Alexander Volkanovski is going to be in for a shock if he thinks the only way to beat Islam Makhachev is by stopping his takedowns and keeping the fight on the feet.
That’s according to Makhachev’s coach, Javier Mendez, who claims Makhachev proved in his stoppage victory against Charles Oliveira that he is “the most well-rounded lightweight of all time”.
At UFC 280, Makhachev’s striking abilities were on full display as he was able to knock down Oliveira with his punches before ultimately finishing the fight with a submission (arm triangle choke) in the second round.
Now “the secret’s out” regarding Makhachev’s striking, Mendez expects his prized student to secure the top spot in the pound-for-pound rankings with a win over Volkanovski next month.
“I don’t know,” Mendez told Helen Yee when asked if Volkanovski will be Makhachev’s toughest opponent (h/t Drake Riggs). “I’m not sure he is the toughest. Based at what’s on stake, I would say yes based on that. Is he really? I don’t know. We’ll have to find out fight night. If he can prevent Islam from taking him down.”
“Also, keep in mind, a lot of people are now catching on, Islam can stand with Charles [Oliveira]. They were talking about, ‘Well, Islam has to take him down.’ And Charles was thinking, ‘Oh, he has to take me down.’ Well, what got him to the ground? It wasn’t Islam’s takedowns. It was Islam’s punching that took him down. So, the secret’s out and it should have been out a long time ago. Islam can do it all. If he can’t take you down, guess what, you gotta deal with his stand-up, too. I’ve said it many times, that he’s the most well-rounded lightweight of all time in champions. He’s the best rounded of all of ‘em. I expect him on Feb. 11 to become pound-for-pound No. 1.”
UFC 284: Makhachev vs. Volkanovski takes place on February 12 at the RAC Arena in Perth, Australia.