I was really counting on Alexander Volkanovski to be the one to beat Islam Makhachev and "slay the dragon" so to speak, but Makhachev clearly had other plans tonight. He wasn't losing in Abu Dhabi. Not on Fight Island. Not in front of Hasbulla.
After Volk ended the last fight on top of Makhachev, pouring it on with ground-and-pound, it almost seemed like Islam was fighting with something to prove tonight - despite getting the unanimous decision W last time. He went in there a bit more aggressive, possibly anticipating a slow start from the short-notice Volk, and had very clear intentions on setting up that head kick.
Paul Felder even mentioned the left high kick working for him in the first fight, and then moments later, he hits one that finishes Alexander Volkanovski for the first time in his UFC career.
I said it in my last blog, and I'll say it again: MMA is the wildest sport in the world.
As far as what's next for these guys: if Volkanovski can turn around in time, I think he'd still like to defend his Featherweight Championship against Ilia Topuria on January 20th. Whether or not he can do that with the concussion/cuts he received tonight, who knows.
For Islam, there's two very clear options: a rematch with Charles Oliveira (who he was originally scheduled to fight tonight) or a fresh matchup with Justin Gaethje (who just knocked Dustin Poirier out in the BMF Championship fight this Summer). I honestly don't even have much of a preference there, because they BOTH sound like bangers to me.
What a crazy card. I'll never forget that goofy ass doctor who tried to bring it down singlehandedly.
UPDATE: Looks like Islam Makhachev vs Charles Oliveira 2 will be next after all….