Welcome to Midnight Mania!
The stakes of UFC 284’s main event were supposed to be clear cut. The top two pound-for-pound fighters on the roster meet at a weight class, collide, and the better man walks away the victor and pound-for-pound king. Simple and easy, right?
Of course not! Alexander Volkanovski outperformed the general public perception, doing better than anyone else in handling Islam Makhachev’s wrestling (watch highlights). Despite a noticeable size disadvantage, “The Great” finished the fight in top position after knocking Makhachev down in the final round. Unfortunately for the Aussie, the judges sided against him, naming Makhachev the winner via unanimous decision.
To his credit, Makhachev did land plenty of hard shots and a couple fight-changing takedowns. It wasn’t a robbery by any means, but the UFC rankings panel deemed Volkanovski’s performance impressive enough to retain his top spot. That news released earlier today, and Russian outlet Za Khabiba reported Makhachev’s first reaction to the news.
“About the rankings, I never expected justice and still don’t, because we saw on the example of our other fighters, Ankalaev, Petr Yan, saw the attitude towards us always,” Makhachev said. “The main thing I flew 13,000 kilometers there, defeated their champion. They raised my hand, and with a raised hand, confidently with a belt flew home.”
The next move for both men is unclear. Volkanovski could return to Featherweight to square off with Yair Rodriguez, the interim champion. However, he’s also expressed interest in sticking around for another showdown vs. the Russian talent, but Makhachev has other contenders like Beneil Dariush waiting in the ranks.
Happy Valentines Day! Paulo Costa is here to help anyone especially desperate for a date.
A PERFECT summary of Makhachev’s quest for the top pound-for-pound spot:
Bellator is continuing its strategy of signing top-notch wrestling prospects early in their MMA careers.
NEWS: @BellatorMMA has signed 3x NCAA DI All-American and 2018 Big 12 Conference champion Bryce Meredith (3-0), who will debut at #Bellator293 on March 31.
He sports a 100% finishing rate, which he’ll hope to maintain against Brandon Carrillo (1-0). https://t.co/oOChLicRqx
— Michael Fiedel (@MichaelFiedel) February 14, 2023
Israel Adesanya vs. Robert Whittaker 3 will now include an unlikely bromance angle in its promotion.
An update to next weekend’s UFC Vegas 70 event:
Maybe this is why Jorge Masvidal recently ditched First Round Management …
Fishing WITH THE BOYZZZ!
Slips, rips, and KO clips
Click through for a full recap of the UFC’s winningest fighter’s highlights! Jim Miller is one of like two reasons to tune in this weekend.
Expect plenty of Jens Pulver highlights this week.
I’m not even entirely sure what rule set we’re seeing here, but you won’t find a better example of why to take your head off the center line when throwing a right hand.
I find this unsettling.
Midnight Music: Hard rock, 2000
Sleep well Maniacs! More martial arts madness is always on the way.