam Makhachev vs. Alexander Volkanovski 2: Fight Analysis
Since this is their second meeting, the advantages of each fighter on paper will be thrown out the window. Instead, let’s dive into what transpired in their first fight, how they each found success in different junctures of the match, and how they should double down on it to get the victory this Saturday.
Makhachev imposed his Sambo fighting base over Volkanovski by securing four of his nine takedown attempts, translating to 44% accuracy. This also led to a total of seven minutes and 37 seconds of control time. The defending champion dominated the grappling department in the first and fourth rounds.
Aside from this dominance in grappling, Makhachev was also efficient in striking, with 60% of his significant strikes landing on Volkanovski. He landed 57 of his 95 significant strikes throughout the fight. The most strikes he landed in the five-round bout was during the second round, with 19 out of his 32 strikes being on target.
On the other hand, Volkanovski imposed his work rate over Makhachev with more significant strike attempts of 143 and landed 70 of them for a total of 48% accuracy. The challenger delivered more significant strikes on the champion in the first, third, and fifth rounds to neutralize the gap in the grappling and make the fight close to the judges’ scorecards.
Volkanovski also stopped five of the nine takedown attempts, which was one of the best outputs from everyone who previously fought Makhachev. This allowed “The Great” to push the match to the final round, where he had his best round and scored a massive knockdown that almost finished Makhachev with a ground-and-pound in the fading seconds.
The game plan for each fighter will again be obvious for this rematch: Makhachev going for the takedown and maneuvering his way into a submission, and Volkanovski keeping the fight on the feet to light up the champion with his elite striking and power. Something tells me that Volkanovski is coming with a vengeance and will get the job done this time.
Official Prediction TKO/KO victory for Alexander Volkanovski.
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