Islam Makhachev Reveals What 'Surprised' Him About Alexander Volkanovski Ahead Of UFC 294 Rematch

Though many debate over who should have won the main event of UFC 284 this past February, there can be no denying that Alexander Volkanovski defied expectations with his display in Perth.

Going up to lightweight to challenge Islam Makhachev in an attempt to become a two-weight world champion, Volkanovski put up a great fight despite losing via unanimous decision.

At UFC 294 this Saturday, he will once again look to exceed the consensus opinion by dethroning Makhachev on less than two weeks’ notice in their highly anticipated rematch.

In a recent fight week interview with Daniel Cormier, Makhachev spoke about their fight eight months ago, revealing that while he didn’t underestimate Alexander “The Great” the first time around, he was surprised by one aspect of his game. 

“Not underestimated but I’m surprised (by) his wrestling skills, his grappling skills,” Makhachev said. “But I’m not underestimating because he’s a champion. That moment he is a pound-for-pound king. Not everyone can be pound-for-pound.”

Makhachev Says Volkanovski Has ‘Zero Chance’ Of Finishing Him

Due to a combination of what he learned from the first fight and taking this rematch on late notice, Volkanovski has spoken a lot about trying to get the finish on Saturday.

Despite the back-and-forth nature of the February fight, the Aussie believes he may have given his opponent too much respect. With that in mind, pushing the action more could be key this time around.

That being said, stopping the dominant champion is far easier said than done, as the challenger found out on home soil earlier this year.

Makhachev responded to Volkanovski’s pre-fight comments during the interview with Cormier by pointing out that opponents believing in their ability to finish him is nothing new.

“It make me feel the same, brother. Everybody from my last, how many opponents, everybody want to finish me, kill me, do something, but I won all those,” Makhachev said. “Zero chance for this. Who can finish me? No one. No lightweight, no welterweight, no one.”     

Please provide transcription credit with a link to this article if you use any of these quotes.

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