Alexander Volkanovski doubts Islam Makhachev does anything risky in their fight at UFC 284 on Saturday.
Ahead of his first defense, the UFC lightweight champion feels confident he can stay on the feet and knock Volkanovski out. Though he shines on the ground, the Khabib Nurmagomedov protégé wants to show his striking is on par with his wrestling.
“Honestly, I want to knock him out,” said Makhachev in an interview with Carlos Contreras Legaspi of ESPN Deportes. “Everybody says Islam is a grappler or wrestler, but I want to show people my striking. He is a short guy, and I really believe I can knock him out.”
Volkanovski has his doubts, though. For the UFC featherweight champion, there would be no reason for Makhachev to take such a risk.
“He’s a very calculated fighter,” said Volkanovski at media day (video provided by MMA Fighting). “He doesn’t take unnecessary risks. Him coming looking for a knockout, that’s an unnecessary risk. He won’t be doing that.”
As for the type of fight he expects, Volkanovski says it should be straightforward.
“He doesn’t take unnecessary risks,” said Volkanovski. “That’s the proper way of doing it. We all know what they’re good at and what they want to do. They’re calculated in that sense. You’ve seen some people say that he can strike, [his striking] is underrated, but then you seen a lot of people that say it’s not good. But it is calculated. That’s something that he does very well.
“He doesn’t overcommit too much,” continued Volkanovski. “He does sometimes, but he will fight on the back foot and wait for the right time to shoot and things like that. His distance game isn’t too bad. So little things like that he does well. Like I said, he’s calculated.”
UFC 284 goes down on Sat., Feb. 11, at the RAC Arena in Perth, Australia.
About the author: Kristen King is a writer for Bloody Elbow. She has covered combat sports since 2016. (full bio)
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