UFC 294 goes down this weekend in Abu Dhabi, and the headliner will mark an important one for the promotion’s featherweight champion.
For the second time this year, Volkanovski’s lofty ambitions on MMA’s biggest stage will take him to lightweight for a challenge against 155-pound titleholder Islam Makhachev.
The pair previously collided at UFC 284 in Perth this past February. While Volkanovski fell short on the scorecards in front of his home fans, he’ll look to exact revenge on the Dagestani in enemy territory.
In addition to location, the Australian’s second shot at ‘champ-champ’ status comes in a considerable different scenario to his first owing to the timeframe he’s had to prepare. Volkanovski received the call-up just 12 days before fight night after a cut forced Charles Oliveira to withdraw.
Although that fact has led to many counting Volkanovski out despite his competitive efforts eight months ago, one man familiar with the featherweight kingpin’s mindset and talents is expecting a masterclass.
Adesanya Predicts Volkanovski To Finish Makhachev
During a video recently uploaded to his FREESTYLEBENDER YouTube channel, former UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya broke down the upcoming numbered event.
In terms of the headliner, “The Last Stylebender” is, as expected, backing his frequent training partner at City Kickboxing to upset the odds come fight night on October 21 in Abu Dhabi.
Perhaps surprising, however, is the manner with which he foresees Volkanovski achieving victory.
“This right here is crazy. This is like 8 Mile, his 8 Mile moment,” Adesanya said. “The guy that Alex felt he beat in his home country, got hard done by with the judges’ decision, that moment taken away a bit. They call him on 11 days’ notice and say, ‘Rematch, can you help us out.’ He says, ‘F*ck it, let’s go.’
“This is what f*cking legends are made of… I honestly believe he’s gonna do it. I think he’s gonna finish him,” Adesanya continued. “What I’m really feeling is that this is his moment, where he does this with the cojones… Finishes Makhachev, sends him into a different stratosphere. Everyone has to respect, like, ‘Yo, Volk is that dude, Volk is that guy.’ … Now he knows what he brings… He doesn’t have to worry about, ‘I need to last with this guy.’ … I honestly think third round, maybe even second round, Volk’s gonna finish him. Catch him with a shot and ground-and-pound into a finish.”
Having had the support of Adesanya, the rest of CKB, and his fellow Oceanians inside the RAC Arena eight months ago, Volkanovski will rely on their backing from afar this time around, as he looks to dethrone Makhachev on hostile soil.
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— UFC (@ufc) October 19, 2023
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