At UFC 284 in February, featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski is up for his argubly hardest test to date as he steps up a weightclass to challenge Islam Makhachev for the lightweight belt.
Volkanovski is a massive underdog going into the fight, but one who believes in him is the former middleweight king Israel Adesanya.
Visiting the FLAGRANT podcast, Izzy made it clear on how confident he is in Volkanovski’s chances to achieve double champ status.
“Islam is great. These Dagi boys, they know what they’re doing. But I truly, gun to my head, could bet my whole house on him. Volk is just different,” Adesanya said.
“Volk used to be a fat guy. Like, a big boy, brawley, played rugby. When you walk around with that kind of body mass for years, you develop a different kind of muscle density. Even with Volk, I’ve tried to hold him down. I’m not the greatest wrestler, but even with my frame and leverage, it’s hard. He finds his way back up. He’s a crafty veteran. His inside leg kick, his jabs, his hand control; all that shit, he’s crafty.”
Beneil Darisuh gives advice to Alexander Volkanovski
Top ranked lightweight Beneil Dariush, who was scheduled to fight Makhachev a while back and therefore studied the Dagestani a lot, also gives the Australian featherweight a good chance of winning the lightweight gold.
“I think Volkanovski’s striking style is great for this fight. But what I think Islam is going to do is implement a lot of clinching,” Dariush said. “It’ll be Thai clinch, wrestling clinch, judo throws; stuff like that, to wear on him,” Dariush told Luke Thomas in a interview a while back.
“I would say, if you’re gonna prepare for this, be ready to Thai clinch, be ready to defend the body lock clinches, know your head positions, know where your footwork needs to be.