Here’s Why the UFC 284: Makhachev vs. Volkanovski Main Event is So Important

UFC 284:Makhachev vs. Volkanovski

Huge title fight this weekend between the number-one and number-two ranked fighters in the UFC. Featherweight champion Alexander “The Great” Volkanovski is moving up to 155 pounds to challenge for lightweight title holder Islam Makhachev’s belt at UFC 284, along with pound-for-pound bragging rights.

A top heavy PPV main card, UFC 284 (Saturday, February 11, 7 p.m. PST / 10 p.m. EST on ESPN+), which goes down live from the RAC Arena in Perth, Australia, features two title fights, along with a bevy of matchups geared towards the Oceanic region. The two championship bouts are the big attraction here, with featherweights Yair Rodriguez and Josh Emmett battling for the interim belt while Volkanovski pursues champ-champ status in the main event.

STREAM UFC 284 PPV HERE – SAturDay 2/11

So, buckle up and join us as we break down the key matchups on the UFC 284 PPV main card on ESPN+.

Main Event: Islam Makhachev (-380) vs. Alexander Volkanovski (+310)

If you’ve made it this far, then you already realize that this fight between Makhachev and Volkanovski is not only for the former’s lightweight title, but also for the latter’s number-one pound-for-pound ranking. It’s incredibly fascinating stuff.

On paper, this matchup between champions seems to favor the 5-foot-10 Makhachev (23-1 MMA, 12-1 UFC), who not only owns a distinct height and size advantage over Volkanovski (25-1 MMA, 12-0 UFC), but also enters the UFC 284 PPV main event riding a five fight finishing streak, the most recent of which was a dominant submission of the UFC’s all-time submission king, Charles Oliveira, at UFC 280.

STREAM UFC 284 PPV HERE – SAturDay 2/11

Volkanovski, on the other hand, has never lost in the UFC Octagon, and has demonstrated some of the most brilliant fight I.Q. and in-fight adjustments during his current 22-fight win streak.

Stylistically, it benefits Makhachev to bring the fight, and pressure the challenger from the opening bell. Conversely, Volkanovski, who has an impressive 71-inch reach despite a 5-foot-6 frame, is best suited to fight from the outside, using leg kicks to set up punches to score points from the judges.

As evidenced by his first featherweight title defense, at UFC 251 in 2020, Volkanovski knows how to beat taller fighters. He’s adept at employing all his weapons to land strikes when they matter most and make adjustments in between rounds. Volkanovski also has some incredible submission defense, as seen in his 2021 title defense against jiu-jitsu ace Brian Ortega at UFC 266.

STREAM UFC 284 PPV HERE – SAturDay 2/11

Makhachev also employs a defensively responsible style, albeit on the feet, but it’s in the clinch and on the ground where he uses his signature wrestling prowess to dominate opponents.

For those on the MMA betting circuit, it’s tough to pick against Makhachev here. His size and momentum make him seem unbeatable against Volkanovski. Makhachev has all the tools to bring the fight to the challenger, close the distance, and land smothering takedowns. But, for those who like to take long odds on heavy underdogs, well, Volkanovski is as game as they come.

Co-Main Event: Yair Rodriguez (-190) vs. Josh Emmett (+160)

The UFC 284 co-main event is an incredible matchup for the interim featherweight title. Second-ranked Yair “El Pantera” Rodriguez takes on fifth-ranked Josh Emmett in what is essentially a title eliminator while champ Volkanovski pursues champ-champ dream, and stylistically, it’s a total banger of a fight.

For Emmett (18-2 MMA, 9-2 UFC), the chance to fight for the title is a long time coming. A winner of five-straight fights, Emmett is, arguably, the biggest puncher in the featherweight division. With massive power in his hands and an excellent wrestling game, he delivers incredible action in his fights, constantly sacrificing his body by walking into dangerous positions. This fan-friendly style also makes for the perfect yin to Rodriguez’ yang.

Known for his tremendous kicking game, “El Pantera” (14-3 MMA, 9-2 UFC, 1 No Contest) has one of the more aesthetically pleasing styles in the entire UFC. A striker by nature, Rodriguez has delivered one of the UFC’s all-time highlights, knocking out The Korean Zombie in 2018 with a last-second ducking, spinning up-elbow. Some even call it the greatest knockout of all time.

Making major improvements to his wrestling and ground game since debuting with the UFC in 2015, Rodriguez has become a fan favorite, especially in his native Mexico. His five Fight of the Night awards, along with three Performance of the Night bonuses, have catapulted Rodriguez into elite territory, but Emmett is a different kind of opponent, one who will come forward and accept damage, without retreating.

STREAM UFC 284 PPV HERE – SAturDay 2/11

There’s a very good chance that the Rodriguez vs. Emmett interim featherweight title bout will deliver the UFC 284 Fight of the Night. These two already possess action-heavy styles, and with the stakes as high as they can possibly be (a title fight against Volkanovski awaits the winner), it’s almost a certainty that both competitors will bring their best weapons and gameplans to the Octagon for this one.

Jack Della Maddalena (-325) vs. Randy Brown (+270)

On paper, the UFC 284 featured fight between Jack Della Maddalena (11-2 MMA, 3-0 UFC) and Randy Brown (16-4 MMA, 10-4 UFC) appears to be booked as a big coming out party for Perth native Della Maddalena.

Just a little over a year into his UFC run, Della Maddalena has displayed incredible boxing in his three Octagon appearances since debuting at UFC 270. Finishing all his opponents with punches in the first round, Della Maddalena brings the fight, pressuring forward to deliver massive power shots in close range.

Brown, on the other hand, is a more well-rounded fighter, using his height, reach, speed and agility to strike and grapple.

STREAM UFC 284 PPV HERE – SAturDay 2/11

There’s a reason why Della Maddalena is a big favorite in this one. He dishes out punishment and can take a punch to give one of his own. But, Brown is a higher caliber opponent than he’s previously faced and will be very hard to hit on fight night.

Still, the smart money’s on Della Maddalena, but gamblers might want to put a small amount on Brown to win. Just make sure to hedge that one, as the odds are long.

UFC 284 Fight Card

UFC 284 Pay Per View Main Card (on ESPN+ PPV) 7 p.m. PST / 10 p.m. EST

  • Alexander Volkanovski vs. Islam Makhachev — for the UFC lightweight title
  • Yair Rodriguez vs. Josh Emmett – for the interim UFC featherweight title
  • Jack Della Maddalena vs. Randy Brown
  • Justin Tafa vs. Parker Porter
  • Jimmy Crute vs. Alonzo Menifield

UFC 284 Prelims (on ESPN+ & ESPN) 5 p.m. PST / 8 p.m. EST

  • Tyson Pedro vs. Modestas Bukauskas
  • Joshua Culibao vs. Melsik Baghdasaryan
  • Shannon Ross vs. Kleydson Rodrigues
  • Jamie Mullarkey vs. Francisco Prado

UFC 284 Early Prelims (on ESPN+ & UFC FightPass) 3 p.m. PST / 6 p.m. EST

  • Jack Jenkins vs. Don Shainis
  • Loma Lookboonmee vs. Elise Reed
  • Shane Young Blake Bilder
  • Zubaira Tukhugov vs. Elves Brenner

*fight card subject to change
** all odds current as of time of writing

Dan Shapiro is a writer, editor, musician, and producer currently based in Los Angeles. In addition to covering some of the biggest fights in combat sports history, he’s also hunted down the world’s best sushi, skied the northern hemisphere in July, and chronicled Chinese underground music for publications like CNN, the New York Daily News, VICE, and Time Out. Dan also conjured up a ghost at the Chateau Marmont while out on assignment for RoadTrippers. Follow him on Twitter here.

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