Sean O’Malley Says Alexander Volkanovski Will Be a “Lot Bigger of a Challenge’ Than Islam Makhachev Expects

Sean O'Malley believes Alexander Volkanovski has a good chance of defeating Islam Makhachev, but if he can't, who can?

Alexander Volkanovski
Courtesy of Helen Yee Sports on YouTube / @ESPNMMA on Twitter

If Alexander Volkanovski can’t get the job done against Islam Makhachev, Sean O’Malley has no idea who can. 

The No. 1 ranked bantamweight contender sat down with Helen Yee on YouTube to discuss the upcoming champion vs. champion showdown at UFC 284 between reigning lightweight champion Islam Makhachev and No. 1 ranked pound-for-pound fighter in the world, Alexander Volkanovski. O’Malley revealed that he is very impressed with Makhachev’s work inside the Octagon, but believes Volkanovski could present a bigger challenge than Khabib Nurmagomedov’s protege is anticipating.

“I recently watched Islam vs. Charles. Literally like, probably this week and I was very impressed with Islam’s striking.”

“Those Dagestanis, those guys got some good striking. You know, they’re such known for their grappling, but those guys can throw good combinations and they have good striking. I was impressed with Islam’s striking and it’s gonna be tough beating that dude. I do have a feeling Alexander Volkanovski is gonna be a lot bigger of a challenge than everyone thinks. Could even potentially get the job done against Islam, but if Alex can’t, I don’t know who can.”

Sean O’Malley Can’t See Anyone Other Than Alexander Volkanovski Dethroning Islam Makhachev

Alexander Volkanovski reigns supreme in the 145-pound division at the moment. Asked if he sees anyone actively competing at lightweight who is capable of defeating Islam Makhachev, O’Malley was unable to come up with a single name. 

“It’s hard. We all know how crazy fighting is. It could happen, but that dude is so good. I mean, look how good Charles is and Islam submitted him. We’ll see.” 

Makhachev and Volkanovski will clash in the main event of UFC 284 on February 11th when the promotion heads to the RAC Arena in Perth, Australia. With Volkanovski moving up to challenge for the 155-pound title, top-five featherweights Yair Rodriguez and Josh Emmett will compete in the co-main event of the evening for the interim 145-pound championship. 

Published on January 2, 2023 at 3:28 pm
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