c994d02922b4f232d0dcff70499775a7084fa52a Islam Makhachev successfully defended his UFC lightweight title.
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Islam Makhachev successfully defended his UFC lightweight title.

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In Perth, Australia, on Sunday, Russian Islam Makhachev defeated Australian Alexander Volkanovski on points to retain his lightweight world title in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (MMA).

Despite the overwhelming audience support Volkanovski received in Perth, Makhachev destroyed his rival's hopes of becoming the fifth fighter in UFC history to hold two world championships at once. Conor McGregor, Daniel Cormier, Amanda Nunes, and Henry Cejudo are the only four fighters who are currently holding two belts simultaneously.

The judges unanimously awarded the Russian victory with scores of 48-47, 48-47, and 49-46 because he outclassed the Australian in both standing and ground combat. After the intense match that served as the main event of UFC 284, Makhachev exclaimed, "He's a very tough opponent."

The 31-year-old fighter, who has gone 12 fights without suffering a defeat and a 24-1 record overall, claimed, "Right now, I'm the best fighter in the world." 

The Russian stunned his opponent with his tactic, overpowering Volkanovski in "striking," the standing fighting phases, with extremely precise punches, even though he won the bout as he had predicted in the previous one. Volkanovski's defence led him to successfully adjust his plans when all the experts predicted that the Russian would immediately take the battle to the ground.

First place in the UFC standings

A big right hand from Volkanovski at the conclusion of the fifth round enraged the Australian fans, but it had little effect on the unflappable Russian, who had already used four "takedowns" (a technique to knock the opponent down with the foot). Makhachev is now the top UFC fighter after this victory, surpassing Volkanovski in the rankings.

Although he conceded that the battle did not go as he had anticipated, he was nonetheless proud to say, "I have proved why I am number one," adding, "I thought it was going to be easy on the ground, but this guy has shown me that I was wrong."

It has been the first time in the history of the discipline that the number one in the classification of all categories faced the second in an octagonal. Makhachev, a Dagestan native, trained under Khabib Nurmagomedov, who is widely regarded as the greatest fighter in UFC history.

The number two contender in the featherweight division, Mexican Yair Rodriguez, who won his opportunity to defend his championship by defeating American Josh Emmett in the second round, will likely face Volkanovski for the title.

It makes no difference that he hasn't lived up to it, according to Volkanovski. He added, "I'll be back, but for now, let me go and restore order to this featherweight category.

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