Volkanovski was able to regain some momentum in the third round, before Makhachev produced a perfectly-timed, double-leg takedown after luring his challenger into a slow stint of striking. While Makhachev held down Volkanovski for the rest of the round, the final minute saw both fighters trading numerous punches on the mat, as the Australian barked at the Russian – to the delight of the Perth crowd.
Remarkably, in the fifth frame, Volkanovski almost took down the grappling specialist, before flooring Makhachev one last time with a stiff punch that set up an enthralling final minute. Volkanovski entered Makhachev’s guard and poured punches onto the lightweight champion to round out the fight.
Alex Volkanovski (right) kept pace with Islam Makhachev in many of the grappling exchanges
Many present in the arena felt that Volkanovski had done enough to dethrone Makhachev, but the scorecards read 48-47, 48-47, 49-46 in the Russian’s favour. In fact, Makhachev will have likely dethroned Volkanovski as the UFC’s pound-for-pound No 1 fighter come Monday morning, having entered UFC 284 at No 2.
In the co-main event, Yair Rodriguez claimed the interim featherweight title with a second-round submission of Josh Emmett, establishing himself as the next challenger to Volkanovski at 145lbs.
Full UFC 284 results
Yair Rodriguez was crowned interim featherweight champion after submitting Josh Emmett
Islam Makhachev (C) vs Alexander Volkanovski (featherweight champion) (lightweight title)
Yair Rodriguez def. Josh Emmett via second-round submission (triangle choke, 4:19)
Jack Della Maddalena def. Randy Brown via first-round submission (rear naked choke, 2:13)
Justin Tafa def. Parker Porter via first-round knockout (1:06)
Jimmy Crute vs Alonzo Menifield ends as majority draw (29-27, 28-28, 28-28)
Modestas Bukauskas def. Tyson Pedro via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
Josh Culibao def. Melsik Baghdasaryan via second-round submission (rear naked choke, 2:02)
Kleydson Rodrigues def. Shannon Ross via first-round TKO (0:59)
Jamie Mullarkey def. Francisco Prado via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Jack Jenkins def. Don Shainis via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Loma Lookboonmee def. Elise Reed via second-round submission (rear naked choke, 0:44)
Blake Bilder def. Shane Young via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Elves Brenner def. Zubaira Tukhugov via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 30-27)
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