Thursday, December 8, 2022

Whittaker Names What People Are Overlooking In Volk/Makhachev

Former UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker has named one thing he believes people are overlooking about Alexander Volkanovski ahead of a likely showdown with Islam Makhachev.

At UFC 280, the lightweight throne officially had a name attached to it. In the pay-per-view headliner, Makhachev achieved what he branded as his “destiny,” submitting Charles Oliveira to have the gold wrapped around his waist.

Post-fight, the Russian’s focus quickly turned to the first defense of his reign, with the likely challenger stood meters away at cageside.

After Khabib Nurmagomedov laid out the new champion’s plan to head to Australia next February to put his belt on the line against Volkanovski, the featherweight king entered the Octagon to accept the challenge.

Islam Makhachev & Alexander Volkanovski
Image Credit: Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

Following his path to the gold and decimation of “Do Bronx” in Abu Dhabi, many have suggested that Makhachev is set for a lengthy stint on top — something reflected in views towards Volkanovski’s chances against the new 155-pound titleholder.

As well as opening as a significant underdog per betting odds, 66% of just under 10,000 fans backed the Russian to retain in a poll ran by BT Sport’s Chamatkar Sandhu.

But despite many predicting that Makhachev won’t struggle to implement his smothering wrestling game against Volkanovski, one of the Australian’s compatriots begs to differ.

Whittaker: It Won’t Be Easy For Makhachev To Take Volk Down

During a recent appearance on Submission Radio, Robert Whittaker discussed the likely headliner for Perth, Australia’s UFC 284 card, which he’s set to collide with Paulo Costa on.

When asked whether Volkanovski’s detractors are underestimating an area of his game, “The Reaper” claimed that the well-rounded nature of the featherweight champ’s arsenal is being overlooked.

“Just how well rounded he is. Volk’s skillset’s quite high level. He’s a powerful guy,” Whittaker said. “I think he can control the fight a lot with his striking, and his strength and endurance is very high level. I don’t think it’ll be as easy for Islam to take him down and hold him that way as everybody thinks.”

Having reigned supreme at 145 pounds since dethroning Max Holloway in 2019, Volkanovski is committed to achieving further greatness with glory in a second division.

While many have doubted his ability to do so, that hasn’t affected his self-belief and motivation, which he claims is at an all-time high since he seemingly punched his ticket to a lightweight shot.

Do you agree with Robert Whittaker’s assessment of Islam Makhachev vs. Alexander Volkanovski?

Please provide transcription credit with a link to this article if you use any of these quotes.

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