In February, Islam Makhachev successfully defended his UFC Lightweight Championship in a challenging bout against the featherweight champion, Alexander Volkanovski.
This duo squared off once again on the main card of UFC 294 this Saturday, and Makhachev delivered a big statement along with winning the first round via knockout.
Makhachev’s original opponent, Charles Oliveira, had to withdraw due to an injury, so Volkanovski stepped in on short notice, which was a significant risk for him. Nonetheless, he chose to take up the challenge, and it paid off as Makhachev raised his hand in victory in their first-round encounter.
Both fighters put up a fierce struggle, with Makhachev appearing more dominant compared to their previous encounter. Makhachev managed to close in on Volkanovski and landed some significant strikes, even causing a cut on Volkanovski’s head, resulting in bloodshed.
After separating from the clinch, Makhachev landed a massive head kick and a barrage of ground and pound strikes, leading to a stoppage at the 3:06 mark of the first round.
Speaking about the finish, Makhachev said, “I showed the low kick and the body kick first and then switched to the high kick. It’s our whole plan that we’ve been working on. This guy is a true champion. He’s going five rounds, he never gives up. He’s a real champion. Thanks, Alex.”
Makhachev made it clear that he doesn’t pick his opponents and doesn’t have any specific plans to call out his next challenger. Instead, he told UFC President Dana White and matchmakers, “Just give me someone.” He won the title in October 2022 with a submission victory over Oliveira.
Despite his disappointment with how the fight turned out, Volkanovski expressed his desire to fight again once his facial injuries healed. He claimed that sitting at home and not competing is mentally challenging for him.
Volkanovski exclaimed, “Without a doubt, a fantastic arrangement and a well-executed kick!” Obviously, it’s tough. I hate losing. It hurts me. He’s a great champion. I always support him. I always support him…I just want to say to the UFC, please keep me busy. I feel like I’m mentally struggling when I’m not fighting.”
Volkanovski is expected to face Ilia Topuria in his next featherweight title defense.
In other fights on the card, Khamzat Chimaev secured his ticket for a middleweight title shot with a decisive victory over former welterweight king Kamaru Usman by a unanimous decision.
Chimaev displayed his strength as he stormed out of the gate and nearly locked in a rear-naked choke on Usman before being able to shake him off from behind.
Usman rallied in the second round and showcased an impressive striking game, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the 10-8 round one scorecard.
In one of the strange bouts on Saturday, there was no contest between Magomed Ankalaev and Johnny Walker when Ankalaev delivered an illegal knee strike that got Walker disqualified in the first round. Ankalaev’s knee landed forcefully on Walker’s head, but Walker didn’t react to it.
The ringside doctor intervened, delaying the action to conduct a concussion test on Walker. Afterward, he advised the referee not to continue the fight. However, Walker insisted on moving forward, shoved the referee, and tried to make his way towards Ankalaev.
Security and even UFC President Dana White entered the octagon to control the situation, but it was a disappointing end to a bout that was gaining momentum.
CB Sports had you covered on Saturday, and below are all the results and key highlights from UFC 294.
UFC 294 Results and Highlights
Islam Makhachev defeated Alexander Volkanovski in the first round via TKO (head kick, punches).
Khamzat Chimaev lost to Kamaru Usman by a unanimous decision (29-27, 29-27, 28-28).
Magomed Ankalaev’s bout against Johnny Walker ended without a result (accidental foul).
Ikram Aliskerov was defeated in the first round via TKO (knees, punches) by Warlley Alves.
Nurmagomedov said, “Muin Gafurov lost to Muhammad Mokeev in the first round via submission (guillotine choke).
Tim Elliott lost to Trevor Peck in the third round via submission (arm-triangle choke).
Mohammad Yahya won by unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27) against Javid Basharat.
The fight between Victor Henry and Cedric Dumas ended without a result (accidental groin strike).
Abu Azaitar defeated Cedrix Dumas by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28).
Anshul Jubli was knocked out in the third round by Mike Breeden (punches).
Muhammad Naimov was defeated by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28) against Nathaniel Wood.
Victoria Dudaikova was defeated by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28) by Jinhyu Frey.
Sharaf Magomedov lost by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27) against Bruno Silva.