Newly minted undisputed UFC lightweight titleholder, Islam Makhachev has opened as quite the impressive betting favorite ahead of undisputed featherweight champion, Alexander Volkanovski ahead of a potential February showdown in Perth, Australia – off the back of a massive UFC 280 event.
Headlining last night’s return to the Middle East for the organization, Islam Makhachev, under the tutelage of former champion, Khabib Nurmagomedov, delivered American Kickboxing Academy another UFC championship – submitting former titleholder, Charles Oliveira with a second round arm-triangle.
Exacting a quite dominant display against the Sao Paulo finisher, Islam Makhachev got Oliveira’s attention on the feet early, stinging with a left hand, before taking position in top control as the Brazilian pulled guard.
Remaining on the ground for the remainder of the frame following a perfectly executed trip, Makhachev dropped Oliveira heavily in the pocket during a second round exchange, before working his way to side control – and synching up an arm-triangle finish, landed the lightweight crown.
Lofted into the Etihad Arena sky by teammate, Khabib, Makhachev was then joined in the Octagon by Australian favorite, Volkanovski.
Weighing in earlier during fight week as an official backup for Saturday’s vacant lightweight title fight – Volkanovski, the current pound-for-pound #1 ranked fighter in the UFC, is poised to challenge Islam Makhachev for gold at UFC 284 in a Down Under homecoming next February.
Islam Makhachev opens as betting favorite over Alexander Volkanovski
And according to numerous opening odds, Makhachev has opened as a quite decent -400 betting favorite to defeat Volkanovski, who opens as a +300 underdog, and defend his lightweight championship. You can place a bet or wager on Islam Makhachev’s potential title outing against Volkanovski over at Fuksiarz.
For Volkanovski, the dominant featherweight titleholder recently underwent a surgical procedure to address a hand fracture suffered in a one-sided title trilogy win over Max Holloway at UFC 277 back in July during International Fight Week.
The title win over Holloway came as the third occasion Volkanovski successfully defended his featherweight summit, however, the Aussie has stressed his interest in chasing duel-weight titleholder status in the form of a clash with either Oliveira or Makhachev next.
Sharing the Octagon last night in Abu Dhabi, UAE for a brief, yet cordial face-off, the duo, while yet to be officially booked, the duo are expected to draw each other in February of next year in Australia – as Volkanovski looks to earn a second UFC title.
As far as the chasing pack at lightweight, should Makhachev defeat Volkanovski and continue his new reign atop the division stack, the Dagestan native has yet to fight any top contender beyond Oliveira en route to his title win.
The Makhachkala-born sambo ace has been tipped to face the likes of Justin Gaethje, Dustin Poirier, Michael Chandler, Rafael Fiziev, Beneil Dariush, Mateusz Gamrot, and even land a rematch with Arman Tsarukyan during his prime in the division.
Makhachev also became the target of a slew of deleted tweets from former two-weight champion, Conor McGregor following his UFC 280 win – who poked fun at former coach, the late Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov and “father’s plan”, having shared a high-profile rivalry with former champion, Khabib Nurmagomedov in the past.