As well as the crowning of a new champion this past weekend, the 155-pound division also looked to have its next matchup at the top set.
After Islam Makhachev submitted Charles Oliveira to ensure the gold was wrapped around his waist post-fight, talk quickly turned to the presence of another divisional king in the crowd. Cageside at UFC 280 was featherweight titleholder Volkanovski, who weighed in on Yas Island as the headliner’s backup fighter.
While Dana White had seemingly confirmed as much ahead of time, Khabib Nurmagomedov’s public outlining of his man’s plan to face “The Great” in Australia early next year appeared to cement the champ vs. champ matchup.
As well as Makhachev’s newly won lightweight gold being on the line should the pairing be made official for UFC 284 next February, the top spot on the pound-for-pound ladder will also likely be up for grabs.
While Volkanovski secured that status owing to his impressive performance against Max Holloway in July and Kamaru Usman‘s defeat the following month, opening odds on BetOnline.ag have him sat as a +285 underdog against Makhachev, whose line reads -360.
Despite that, one of Volkanovski’s possible future challengers at 145 pounds is backing him to make the fight more competitive than the odds would suggest.
Allen: ‘Volkanovski Is P4P Number One For A Reason’
During a recent appearance on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani, #6-ranked featherweight Arnold Allen was asked how he thinks Volkanovski will fare when he returns to lightweight for the first time since his UFC debut back in 2016.
While he didn’t offer a direct prediction, the Englishman did suggest that there’s a reason why Volkanovski currently occupies the P4P throne, and he expects those credentials to shine through at 155 pounds.
“Yeah, I think he’ll do well. He’s good, man. He’s pound-for-pound number one for a reason,” Allen said. “So, I’m sure if that’s the move he’s making, I’m sure he’s gonna make a good effort. He’s not gonna go up there and look out of place.”
While Volkanovski looks ahead to a temporary departure from his featherweight reign in order to pursue champ-champ status, “Almighty” Allen will hope to cement his place as the man waiting for the Aussie inside the Octagon when he returns.
To do so, the Ipswich native will first have to get past perennial contender Calvin Kattar. The pair are set to headline UFC Vegas 63 this weekend in Las Vegas.
Do you agree with Arnold Allen’s take on Alexander Volkanovski vs. Islam Makhachev?
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