Islam Makhachev swiftly capitalized, delivering impactful hammer fists, prompting referee Marc Goddard to intervene and stop the fight, setting off a jubilant celebration.
Islam Makhachev silenced any lingering doubts in his rivalry with featherweight champion Alex Volkanovski, concluding their bout for the lightweight title with a decisive victory at UFC 294 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Makhachev secured the win at 3:06 of the first round with a powerful head kick, followed by ground-and-pound.
The rematch was orchestrated after Makhachev’s triumph over Volkanovski at UFC 284 in February. The initial bout was particularly challenging, and the rematch materialized when ex-champion Charles Oliveira withdrew due to an injury sustained during training, giving Volkanovski just 11 days’ notice for the fight.
Makhachev, known for his exceptional wrestling skills, demonstrated dominance without having to rely on them extensively against Volkanovski, who aimed to become the fourth man in UFC history and fifth person overall to hold two weight class titles simultaneously.
Expressing his respect for his opponent, Makhachev stated, “I told you, you have to turn off the lights to beat this guy. He’s going to fight all five rounds. He’ll never give up. He’s a real champion.”
Volkanovski acknowledged Makhachev’s skills and complimented the knockout setup. Despite having a significant cut on his right eyebrow, Volkanovski expressed his desire to fight Ilia Topuria at featherweight in January, though the injury might impact his quick return.
Makhachev, fueled by the belief in his previous decisive victory and motivated by Volkanovski’s praise for taking the fight on short notice, showcased his superiority in their Saturday clash.
Initiating with body shots, Makhachev executed a high kick despite Volkanovski’s guard. The kick landed on the top of Volkanovski’s head, sending him staggering back to the cage. Makhachev swiftly capitalized, delivering impactful hammer fists, prompting referee Marc Goddard to intervene and stop the fight, setting off a jubilant celebration.