Beneil Dariush sees a way for the smaller Alexander Volkanovski to defeat lightweight champion Islam Makhachev.
The UFC lightweight division has, for many years, been considered the most stacked division in the organization. Now with a massive champion versus-champion fight atop the division, all the other fighters at 155 pounds have to keep their eyes open and their gloves ready. One man who has a special interest in this upcoming bout between Alexander Volkanovski and Islam Makhachev is top-ranked contender Beneil Dariush.
Volkanovski has promised Dariush a fight if he were to win the title at UFC 284 in Perth, Australia. Dariush will of course have to do his part by winning his next fight against former champion Charles Oliveira, but it makes sense for him to be rooting for the smaller featherweight champion.
Beneil Dariush sees a way for Alexander Volkanovski to win against the bigger Islam Makhachev in Perth
Dariush has been quietly rising up the lightweight rankings over the past few years. Now it seems as if he is just one fight and one win away from a title shot. He is taking a look at both of the men he could potentially be facing next and sees an opportunity for Volkanovski to come out victorious on February 11. He spoke about this in an interview with Helen Yee.
“The keys to victory are for him, I think one thing Alex has to really focus on is the faints. If you watch Makhachev, he does everything basic, but he’s so good at the basics and he hides a lot of his takedowns and strikes behind his faints. So if he could figure out the faints and he can also use his own faints, which he has very good faints as well,” he said. “That’s going to be the first step to nullifying Makhachev’s takedown game and if he could do that, then the striking battle is going to be pretty good. I think he has a better chance of striking obviously but Makhachev can strike so it’s just a hard fight all around.”
Dariush can also see how the size difference could play a role in the bout. Much has been made of the height and weight discrepancy since the fight was booked, but none of that seems to worry Volkanovski.
“I was watching some interviews because it’s my division obviously I want to know what’s going on and I think he was talking about being like 175 or he’s 170 and wants to weigh 170 the day of the fight and I gotta be honest with you, he’s gonna be given up a lot of weight,” Dariush said. “I’ve heard different things, but I’ve heard Makhachev is like, over 180, I even heard some people say 190 which I don’t believe but I’ve heard he’s really big fight day, which makes a difference.”
Whoever wins on February 11, Dariush will make sure to be ready. If Volkanovski wins he will most likely have to return to featherweight to defend his title in that division. However the cards fall after UFC 284, the top lightweights, including Dariush will all be fighting for that next title shot.