UFC 284: Islam Makhachev beats Alexander Volkanovski to defend UFC lightweight title

PERTH, Australia (AP) — Islam Makhachev defied a rowdy crowd and a sustained challenge from Alexander Volkanovski on Sunday to cement his supremacy in the UFC lightweight division in a grueling fight in Perth, Western Australia.

In the main event of UFC 284, Makhachev defended his 155-pound belt with a unanimous decision and claimed the title of best pound-for-pound fighter from featherweight champion Australian Volkanovski, who saw his 22-win streak ended.

“I showed why I am number one. I am the best fighter in the world right now,” said the Russian as jeers ran around a sold-out 13,000 crowd at RAC Arena.

Makhachev (24 wins, one loss) had to fend off a furious challenge from the 34-year-old Volkanovski but his grappling and wrestling prowess proved enough.

Volkanovski, a former concreter and rugby league player, impressed as he moved up a division. He landed several blows and dominated for stretches of the contest but fell in his second defeat from 27 fights.

Among the other bouts on the main card, Mexico’s Yair Rodriguez choked out American Josh Emmett to become the interim featherweight champion.

“I’ve been dreaming of this moment since I was a kid,” said Rodriguez before holding up his championship belt.

The 30-year-old, who earned the submission in the second round, will take on Volkanovski at a later date.

New Zealander Justin Tafa knocked out American Parker Porter in the first round of the heavyweight fight after landing a right uppercut.

In the welterweight division, hometown Perth hero Jack Della Maddalena defeated Jamaican Randy Brown by submission.

It was the first UFC event staged in Australia since the COVID-19 pandemic with the country enduring strict border controls for most of 2020 and 2021.

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