‘He don’t put his belt, he just make money’

Islam Makhachev believes Alexander Volkanovski taking his title fight on short notice at UFC 294 is a bold move.

The lightweight champion Makhachev (24-1 MMA, 13-1 UFC) had a scheduled bout with Charles Oliveira next Saturday, Oct. 21 in Abu Dhabi, but Oliveira withdrew due to an injury. As a result, featherweight champion Volkanovski (26-2 MMA, 13-1 UFC) will step in on short notice for their title-fight rematch.

Makhachev initially expected to face top contender Mateusz Gamrot, who will weigh in as a backup for the title fight. However, Volkanovski’s decision to take the fight has surprised many. Makhachev understands Volkanovski’s reasoning behind it.

“I thought they would give me Gamrot, but I heard Gamrot didn’t get this fight,” Makhachev disclosed to TSN. “But when they said it’s going to be Volkanovski, it’s not a big surprise for me because this guy, what does he have to lose? He’s taking the fight on short notice, not risking his belt, just making money. That’s it.”

Volkanovski pushed Makhachev to his limits in their previous title fight at UFC 284 in February, challenging the champion in unfamiliar territory towards the end. While Makhachev won the fight by unanimous decision, many argued that Volkanovski should have been victorious.

Makhachev is prepared to put those doubts to rest when they meet again.

“Honestly, I’m happy because after the last fight, we had many unanswered questions,” Makhachev stated regarding the rematch with Volkanovski. “But all those answers will be revealed in Abu Dhabi, inshallah.”

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

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie


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