READ MORE: Check out our free UFC tips from the biggest fights
UFC 284 Tips & Predictions: Islam Makhachev v Alexander Volkanovski
UFC lightweight champion Islam Makhachev will defend his title for the first time at UFC 284 in Australia as Alexander Volkanovski moves to a decision in a bid to become a double champion.
Before I tell you about my pick for the fight, I need to say I think Volkanovski is an amazing fighter and a deserving champion of the featherweight belt, but I think he is out of his depth in this fight.
Makhavhev is a born-ready lightweight fighter and has a professional record of 24 fights, 23 wins and one defeat. His only loss came in October 2015 at UFC 192 when he was knocked out by Adriano Martins.
Since then, he has won 11 consecutive fights and he claimed the vacant belt with a submission victory over Charles Oliveira at UFC 280.
Volkanovski is a natural in the featherweight division and he has the possibility to rule that division for as long as he wants – I just don’t fancy his chances against Makhachev.
The Perth crowd will be fully behind Volkanovski, but they will not get into Makhachev’s head. He will use it as motivation to get the win by submission late on.
Volkanovski will give as good as he gets, but back Makhachev to get the stoppage in the fifth and final round.
UFC 284 Tips & Predictions: Islam Makhachev v Alexander Volkanovski Fighter's Predictions
Alexander Volkanovski: “I love challenging myself. I love putting myself in this position. I think people should always do that in life. If you want to be successful, challenge yourself. It’s going to make you stronger, trust me. I’m twice the man I was before I started this camp, because I knew the challenge ahead of me. I am not scared of the challenge. I know I can rise to the occasion. I know it’s going to make me better. That’s what people remember. He’ll sit there and say I’m crazy for stepping up and all that, I think that’s weak looking at it that way. You should challenge yourself. You should put yourself in these positions. Don’t look at what might happen if things go wrong — let’s look at what happens if things go right. Sunday, it’s going to go right and I’m going to be champ-champ. Supposedly he doesn’t really respect me as an opponent. He’s thinking that I’m going to be easy. I hope he did his research like we did cause you need to. This is two of the best going at it and I’m going to prove I am the best and I’m going show you why I deserve that No. 1 pound-for-pound.”
Islam Makhachev: “Because I am the champion, and this is 155 [pounds] – this is not his area. This is other power, other division, I’m going to beat him easy. Of course, I respect him. He’s [No. 1] pound-for-pound, but many people say Islam is the best fighter in the world right now, and Sunday morning I’m going to show you why the people think this. Alex is good.”