Reigning UFC lightweight champion Islam Makhachev is set to defend his title in a super-fight against UFC featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski next. The Makhachev-Volkanovski matchup is expected to headline UFC 284 at the RAC Arena in Perth, Australia, on February 12th, 2023.
In a recent edition of the Joe Rogan Experience (JRE) podcast, UFC commentator Joe Rogan and UFC bantamweight superstar Sean O'Malley broke down the much-awaited super-fight.
The duo seemingly agreed that 'Volk' isn't big for his own weight class (featherweight) and would be undersized against Makhachev, who's a big lightweight. O'Malley stated:
"That motherf**ker [Volkanovski] is good. He's so good. He's so compact that I think it [Makhachev vs. Volkanovski] is going to be an interesting fight."
When asked if he feels 'Volk' is big enough to compete against a huge lightweight like Makhachev, O'Malley said:
"That's a great question. Well, I guess we'll have to wait and see."
Watch the podcast episode below:
Rogan and O'Malley also indicated that Alexander Volkanovski would probably have the advantage in the striking department, whereas Islam Makhachev would have the edge in the grappling realm.
They further referenced Volkanovski's 2021 fight against Brian Ortega, pointing out that the latter almost submitted 'Volk' on multiple occasions. Rogan and 'Sugar' warned that Makhachev might finish the fight if he catches Volkanovski as Ortega did.
Nevertheless, they acknowledged that Makhachev was KO'd in one of his early UFC fights, insinuating that he might suffer the same fate against an elite striker like Volkanovski. Rogan said:
"Has Islam seen anybody that can move as fast as Volkanovski? What if he [Volkanovski] starts catching him? What if he catches him a few times on the feet, and if he can avoid a takedown? I mean, you're dealing with a significantly quicker guy, probably. He [Makhachev] has probably never fought anybody that quick."
Watch O'Malley and Rogan discuss the topic at 0:46 in the video below:
Michael Bisping believes Islam Makhachev might struggle to take Alexander Volkanovski down
Taking to his YouTube channel, Michael Bisping recently opined that Islam Makhachev would likely struggle to secure takedowns against the UFC's No. 1-ranked pound-for-pound fighter Alexander Volkanovski.
It's believed that this could help Volkanovski stay on his feet and he'd thereby defeat Makhachev, as many consider 'The Great' to be the far better striker.
'The Count' emphasized that Alexander Volkanovski's short stature, short legs, and low center of gravity might benefit him against Islam Makhachev. Advising against counting Volkanovski out, Bisping explained:
"So, it's a smaller target to get ahold of. Islam's gonna have to level change much, much more to get in there deep, to get on the legs, to get a body lock."
Watch Bisping's assessment below: