Islam Makhachev, the UFC lightweight champion, was a strong favourite going into his first title defence against Alexander Volkanovski, the UFC featherweight champion, at UFC 284.
On the day of the fight, the Dagestani was listed as a -380 favourite over Volkanovski, who was a +320 underdog. He was even favoured to win by finishing first (-115), while Volkanovski had a staggering +700 chance of finishing outside the scorecards.
Naturally, as we all know, the battle fell short of these expectations. Instead, the audience witnessed a back-and-forth contest that Makhachev ultimately prevailed in with a controversial unanimous decision.
Makhachev's performance is being highlighted now that the fight is concluded and the outcome has been determined. Teddy Atlas, a longtime fight analyst and former boxing coach, singled out Makhachev's problems on the scale.
“Makhachev has trouble making weight. Okay, he’s a big guy. All right, he took all his clothes off. He just made the weight. Like I said, you know he was struggling to get down to that. We see him have to get naked, you know they put the thing around him so you don’t see him. But we know that he’s naked on the scale. What we also have to assume and know is that he had to restrict himself and compromise himself with his diet, and with fluid intake. He had to dry out, maybe a little longer than normal,” Atlas noted (h/t MMA News)
He further went on to break down the fight and pointed out that Islam gassed out.
“He had to do all that fighters have to do to cut that weight. That weakens you. Is it possible – he’s renowned, Makhavev is renowned for his gas tank. He’s renowned for his extraordinary, superhuman endurance, right? He’s renowned for that. He doesn’t burn out, he just keeps going. He was getting gassed at the end more than Volkanovski. And so, did that play into it? I think it could’ve,” he added.
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