UFC 284 Predictions: Does Alexander Volkanovski Have What It Takes To Beat Islam Makhachev?
(Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images)
— 10 February 2023

UFC 284 Predictions: Does Alexander Volkanovski Have What It Takes To Beat Islam Makhachev?

— 10 February 2023
Garry Lu
Garry Lu

Welcome to Octagon Oracle. Each week, we’ll set aside some time to break down the other sweet science in anticipation of the upcoming UFC event. This edition covers UFC 284 predictions, betting odds, and just a dash of armchair analysis (main card). Enjoy the hostilities and gamble responsibly.

Just weeks away from what is arguably the biggest MMA event of the year, Australia’s Alexander Volkanovski and Islam Makhachev made their UFC 284 predictions after facing off at last month’s media event hosted in George St, Sydney.

“He’s got a pretty big head. An easy target,” quipped the homegrown featherweight champion and reigning pound-for-pound king, who’s moving up a weight class in a bid to join the rarefied class of UFC two-division titleholders.

Considering how Volkanovski has managed to make elite strikers like Max Holloway and the recently retired Jose Aldo look positively ordinary, we like those odds. But the Wollongong native will have to overcome more than just a 10-centimetre height difference…


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As per the modus operandi of his Dagestani team – i.e. countrymen/close friend/mentor Khabib Nurmagomedov – and his go-style of combat informed by a very strong wrestling and sambo background, Makhachev has promised another signature submission win.

Volk’s success hinges entirely upon how he responds to the world-beating grappling of Makhachev’s calibre, which not even a decorated submission assassin like former lightweight champion Charles Oliveira could contend with.

“[Volkanovski] tried to bring some wrestling to his team to make his wrestling good but you have to wrestle all your life,” said Khabib’s protege.

“This is not boxing or kickboxing. This is different. With wrestling, you have to do it your whole life.”

While this is by no means the first cross-division bout between champions in the UFC, this does mark the first instance the top men’s pound-for-pound fighters have met inside the Octagon.

Should Volkanovski walk away unvictorious, he’ll retain his featherweight belt, but lose his #1 ranking in the process.

Should Volkanovski prevail over potentially the most formidable opponent of his entire professional career, he won’t just have another belt to add to his trophy cabinet back in Windang and protect said #1 ranking – he’ll have made an extremely compelling case to be named the UFC’s latest GOAT.

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“We’re making history, and me moving up and fighting the #2 pound-for-pound guy just makes it even bigger,” Alexander Volkanovski told News Corp (via Code Sports).

“No one’s ever gone into a champ-champ fight against someone who was so highly ranked, and I can’t wait to get over there and prove the doubters wrong.”

The Great added: “People are looking at the size difference and calling it a David and Goliath story, but all that just makes the win so much bigger.”

“He’s a good fighter, he’s got some good wins, but we adapt to different styles better than anyone. There are a lot of guys he’s faced that don’t know how to work out that puzzle. I guarantee you I do.”

“My last fight was for the belt, the next fight is for the rankings. I’m going to be the best fighter of all – it means the world to me,” said Islam Makhachev.

Here are our predictions for UFC 284: Islam Makhachev vs Alexander Volkanovski.

RELATED: UFC 284 Is On Track To Break Conor McGregor’s Pay-Per-View Record

UFC 284 Predictions (Main Card)

UFC 284 Predictions: Can Alexander Volkanovski Pull It Off?

Islam Makhachev vs Alexander Volkanovski (Odds & Prediction)

  • Division: Lightweight
  • Records: Islam Makhachev (23-1 MMA, 12-1 UFC) | Alexander Volkanovski (25-1 MMA, 12-0 UFC)
  • Recent Performance: Islam Makhachev (5-0) | Alexander Volkanovski (5-0)
  • Rankings: Islam Makhachev – Lightweight Champion, #2 Pound-For-Pound | Alexander Volkanovski – Featherweight Champion, #1 Pound-For-Pound King
  • Boss Bet Odds: Islam Makhachev – $1.26 | Alexander Volkanovski – $3.90

Armchair Analysis

If anyone has a chance at defeating UFC lightweight champion Islam Makhachev in what is arguably his prime, it’s the one and only Alexander Volkanovski.

In the challenger, we have a dominant featherweight champion in his own right and reigning pound-for-pound king with a solid background in wrestling — a two-time junior Greco-Roman national champion, in fact; a fighter who’s been training closely with prolific grappler Craig Jones, survived the submission attempts of Brian Ortega, and in case you somehow forgot, he’s an elite counterpuncher who made Max Holloway, Jose Aldo, and the Korean Zombie (real name: Chan Sung Jung) look like amateurs.

In Makhachev, you have the protege of both Abdulmanap and Khabib Nurmagomedov themselves, who was the division’s boogeyman long before he seized the throne from the formidable Charlies Oliveria at UFC 280 with relative ease; and long before he was even ranked. Similar to Khabib, Makhachev is unrivalled in his wrestling and has been steadily working towards developing a full MMA toolbox.

Volk may have survived Ortega’s nasty mounted guillotine and triangle, which looked to be finishers at UFC 266 before those unbelievable escapes, but let’s be real here: Islam Makhachev ain’t Brian Ortega. They’re barely the same species.

So what tips it in Volkanovski’s favour for us? For one, in the wake of his complete retirement from MMA which includes coaching, Khabib Nurmagomedov won’t be in Makhachev’s corner for UFC 284. For another, Makhachev wants to prove himself with a knockout finish a la Ronda Rousey vs Holly Holm, placing him squarely in Volkanovski’s arena (stand up) as opposed to his own (the ground). It’s also worth noting Makhachev’s solitary professional loss has come by way of TKO.

As evenly matched as this may be, our bet has to be on Australia’s Alexander “The Great” Volkanovski.


Yair Rodriguez vs Josh Emmett (Odds & Prediction)

Armchair Analysis

As unorthodox as Yair Rodriguez’s striking may appear, Max Holloway proved during their 2021 Fight Night that he’s not some unsolvable enigma. Far from it. Throw in the fact that two of his last three wins were the result of freak incidents – Brian Ortega’s shoulder injury; Hail Mary spinning elbow knockout against the Korean Zombie at the final second of the final round – along with his lack of activity in the UFC, and it all paints a pretty unconvincing picture.

Josh Emmett, on the other hand, has been quietly grinding away against some absolute monsters within the division despite his advanced age (37). And say what you will about his razor-thin split decision victory against Calvin Kattar at their 2022 Fight Night, you simply cannot deny that, a) he earned it the hard way against the younger man, and b) the man throws heat.

Our bet’s on Josh Emmett becoming the interim UFC featherweight champion in Volkanovski’s absence.

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Jack Della Maddalena vs Randy Brown (Odds & Prediction)

Armchair Analysis

Granted, there’s no such thing as a sure thing in the world of MMA, although backing Jack Della Maddalena is potentially the closest you’ll ever come. Currently on a 13-win streak with spectacular KO/TKO finishes in four of his last five bouts, we expect this young talent to run through Randy Brown like a hot knife through butter.

Our bet’s on Jack Della Maddalena.

Justin Tafa vs Parker Porter (Odds & Prediction)

Armchair Analysis

The smart money says Parker Porter has this in the bag on the merits of a better resume and far more experience. But in light of how tirelessly Justin Tafa has been training, and the fact he’s beefing on home turf, our heart says the Bad Man will pull off something magical a la his bout against Harry Hunsucker.

Our bet’s on Justin Tafa.

Jimmy Crute vs Alonzo Menifield (Odds & Prediction)

Armchair Analysis

Hungry to get back on track after consecutive losses against current light heavyweight champion Jamahall Hill and former championship contender Anthony Smith, Jimmy Crute will certainly have his work cut out for him with Alonzo Menifield, who returns after consecutive KO/TKO victories against Misha Cirkunov and Askar Mozharov. Similar to the case of Justin Tafa vs Parker Porter, however, we have a feeling the local boy will dig deep and get the job done.

Our bet’s on Jimmy Crute

UFC 284: Islam Makhachev vs Alexander Volkanovski goes down next Sunday at the RAC Arena, Perth (Main Card Local Time – February 12h of 2023, 2 PM [AEDT]) – the promotion’s first pay-per-view event to take place on our sunburnt shores since 2019 and its 16th trip to Australia overall.

Keen to take a punt on UFC 284: Islam Makhachev vs Alexander Volkanovski after reading these predictions? Get in on the action below.


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Garry Lu
After stretching his legs with companies such as The Motley Fool and the odd marketing agency, Garry joined Boss Hunting in 2019 as a fully-fledged Content Specialist. In 2021, he was promoted to News Editor. Garry proudly retains a blue belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, black bruises from Muay Thai, as well as a black belt in all things pop culture. Drop him a line at [email protected]