The highly-anticipated UFC 284 event will take place this weekend at the RAC Arena in Perth, Australia. Fight fans in the United States can tune into the action live only on ESPN+ PPV on Saturday night. UFC 284 features a lightweight showdown between Islam Makhachev and Alexander Volkanovski, two of the most talented fighters in the UFC.
Both Makhachev and Volkanovski come into this fight with impressive records and top pound-for-pound status. Makhachev is currently on an 11-fight winning streak, with his most recent victory over Charles Oliveira. Volkanovski, on the other hand, has been dominating the featherweight division, with his last loss dating back to 2013.
The size difference between the two fighters is the main point of contention for many analysts. Makhachev is known for his imposing size and grappling ability, while Volkanovski, the featherweight champion, is smaller in comparison. This has led to some interesting predictions for this fight, with many UFC fighters weighing in on who they think will come out on top.
These fighters all have unique insights and perspectives on this fight, and their predictions provide an exciting preview of what fans can expect at UFC 284. Quotes were gathered from James Lynch’s MMA Pros Pick series as well as Helen Yee’s fighter prediction video.
Fighters pick Makhachev vs. Volkanovski winner
“I recently watched Islam versus Charles literally like this week, and I was very impressed with Islam’s striking. And then I watched Khabib fight Al [Iaquinta], I was watching some best moments and those guys got some good striking. You know, they’re, they’re so known for their grappling, but those guys can, you know, throw good combinations and they have good striking, so I was impressed with Islam’s striking, and uh it’s gonna be tough beating that dude.
“I do have a weird feeling Alexander Volkanovski is gonna be a lot bigger of a challenge than everyone thinks. He could even potentially get the job done against Islam. But if Alex can’t, I don’t know who can.” (via Helen Yee)
“I think that the fight doesn’t make any sense, man. I don’t see how Volkanovsi can beat Makhachev. Of course, Volkanovski is a really good fighter. He’s dominated the division, but I feel the difference in size is crazy, you know, and I think Makhachev can like dominate him on the ground. This is not a good fight for Volkanovski. I don’t know why they are pushing the fight, but I feel like Volkanovski is really confident in his skills and he wants the fight and it makes sense for the UFC. So UFC knows better than everyone and they are, they are fucking huge business company and they know how to make fights and I never bet against them. If they make the fight, it’s because it’s the right fight to do. But for me, I don’t see any sense in this matchup.” (via James Lynch’s MMA Pros Pick)
“I think he’ll [Makhachev] get it. I think, you know, it won’t come easy for sure, I think Volkanovski is a beast and he poses his own challenges and I’m sure Volkanovski is going to come in really prepared and with a great game plan, but I’m sure Makhahev will too. it’s gonna be a great fight and but I think he ultimately he can leave with his hand raised.” (via James Lynch’s MMA Pros Pick)
“I think it’s a hard fight for Volk, but I think he can get it done. He’s so hard to hold down and he’s got like… he’s like a bowling ball, he’s just so tight, so I think he’s gonna be hard to hold down. If he can keep it on the feet, I think he wins all day, I think his striking is next level. I guess that’s just the question is if you can keep it on the feet, which I think he can.” (via James Lynch’s MMA Pros Pick)
“I think people underestimate how thick Volk is, he’s thick, man. I fought on the card with him, he’s a lot thicker than people think. I just think that Islam is a little bigger. Everyone says like, man, I’ll get up, i you take me down, but I think it’s just different when those guys take you down, you know, no one’s been able to do it yet and I don’t think anyone’s gonna be able to do it for a while. I like Islam in that fight.” (via James Lynch’s MMA Pros Pick)
“I’m gonna go Islam. I just think he’s like really big, super technical, he can submit Charles Oliveira, you know, I don’t think that Volkanovski can take him down, but he’s probably a better striker, stronger, but Islam seems to be really good at imposing his will and getting the fight to where he wants, so I’m going to go Islam.” (via James Lynch’s MMA Pros Pick)
“You gotta go Islam Makhachev. I think he’s too big, he’s good everywhere. He’s a beast. After what he did to Charles Oliveira, I don’t see a whole lot of guys beating him right now and I just think that Volkanovski is just a little too small for him.” (via James Lynch’s MMA Pros Pick)
“I mean Volk is really good too. I like the matchup because he’s long and he got a good base and he moved a lot like after he finished any combo, he moved to the right. If you see Max Holloway fight, he did kind of like 30 circles around the octagon. And max Holloway never could find him. So, I mean, it’s a really good matchup, good kicks, but I don’t think that he’s gonna start kicking because he’s gonna get taken down and I don’t know man, but the size is gonna be an issue there. Makhachev is big and he cut a lot of weight. So I think Makhachev take this.” (via James Lynch’s MMA Pros Pick)
“Oh man, I love Volkanovski, but I worry about the size difference. I wonder if him being the smaller guy will allow him to get out of certain things. You can stay balled up a little easier. I might have to sit and actually do some thinking on that one a little bit. But my first instinct is Islam’s size is gonna make all the difference.” (via James Lynch’s MMA Pros Pick)
“I think my answer is still the same, I still think that no offense to Alexander Volkanovski, I love him, and he’s one of my favorite fighters… When I saw him fight the first time I ever seen him fight, he was against Chad Mendes and I was like, that guy is gonna be champion. That was the only fight I ever saw, but I knew that he was gonna be champion just because of how fast he was, his footwork, his accuracy. I think he’s an amazing fighter, but I just think that Islam’s grappling is so superior and I think that he’ll be able to get Volkanovski down.
I think he’s a master on top, you know, and he has great submissions. It’s one thing to be a wrestler, but when you get a wrestler that turns into like essentially like a grappler, you know, with like Islam is, those are hard people to beat because they’ve fallen in love with the art of Jiu-jitsu, the grappling sense. Anybody can wrestle and just take people down, but when you’re good on top, you have good positioning when you’re heavy on top. That’s the thing that breaks people and when you’re heavy on top, you know, and you’re breaking somebody, it makes it harder for them to come back every single round.
“And I know that Alexander Volkanovski’s game, like I see that in him, I’ve seen him in these like crazy fights where he’s had to like take that warrior spirit out there and you could see it in him. So I’m like, that’s why he’s one of my favorite fighters, but I still think that Islam is a big 155-pounder. I don’t know how big Alexander Volkanovski is. I know that he was bigger at one point, right? But I wonder what he walks around now, you know. So I just know that I think Islam probably walks around like 180 maybe. I don’t know, don’t quote me, I’m just guessing like he looks kind of thick, you know what I mean? So I mean, we’ll see, but I do believe that his grappling is going to get the job done.” (via Helen Yee)
“I think Islam, I think everything is set up for Islam to win. ther than the fact that they’re they’re fighting in Australia, it seems like all gears are towards Islam winning and I think he’ll work hard enough to make it happen.” (via James Lynch’s MMA Pros Pick)
“It’s tough to bet against Alexander Volkanovski, but just stylistically, it seems like Islam Makhachev could probably take down anyone in the 155-pound division. Volkanovski, being a little bit smaller, it’s just gonna be tough to fight Islam and be able to avoid those takedowns. So I’m gonna go with Islam, but I think a lot of people are counting out Volkanovski. He did a good job defending takedowns against other guys that are high-level wrestlers, but just going up a weight class against that good of a dominant wrestler, I think Islam is going to be able to take him down and smother him.” (via James Lynch’s MMA Pros Pick)
“Islam just because he’s bigger. I think he’s just gonna smush him. It’s not gonna be a very exciting fight.” (via James Lynch’s MMA Pros Pick)
“I gotta go with that. I got to go with my gut and everything telling me that he’s a pound-for-pound best. He’s fast. I don’t think Islam has ever fought anybody that fast. Just because he’s smaller, um, smaller dudes, sometimes it be harder to grapple because it’s harder to keep on, it’s hard to keep a hand on him and they have really small good strong frames. I think Volk can get up and keep it moving, stay moving, stay light on his feet striking and walk him into some traps and clock him, starting to ring his bell a few times, especially early. I can see Volk, but I could also see Islam getting on top of him and him not getting up, you know what I’m saying? It’s gonna be a toss-up for me, but I’m probably leaning towards Volk though.” (via James Lynch’s MMA Pros Pick)