Alex Volkanovski wants to test Islam Makhachev’s striking: ‘He’s supposed to be well rounded’

Alex Volkanovski, Islam Makhachev

Alex Volkanovski will challenge Islam Makhachev‘s striking abilities in their nearing bout at UFC 284.

Reigning featherweight champion Volkanovski is set to take on lightweight champion Makhachev in the promotion’s return to Australia on Feb. 11. He will look to get entry into the ultra-exclusive ‘champ-champ’ club, inaugurated by former two-division champion Conor McGregor, against an adversary who competes in a division ten pounds heavier than his.

Alex Volkanovski will test Islam Makhachev’s striking

In a recent interview with Laura Sanko, Alex Volkanovski shared his thoughts on his upcoming ‘double-champ’ fight with Makhachev.

“I think, obviously strategy and all that goes a long way and I’m very hard to hold down so I’m expecting a stand-up battle,” he said (ht Middle Easy). “Let’s see how good his striking is, he’s supposed to be well rounded so we’ll see.”

‘The Great’ is coming off a dominant win over former champion Max Holloway in July at UFC 276. He extended his unbeaten run in the promotion and put a decisive end to his rivalry with Holloway in the trilogy bout. He secured the top pound-for-pound spot after former welterweight king Kamaru Usman got dethroned by Leon Edwards in August at UFC 278.

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Volkanovski likes being the underdog

Volkanovski enters the bout as the betting underdog, with some concerns about the disparity in grappling abilities between the two. He talked about the motivation he gains from people doubting him against Makhachev.

“I was always the one that they, all these big fellas had to keep an eye on because I was the one that was running straight through and dumping them on their head,” he said. “So we’ll see what happens fight night. I’m hoping people doubt me because I love being the underdog. I’m sure I’m gonna be the underdog, well, again, I hope. I can’t wait to go out there and prove people wrong because that just really fires me up.”