At UFC 280, Dariush delivered a performance that had many touting him as the next challenger for the lightweight throne, outpointing the highly touted Mateusz Gamrot on the pay-per-view main card.
But after Islam Makhachev dominated Charles Oliveira to have the previously vacant gold wrapped around his waist, the title picture quickly moved in a different direction, with the Russian’s plans to defend the belt against Volkanovski in Australia early next year being hammered home by a face-to-face interaction between the pair inside the Octagon.
Dariush has since admitted his disappointment at seeing the 145-pound kingpin have his claim for a shot at champ-champ status answered ahead of his lengthy eight-fight win streak at lightweight.
However, that hans’t stopped him from lending a helping hand to Volkanovski…
Dariush Warns Volkanovski About Makhachev’s Clinch
During an interview with Morning Kombat‘s Luke Thomas, Dariush provided his assessment of the Makhachev vs. Volkanovski matchup, which is expected to reach the Octagon at Perth’s UFC 284 card next February.
The Iranian-born American began by assessing what he believes will be the lightweight champion’s approach come fight night. Dariush is well placed to break down Makhachev’s style having essentially completed an entire camp to face him ahead of their planned showdown this past February.
And with that in mind, the #4-ranked contender offered Volkanovski some advice on how to prepare for and approach his likely clash with the Dagestani.
“I think Volkanovski’s striking style is great for this fight. But what I think Islam is going to do is implement a lot of clinching,” Dariush said. “It’ll be Thai clinch, wrestling clinch, judo throws; stuff like that, to wear on him. Because we’ve seen [Volkanovski] go five fives striking and do it easily almost. It didn’t even look like he was tired in the fifth round, which is incredible. I don’t think Islam’s gonna shoot a lot, because Islam, just in general, doesn’t shoot a lot. I was supposed to fight him, so I studied him a lot. He finds a way to get you to the cage, to clinch you up, and from the clinches, he gets his takedowns.
“I would say, if you’re gonna prepare for this, be ready to Thai clinch, be ready to defend the body lock clinches, know your head positions, know where your footwork needs to be. People think when you lock your hands, you have to be stronger, but actually, head position is really important,” Dariush continued. “I’d say to him, make sure you know where your head needs to be when you clinch, and always have your hips under you so he doesn’t throw you with his judo throws.”
If the oddsmakers are to be believed, Volkanovski will need all the help he can get. Per BetOnline.ag, the Australian opened as a +300 underdog, with Makhachev sitting pretty as a -400 favorite.
Volkanovski, however, has long proved his doubters wrong. He’ll be looking to continue that trend when he returns to 155 pounds for the first time since his UFC debut back in 2016 in pursuit of two-division glory.
What do you make of Beneil Dariush’s advice for Alexander Volkanovski?
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