Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is back on pay-per-view (PPV) this weekend (Sat., Feb. 11, 2023), and the promotion is going “Down Under” to Perth, Australia. In UFC 284’s main event, Alexander Volkanovski will attempt to become the latest “champ-champ” when he takes on the Lightweight kingpin, Islam Makachev. In the co-headliner, the interim Featherweight crown will be on the line when Yair Rodriguez locks horns with Josh Emmett.
Before UFC’s second PPV event of the season kicks off, let’s check out some random storylines, tidbits and statistics ahead of UFC 284 …
Return To Australia
It has been three years since UFC has staged a card in Australia. The last time it was “Dwon Under” was UFC 243 in 2019, when Israel Adesanya knocked out Robert Whittaker to become the undisputed Middleweight champion (watch it). And the last time the world’s leading mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion traveled to Perth, Australia, was UFC 221: “Romero vs. Rockhold” in 2018.
No. 1 Vs. No. 2
UFC 284 marks the first time since the rankings have come into effect that the No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter will fight the No. 2 pound-for-pound fighter (Volkanovski is 1, Makhachev is 2). In addition, both fighters are on long win streaks, which is another cool stat. In fact, the Australian is on a 22-fight win streak, while the Dagastani is on an 11-fight win streak.
Volk’s Second Lightweight Fight
When Volkanovski enters the cage for his 155-pound title fight, it will be the second time he has fought in the Lightweight division inside the Octagon. Yup, the 34-year-old made his UFC debut at Lightweight in 2016 and then dropped to Featherweight for his next 11 fights.
When Emmett and Rodriguez step into the Octagon this weekend to fight for the interim Featherweight title, it will be the 17th time that UFC has issued an interim belt in the past 10 years.
Rodriguez vs Emmett(UFC 284) is the 17th interim title fight in the last 10 years. All 8 male divisions are represented.
There has been 0 female interims in UFC history. pic.twitter.com/xKtvMHZsbU
— Andy Hickey MMA (@AndyHickeyMMA) February 6, 2023
Welcome Back, Modestas Bukauskas
After spending one year on the regional scene, Modestas Bukauskas returns to UFC this weekend … where he probably should have been all along. In his first UFC run, “The Baltic Gladiator” went 1-3 – being finished two times. In his last UFC fight before being released, he had his leg absolutely destroyed by Khalil Rountree Jr. (watch it). Bukauskas went back to Cage Warriors to work his way back to the promotion where he wanted to be. He captured Cage Warriors’ Light Heavyweight title by knocking out Chuck Campbell. He faces Tyson Pedro this weekend on short notice.
It is rare to get a UFC contract immediately after a fighter loses on Contender Series. Shannon Ross did it, though. In Aug. 2022, Ross went to war with Vinicius Salvador in one of the best Contender Series fights to date. He ended up getting finished in the second round; however, it was revealed that Ross fought with appendicitis, which led to a ruptured appendix and blood poisoning.
Once the matchmakers found learned what he went through to compete, Ross was awarded a contract. He makes his UFC debut against Kleydson Rodrigues.
According to DraftKings and as of this writing, Volkanovski is the biggest underdog at +310. The second biggest dog is Don Shainis, followed by Randy Brown.
According to Draftkings, Alexander Volkanovski is the biggest underdog at +310. The second biggest dog is Don Shainis +290, followed by Randy Brown +270.
— MMA mania (@mmamania) February 8, 2023
Justin Tafa Wants Revenge
One of the biggest reasons that the leader of “TafaGang” wanted to fight in Australia this weekend was to avenge his last knockout loss. In his UFC debut at UFC 243, Tafa was knocked unconscious by Yorgan De Castro, and ever since that day, he has wanted to go back in front of his people to give them a knockout win. He faces Parker Porter on UFC 284’s PPV main card.
You Lost, Bud?
If you look at UFC 284’s full card, you’ll notice that almost every match features an Australian fighter. Well, opening up the PPV main card, there is a Dagasatani and a Brazilian — Zubaira Tukhugov welcomes Elves Brenner to UFC — a random bout to showcase on the card.
Jimmy Crute Returns
There is another returning fighter on UFC 284 — a common theme you may have noticed. Jimmy Crute has been on the sidelines since Dec. 2021 after he got wiped out by current 205-pound roost-ruler, Jamahal Hill, in just 48 seconds (watch it). During his time away, Crute had reconstructive knee surgery. Crute — who faces Alonzo Menifield in UFC 284’s PPV main card opener — is riding a two-fight losing streak, the first losing streak of his career.
AUZ Vs. The World
- 11 Australians are fighting at UFC 284
- Seven Americans
- Two Brazilians
- Two Russians
Five UFC fighters are making their UFC debuts this Saturday:
- As mentioned, Shannon Ross (13-6) makes his debut against Kleydson Rodrigues
- Elves Brenner fights Zubaira Tukhugov
- Jack Jenkins (10-2) takes on Don Shainis
- Francisco Prado (11-0) fights Jamie Mullarkey on short notice
- Blake Bilder (7-0-1) faces Shane Young, who also makes his return from a lengthy layoff
Banger Fights No More 🙁
Numerous fights have unfortunately fallen off UFC 284’s card, including Robert Whittaker vs. Paulo Costa and Kai-Kara France vs. Alex Perez.
Check them all out:
Alexander Is Old(er)
If Volkanovski wins the Lightweight title, he will be the oldest fighter since Sean Sherk to hold the 155-pound belt.
Atomweights Fighting At Strawweight
This weekend, there is a perfect example about why UFC should consider an Atomweight division … soon. Loma Lookboonmee — who is 5’1” and could be a real contender in a 105-division — returns to action against Elise Reed (5’3”). I have no idea why UFC refuses to implement an Atomweight division, but until it does, I will mention it as often as possible.
There is one fighter on UFC 284 from Perth, Australia, who is competing this weekend — Jack Della Maddalena. So, when he walks to the cage, expect the sold-out crowd to go absolutely nuts. He faces Randy Brown.
Wins And Losses
At UFC 284, 20 fighters will be coming off wins, while five are entering with losses.
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 284 fight card right here, starting with the early ESPN+ “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard on ESPN/ESPN+ at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+ PPV.
To check out the latest and greatest UFC 284: “Islam vs. Volkanovski” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.