Sanabul Fight News: UFC 284
Perth, Australia was the host of UFC 284, with PFP champion Alexander Volkanovski, and PFP #2 Islam Makhachev fighting for the lightweight belt. With Volk moving up a weight class to go for the double-champ status, and Islam attempting his first title defense, Saturday night was a legendary night of fights to remember.
The early preliminary fights were kicked off by Loma Lookboonme and Jack Jenkins, who both pulled off impressive victories. Loma and Elise Reed put on an exciting fight on their feet, with Loma showing off her power and Thai style, while Elise was quick and light. In the second round, Loma dominated with a back take and submitted Elise with a rear-naked choke, earning her first finish and submission since joining the UFC in 2019. Jack and Don Shainis had an entertaining battle, with Jack making his UFC debut in Australia and Don Shainis coming off a loss in his debut. Jack dominated the fight with calf-kicks and ground control, earning a close decision victory on the judges' scorecards.
Jamie Mullarkey and Kleydson Rodriguez had dominant victories over tough opponents to move up in the rankings of their weight classes. Mullarkey showed technical intelligence and well-rounded skills against Francisco Padro, dominating on the mat and staying safe at a smart range. Rodriguez and Shannon Ross had a thrilling face-off at the weigh-ins, and the fight lived up to expectations. Rodriguez came out with a barrage of strikes and TKOed Ross just 59 seconds into the fight.
The matchup between Joshua Culibao and Melsik Baghdasaryan was highly anticipated by fans, with both being touted up-and-coming prospects in the featherweight division. The first round was competitive on the feet, but Culibao started to figure Melsik out going into the second. In a big scramble, Josh took Melsik's back and submitted him in front of his home crowd in Perth. Tyson Pedro was expected to win in front of his home crowd against Modestas Bukauskas, but he fought passively and Bukauskas was sharp and tactical, edging out a decision win as the underdog.
Jimmy Crute and Alonzo Menifield had a thrilling fight, with both men completely emptying their gas tanks in the first round. It was a sloppy fight between two brawlers, but the fight ended in a draw. Hopefully, both fighters will try to pick their shots better in the first round to avoid completely gassing out. Justin Tafa and Parker Porter swung bombs until Tafa, the hometown favorite, knocked Porter out and moved to 6-3 as a pro fighter.
With three fights left on the main card, fan favorite Jack Della Maddalena faced Randy Brown in a three-round contest in the welterweight division. Jack struggled to get within range of Randy at the beginning of the fight, but once he started cutting off the cage, it was a short fight. Jack took Randy's back halfway through the first, locked in a rear-naked choke, and became a huge prospect in the welterweight division, likely to get a top-10 opponent next.
The co-main event was Yair Rodriguez and Josh Emmett fighting for the interim featherweight title in a 5-round fight. The first round was full of fireworks, with both fighters trying to finish, but Emmett starting to gas out and Yair still having lots of energy. Yair cracked Emmett again, and Emmett seemed too tired to keep going. Yair locked in a triangle choke from his guard and tapped Josh in the second round to win the interim featherweight belt and set up a fight with Volkanovski to unify the two belts.
"Pound for Pound #1 vs Pound for Pound #2: The Fight Everyone Was Waiting For." This highly anticipated bout featured a strong ex-rugby player with quick strikes and excellent takedown defense against one of the top grapplers in the sport, boasting formidable strikes and an impressive gas tank. Islam Makhachev and Alexander Volkanovski had fans excited since the fight was announced. The match was intense and kept everyone on the edge of their seats, with Volkanovski successfully defending against Makhachev's submissions and the majority of his takedown attempts. The majority of the fight took place on the feet, with brief moments where Makhachev had taken Volkanovski down, but he was unable to advance with submissions or strikes on the mat. The judges ultimately declared Makhachev the winner by unanimous decision, but the public was divided on the outcome. While some fans were disappointed with the decision, others felt that it could have gone either way. Regardless of the outcome, Alexander Volkanovski proved that he is a force to be reckoned with. After moving up weight classes and giving the lightweight champion a tough challenge, there is a strong argument for him to retain his position as the PFP #1 in the world.