Dan Hardy Provides Detailed Breakdown Of Islam Makhachev vs. Alexander Volkanovski II: ‘The Pressure Is Off Him’

Dan Hardy thinks Alexander Volkanovski is feeling less pressure for UFC 294 compared to fighting at featherweight.

Dan Hardy
Dan Hardy (Left) and Islam Makhachev vs. Alexander Volkanovski I (Right)(Images via Instagram @DanHardyMMA and @UFC)

Former UFC fighter Dan Hardy thinks Alexander Volkanovski is less threatening to Islam Makachev than Charles Oliveira. 

The UFC 294 fight week has arrived, and the main event is drastically different than expected. Instead of Islam Makhachev vs. Charles Oliveira II, the Russian superstar will defend his lightweight throne against Alexander Volkanovski in a highly-anticipated rematch.

While discussing the October 21 event with Submission Radio, former fighter and highly respected analyst Dan Hardy broke down Makhachev vs. Volkanovski II.

Hardy started by addressing the UFC featherweight champion taking the fight on less than two weeks’ notice: 

“When it’s such a high-profile situation, there’s always a caveat that’s remembered that it was taken on short notice. Even if [Volkanovksi] loses, people are always gonna go, ‘Yeah, but he took that on a couple weeks notice, remember?” I don’t think he’s going to disqualify himself from being back in this position if that makes sense.”

Dan Hardy’s next topic point was regarding Volkanovski potentially losing and not getting another chance against Makhachev. Hardy explained how he thinks ‘The Great’ could get a trilogy fight against the 155-pound king, regardless of the outcome at UFC 294:

“Of course I would expect him to go back down to featherweight and be in the mix there for a couple fight before they reestablish this matchup again.”

Hardy also had this to say about Volkanovski not having as much pressure fighting for the lightweight title compared to defending his featherweight throne: 

“The pressure is off him. I think that must be quite refreshing for him. I think maybe it’s one of the reasons why he went up to face Makhachev in the first place. When you’ve been the champion for a while, I would imagine it’s quite daunting to step in there every time with that expectation that you’re going to dominate, you have to because you’re the champ.”

Dan Hardy believes Alexander Volkanovski will be an easier fight for Islam Makhachev compared to Charles Oliveira

Alexander Volkanovski is a legitimate threat to Islam Makhachev’s throne come October 21. With that said, there is a difference between Volkanovski being fight-ready and Charles Oliveira putting in a full training camp.

During the previously-mentioned breakdown with Submission Radio, Dan Hardy talked about the preparations Makhachev had done for Oliveira: 

“If I’m Makhachev, I’ve been preparing for Charles Oliveira. I’ve been preparing for a handful no matter where the fight goes. He’s chaos on the feet. You don’t really know what to expect…You’ve got to imagine [Oliveira] would have brought a different level of conditioning as well, maybe a different level of output.”

Dan Hardy concluded his detailed breakdown by describing why Makhachev should have an advantage in the UFC 294 main event:

“Makhachev is going to be in probably the best condition he’s ever been in. I think looking at Volk, it’s a much clearer fight to win for [Makhachev] here. It’s far less threatening in certain ranges, especially if he can get Volk to the floor…I feel like Makhachev is going to be patient in this one and let Volk come to him and bring the pressure. Especially because Volk is most likely going to put his foot on the gas because he might want to get it finished because he don’t know how his conditioning is gonna be.”

Islam Makhachev hasn’t fought since his first meeting with Alexander Volkanovski in February of this year.

As for the featherweight world champion, he’s bounced back from his disappointing defeat against Makhachev by taking out Yair Rodriguez on July 8. 

On Saturday, October 21, Volkanovski has an opportunity to flip the script and become a two-division UFC champion on short notice. It’ll be easier said than done, as Makhachev has proven to be one of the best pound-for-pound fighters on the planet.

Watch Dan Hardy’s entire appearance on Submission Radio below:

Published on October 17, 2023 at 4:34 am
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