Friday, December 2, 2022

Volkanovski Names Bigger Training Focus Out Of Oliveira/Islam

UFC Featherweight Champion Alexander Volkanovski has named which of this weekend’s headliners he’s put more focus on in training.

While Islam Makhachev and Charles Oliveira have arrived in Abu Dhabi with a championship clash set for Saturday’s UFC 280 main event, Volkanovski is in the UAE with a slim chance of competing come fight night.

Volkanovski will weigh-in on Friday as the main event’s official backup fighter, with the Australian 145lber looking to secure his chance at attaining champ-champ status by filling the replacement role.

While his presence in the cage will only be required should either Makhachev or Oliveira withdraw on late notice, that doesn’t mean Volkanovski has taken his position lightly.

But nonetheless, his camp hasn’t quite been a normal one.

Volkanovski: “It Is A Different Camp”

During a recent appearance on SiriusXM’s Won’t Back Down Radio podcast, hosted by former UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman, Volkanovski discussed his preparation ahead of a possible outing this weekend.

Given that circumstances could leave him facing either “Do Bronx” or his Dagestani rival, the featherweight king has had to incorporate training for both men during a relatively short pre-UFC 280 camp.

However, acknowledging that his conventional camps suit a matchup with Oliveira well, Volkanovski admitted that he’s placed more focus on adjusting his game for the challenges that Makhachev presents in recent weeks.

“It is a different camp. You gotta make a couple of different adjustments in camp to be ready, especially on such short time,” Volkanovski said. “With Charles, I think just my style and the normal camp I usually do works with him pretty well. My style and how I go about things is alright.

“The adjustments I need to make are more for Islam… For Islam, I guess I had to adjust my camp. If I had to focus more on anyone, it was probably Islam, purely because of the wrestling,” Volkanovski added. “I know while I’m fighting him, unless I land something big early, I know there’s a good chance he’s gonna grab a hold of me.”

If Makhachev and his mentor Khabib Nurmagomedov were asked a few weeks back, they no doubt would’ve suggested that Volkanovski would be needed on Saturday. Prior to fight week, “The Eagle” predicted that Oliveira wouldn’t show up to Abu Dhabi for the vacant title fight.

With the Brazilian firmly on UAE soil, the main event looks set to go ahead without issue, as of now. But should it be necessary, Volkanovski believes he’s more than ready to step in and take the 155-pound gold back to Australia.

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