Alexander Volkanovski’s head space on short notice could be better than first Islam Makhachev fight

Robert Whittaker believes the upcoming UFC 294 headliner could work in favor of Alexander Volkanovski.

Volkanovski (26-2 MMA, 13-1 UFC), the featherweight champion, has stepped in on short notice to challenge Islam Makhachev (24-1 MMA, 13-1 UFC) for the lightweight title in the main event taking place at the Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi. This fight will air on pay-per-view at a special time of 2 p.m. ET following the prelims on ESPN+.

After losing to Makhachev in their first bout at UFC 284, Volkanovski expressed his desire for an immediate rematch. Whittaker, speaking on his MMArcade Podcast, highlighted that Volkanovski’s last-minute inclusion and the absence of pressure could benefit him in the rematch.

Whittaker said, “Him going in under 12 days’ notice, with nothing to lose and a chance to make a lot of money – I think that mentality could be better for him than the first time they fought because it frees him up.”

Whittaker draws parallels to the advantages that fighters like Nate Diaz against Conor McGregor and Michael Bisping against Luke Rockhold had with short-notice fights, suggesting that Volkanovski could pull off an upset despite the odds stacked against him.

“He’s got nothing to lose and everything to gain,” Whittaker stated. “I can see that being a problem for Makhachev. I wonder what he can do differently in the rematch to secure a more decisive victory, as Volk arguably won the first fight.”

For more information on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 294.

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie


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