Biggest Rematch In The Sport?
Alexander Volkanovski isn’t just the greatest Australian MMA fighter of all time but also one of the greatest P4P fighters in the sport’s history. He only sits behind Jon Jones in the current P4P rankings and is widely considered the greatest featherweight ever. However, his recent quest for greatness hit a stumbling block when he moved up to the lightweight division to take on Islam Makhachev.
Although the Australian had the backing of Australian home support, he lost a competitive fight to the Dagestanian. It was one of the raucous crowds in MMA for quite some time, and regarding the quality of the matchup, you’d have to go back a considerable distance to find such a sensational fight on paper. Other than Jon Jones, Makhachev and Volkanovski are the two best fighters in the sport at any weight, and it certainly showed when they finally met in the Octagon back in February. Both fighters are two of the biggest reasons UFC continues to explode in popularity.
The Expansion Of The UFC
Conor McGregor has been responsible for taking the UFC to the next level. Although his career is now entering its twilight years, he has skyrocketed the international visibility of the UFC to new levels. Makhachev and Volkanovski picked up the baton and continued to fly the flag.
With more viewers come bigger sponsorship deals, and Monster has been front and center of the Octagon canvas for several years. However, more recently, large financial companies in the cryptocurrency industry have become key sponsors, generating even more revenue for Dana White’s enormous organization. Always thinking of ways to innovate, make money, and expand further, Dana has now opened the door for UFC fighters to receive bonus payments in cryptocurrency.
Even though this is a new way to pay fighters, there are only a handful of places where crypto can serve as a payment method. You can use cryptocurrency while playing at a crypto casino, making purchases from certain websites, etc. Another way is taking a holiday to El Salvador, where it is a legal tender.
When Makhachev and Volkanovski squared off at the start of 2023, the sports betting companies called it correctly, gambling with cryptocurrency on the UFC might be commonplace in a few years. This will see the two worlds come even closer together.
How Does It Compare With Other Big UFC Rematches?
Regarding rematches, you’d think Makhachev’s fellow countryman stepping back into the Octagon to face Conor McGregor would sell the most PPVs out of any rematch. However, the chances of that happening are slim. McGregor continues to show signs of decline and has one eye on other ventures, such as WWE and his whiskey business.
Khabib is happily retired and has mentioned on several occasions he has nothing left to prove in the sport, which is true. However, he is not fuelled or motivated by money, only legacy and a rematch against McGregor wouldn’t enhance that considering how convincingly he won their first fight.
McGregor was part of a massive rematch against Nate Diaz, and McGregor’s old adversary Jose Aldo was also part of a colossal rematch against Chad Mendes nearly a decade ago. So in terms of size, it wouldn’t be the biggest rematch, but in terms of skill, the #2 and #3 P4P guys going at it again is another highly technical, incredibly skilled matchup.
So Who Wins?
You’d think that Makhachev has the edge again because of his size. It proved decisive in the first bout, and Volkanovski may have to adopt a riskier offensive approach to come away with the victory. However, as the shorter and stockier of the two, Volkanovski had some success fighting inside, and his stamina gave him some really strong moments in the back end of the fight.
However, the Dagestanian lightweight champion did enough in the judges’ eyes over the full five rounds to take the win on the scorecards. Still, fans were split on the outcome, and you could have probably made a case for Volkanovski, too, so it’s no surprise that a rematch is big on Dana’s agenda, and it’s something we could see again very soon.
Even with the ferocious backing of his delirious fans in Australia, Volkanovski could not springboard to victory. Makhachev proved just how tough he is and that weight classes exist for a reason. If Volkanovski were a natural lightweight, you’d think he would have enough to defeat Makhachev, which is reflected in the P4P rankings. However, the fact remains that Makhachev is the current man at Lightweight, following in the gigantic footsteps of his countryman Khabib. If Makhachev and Volkanovski fought again, you’d have to give the edge to the Dagestanian, but Volkanovski is a unique talent and incredible fighting skills.
Don’t be surprised to see this go either way, but Alexander will likely fall short again by a small margin unless he can find that extra 5% and push the tough Dagestanian all the way.