Does the Makhachev-Volkanovski battle for P4P supremacy high the record?

Rankings are opinions. Opinions are debatable.

Except for this one: Islam Makhachev vs. Alexander Volkanovski is the No. 1 struggle to observe at this weekend’s UFC 284. There’s merely no different method to stack up the occasion in Perth, Australia.

Makhachev, 23-1 and a winner of his previous 21 fights, will make his first protection of the light-weight championship he received in October. His challenger, the 25-1 Volkanovski, has received 22 in a row and is a champion himself, having dominated the featherweight division since 2019. In ESPN’s pound-for-pound males’s rankings, Volkanovski is No. 1, Makhachev No. 2.

Rankings and data and runs of invincibility are simply the inspiration and framework of this matchup. Building upon which can be some architectural components that exhibit why every of those fighters is elegant. Makhachev represents the continuation of Khabib Nurmagomedov’s legacy of no-frills command; like the previous champion, Makhachev turns a canvas mat right into a dungeon from which there doesn’t seem like an escape hatch. If there is an escape, although, Volkanovski will discover it, simply as he did twice when caught within the ending clutches of submission ace Brian Ortega a few years in the past. Yes, he has been the nail at instances, however Volkanovski has at all times completed the job because the hammer.

Go forward and debate the place the Chiefs, who will play of their third Super Bowl in 4 seasons Sunday, belong within the hierarchy of this century’s dominant NFL franchises. Speaking of Kansas City, there’s room to argue over whether or not that metropolis’s barbecue ranks increased on the meals chain than Austin’s. And whereas out to dinner in both of these cities, a multigenerational desk stuffed with Batman followers can type out who wears the pointy-eared go well with finest: Ben Affleck vs. Christian Bale vs. George Clooney vs. Michael Keaton vs. Adam West.

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All honest recreation for verbal sparring.

But there isn’t any debate over whether or not the principle occasion would be the high attraction at RAC Arena on Sunday morning native time, Saturday night time within the United States (10 p.m. ET on ESPN+ PPV, with prelims at 8 p.m. on ESPN/ESPN and early prelims at 6 p.m. on ESPN+).

However, the champ vs. champ superfight won’t be the one worthy attraction on a struggle card full of almost a dozen Aussies, a pair of undefeated Octagon debutants and a matchup of top-10 featherweights vying for an interim belt.

Here’s a top-five rating … with four-fifths of it up for debate.

1. Islam Makhachev (c) vs. Alexander Volkanovski

The final time — and solely time — Makhachev misplaced was in October 2015, his second UFC look. Volkanovski has not been defeated since May 2013, lengthy earlier than his Octagon days, when he dropped the fourth struggle of his skilled profession. Someone’s run of success is about to crash right into a brick wall.

One oddity: The pound-for-pound No. 1 is a 3-1 betting underdog. Volkanovski has proven his mettle in three victories over Max Holloway and a win over the best 145-pounder of all time, Jose Aldo. But shifting as much as 155 to tackle Makhachev, a person who has been bullying fighters his personal dimension, is an outsized problem.

Volkanovski goes by the nickname “Alexander the Great,” after the historic determine who, centuries in the past, established the biggest empire the traditional world had ever seen. By that measure, the duty set forward is minuscule. But Volk, of New South Wales, Australia, has a chance to cement his command of the MMA world, and he can have 15,000 of his countrymen cheering him on in that endeavor.

2. Jack Della Maddalena vs. Randy Brown



Jack Della Maddalena wins his UFC debut with clear left hook

Jack Della Maddalena defeats Pete Rodriguez in his UFC debut with a pleasant left hook at UFC 270.

I’m elevating this welterweight struggle above the co-main occasion, regardless of that one being an interim title bout, for 2 causes. The first is that interim belts do not imply something to me; they’re simply trinkets to serve the narrative of a promotion’s advertising and marketing division. My second, and most necessary, cause for spotlighting this struggle is that the Perth crowd will likely be ecstatic supporting hometown man Della Maddalena.

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He will journey into the Octagon on a 13-fight successful streak after dropping the primary two bouts of his profession in 2016. Della Maddalena joined the UFC a 12 months in the past and has reeled off three straight first-round knockouts, sufficient for ESPN to call the 26-year-old its 2022 rookie of the 12 months.

Brown, who has received 4 in a row, will not be a pushover. If Della Maddalena hopes to impress his residence peeps, he should earn it.

3. Yair Rodriguez vs. Josh Emmett



Calvin Kattar, Josh Emmett placed on epic most important occasion in entrance of Austin crowd

Calvin Kattar and Josh Emmett struggle in an intense featherweight most important occasion in Austin on Saturday night time.

OK, so I smashed the importance of this bout into bits proper above. Now enable me to select up the items and construct them again up. This is a wonderful struggle between high-level 145-pounders who’re one struggle — this struggle — away from an actual title problem. Local ties and electrified enviornment vibe apart, this one might outshine the Della Maddalena contest when it comes to ability units and stakes.

Though Rodriguez and Emmett are completely different fighters, stylistically, they’re unified of their dedication to fulfill in the midst of the Octagon and throw down. Rodriguez has the flashier method, Emmett the facility and the potential, if he seizes it, to be extra effectively rounded in his assaults. Brace your self for a thrill journey.

This is without doubt one of the few bouts at UFC 284 with out an Aussie in both nook. The Perth crowd nonetheless will really feel wildly entertained.

4. Jamie Mullarkey vs. Francisco Prado

I like the mysteriousness of watching an undefeated fighter going through a step up in competitors. No one has seen any proof of the place the ceiling is for Prado, a 20-year-old Argentine light-weight making his UFC debut. He’s 11-0 with all finishes — six submissions and 5 knockouts. What are his go-to strikes? Where are his strengths and weaknesses? Who is aware of?

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Australia’s Mullarkey will take a look at him. A veteran of six UFC fights, most lately a win over Michael Johnson final July, he’ll enter the acquainted cage with the added consolation of getting a constructing stuffed with his fellow residents backing him.

5. Jimmy Crute vs. Alonzo Menifield

Maybe it was an excessive amount of too quickly for Crute. He received 4 of his first 5 UFC fights, all finishes over veteran fighters, and by the top of 2020, he was 12-1 and a critical gentle heavyweight prospect. At age 24, he was named the game’s No. 1 fighter at age 25 or youthful by ESPN in 2020. Since then, although, Crute has misplaced two in a row, suggesting he might need reached his ceiling.

If so, it’s a excessive ceiling, to make sure. Those losses got here towards the present champ, Jamahal Hill, and onetime title challenger Anthony Smith. Both completed him in a spherical. So stepping down a rung on the 205-pound ladder looks as if a good suggestion, and that is the place Menifield resides. He represents a powerful sufficient problem to let Crute know the place he stands.

The full UFC 284 struggle card

PPV by way of ESPN+, 10 p.m. ET
Lightweight championship: Islam Makhachev (c) vs. Alexander Volkanovski
Men’s featherweight interim championship: Yair Rodriguez vs. Josh Emmett
Welterweight: Jack Della Maddalena vs. Randy Brown
Heavyweight: Justin Tafa vs. Parker Porter
Light heavyweight: Jimmy Crute vs. Alonzo Menifield

ESPN/ESPN+, 8 p.m. ET
Light heavyweight: Tyson Pedro vs. Modestas Bukauskas
Men’s featherweight: Josh Culibao vs. Melsik Baghdasaryan
Men’s flyweight: Shannon Ross vs. Kleydson Rodrigues
Lightweight: Jamie Mullarkey vs. Francisco Prado

ESPN+, 6 p.m. ET
Men’s featherweight: Jack Jenkins vs. Don Shainis
Strawweight: Loma Lookboonmee vs. Elise Reed
Men’s featherweight: Shane Young vs. Blake Bilder
Lightweight: Zubaira Tukhugov vs. Elves Brenner
(c) = defending champion