AND STILL! Islam Makhachev Ends Volkanovski Rivalry with First-Round Headkick KO

AND STILL! Islam Makhachev Ends Volkanovski Rivalry with First-Round Headkick KO

Timothy JamesTimothy James
October 21, 2023

Islam Makhachev defeats Alexander Volkanovski via KO at UFC 294

The questions have been answered. Islam Makhachev put an emphatic stamp on his rivalry with UFC featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski – knocking him out with a head kick in the very first round.

Makhachev stated his desire to finish Volkanovski this time around, although it seemed like his gameplan was to use his submission game. Volkanovski stuffed his only takedown attempt – with the smaller man even winning some exchanges in the clinch. However, the fight was decided on the feet – with Makhachev landing the decisive blow.

Many believed that Volkanovski had the secret sauce to hand Makhachev his first loss in 12 fights after their first encounter at UFC 284 ended in a razor-close decision – but the judges were not needed in the rematch. It was a shocking ending for the fans who believed that Volk presented the most problems for Makhachev, despite the fact that the featherweight kingpin accepted the fight on only 12 days notice.

Makhachev was gracious in victory – and made it clear that it doesn’t matter who’s in front of him. Whether it’s Charles Oliveira, Justin Gaethje, or someone else – Makhachev will be ready.

As for Volkanovski, it was a bitter pill to swallow. Still, Volk demonstrated nothing but class in his post-fight interview, giving his respect to Makhachev and thanking the Abu Dhabi fans.

Amazingly, Volk expressed his desire to still fight in January against top featherweight contender Ilia Topuria. As a medical suspension is expected, that fight may be in jeopardy after Volk’s knockout loss. With January only a few months away, there may be an interim featherweight title fight coming up.

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