Alex Volkanovski coach says ‘The Great’ is showing ‘scary stuff’ ahead of Islam Makhachev fight

By Andrew Whitelaw - January 27, 2023

Alexander Volkanovski vs Islam Makhachev is about as high-level a fight as you’re ever going to get in mixed martial arts.

There’s a reason the pair are ranked in the top 2 sports on the men’s pound-for-pound ranking list. Volkanovski has racked up an incredible winning streak of 22. Makhachev was won 11 in a row. These two absolute monsters will go toe-to-toe in the main event at UFC 284 in Perth. The Australian fighter has all but cleared out the featherweight division, and now he’ll have a chance to make history as the first man from Down Under to hold two UFC titles concurrently.

Makhachev won the lightweight belt at UFC 280 in Abu Dhabi. He did so in impressive fashion, by submitting Charles Oliveira – a man who’d been tapping out people for fun until that point. This will be the Dagestani’s first defence of the 155 lb title, but Volkanovski’s coach says his charge is showing the kind of form that’s fully ready to handle the lightweight champ. Speaking in an interview with Submission Radio, coach Joe Lopez said,

“The way Alex (Volkanovski) is training at the moment and the guys he’s training with and he’s holding his own or even dominating some of those guys. Yeah, it’s scary stuff. Islam (Makhachev), he’s a great opponent and everything else but so is Alex…I’m not taking him lightly like I never take anyone lightly, but, I think we’re gonna get out hand raised in the end.” (h/t Sportskeeda)

As a protege of Khabib Nurmagomedov and hailing from the wrestling hotbed that is the Caucasus region, Makhachev is considered to be one of the best grapplers in the UFC. Volkanovski has climbed to the top of the pile at 145 lb by being exceptionally well-rounded, and the champ and his team are not worried about fighting on the ground.

“Well, we expect to be taken down. yeah, 100%. We are not worried of being taken down. We expect to be taken down,” said Lopez. “It’s just whether Islam can hold us down. That is the key, you know. We’re not going there thinking it’s a bad thing. I mean it comes back to, you know, the Chad Mendes fight, you know. Everyone was saying, you know, he is not going to have Chad Mendes’s wrestling and everything else and we went with the same mindset, Chad is going to get us down but he’s not going to hold us down and that’s exactly what happened,” added Volkanovski’s mentor.

The sage is set for an absolute cracker. Who takes it?

Islam Makhachev, Alexander Volkanovski