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PERTH, Australia (Reuters) – Islam Makhachev survived an exhausting five-round conflict of attrition to retain his UFC light-weight title on Sunday, scoring a unanimous determination victory over Alexander Volkanovski after an exciting battle at a sold-out RAC Enviornment.
Stepping up a weight class in an effort to develop into champion in two divisions, featherweight champ Volkanovski placed on an amazing show at UFC 284, however got here up simply brief.
The battle began with some cagey exchanges in the course of the octagon, with each fighters touchdown some heavy strikes earlier than Makhachev used his wrestling to take Volkanovski down, threatening with chokes from the again to finish the spherical.
Having realized his lesson, the 34-year-old Volkanovski did a a lot better job of coping with Makhachev’s relentless wrestling within the subsequent two rounds to maintain the battle on the toes, however the left hand of the taller Russian was all the time a menace.
Makhachev reversed the tide early within the fourth, touchdown an early takedown within the centre of the cage and trapping Volkanovski in a punishing physique triangle earlier than dominating the remainder of the body together with his grappling.
Volkanovski confirmed large tenacity to counter one more takedown try within the fifth spherical. He got here blazing again, decking Makhachev with an enormous proper hand and pounding his opponent as he sought a knockout end, however to no avail.
“I confirmed why I’m primary, they’ve to enhance extra,” Makhachev stated in a post-fight interview. “I’m one of the best striker on the planet proper now.”
All three judges gave the battle to the 31-year-old Russian to enhance his report to 24-1, whereas Volkanovski registered the second lack of his skilled profession to drop to 25-2.
Within the co-main occasion, Yair Rodriguez scored a second-round submission win through triangle choke to win the interim featherweight title, and he’ll possible meet Volkanovski to determined the undisputed champion.
(Reporting by Philip O’Connor; Modifying by William Mallard)