What a performance it was from Volk. Although coming up short via a controversial decision, it was an extremely close fight and if the fifth round had gone for an extra minute, there’s strong possibility we’d be looking at a new two-weight champion. Many expected him to be dominated on the ground, yet the former concreter showed how much he has improved his ground game. Although losing the fight, Volks performance ensured he retained his number 1 pound for pound ranking. Yair Rodriguez won the interim featherweight championship in the co-main event, setting up a mouth-watering clash between the pair in the future. Volk will have to decide soon whether he will chase the rematch with Islam or defend his lightweight title.
Interesting performance from Makachev. Was expected by many to dominate Volk over the course of 5 rounds with his superior wrestling ability, yet never looked close to submitting or finishing the Aussie champ. His stand-up was probably more impressive than most expected, tagging and countering Volk several times throughout the fight. There aren’t many challengers left at lightweight for Makachev, except for maybe Beneil Dariush, the number 4 ranked lightweight, currently boasting an impressive 8 win streak. Islam has also teased moving up a weight division to welterweight.
What a finish this was from Yair, making Josh Emmett submit for the first time and getting his first submission finish with a triangle choke at the end of Round 2. For so long, Yair had been known as one of the most exciting fighters in the whole UFC, mainly because of his strikes and flair. However, now he has proven that he has more than just an amazing stand up game. He copped a heavy hit from Emmett, yet handled himself superbly after. Now the interim champion, Yair will be eyeing off a fight with Volkanovski to become the undisputed featherweight champ. However, Volk has given Yair the green light to defend the title whilst he chases a rematch with Makachev.
Unfortunate night for Emmett, Rodriguez was just too good. He landed several hard blows yet continued to get folded by Yair’s kicks to the body. Back to the drawing board for Josh. Knowing him, he will want to get back into the octagon soon as possible to build himself back as a serious contender. Maybe Ilia Topuria or the ‘Korean Zombie’ Chan Sung Jung.
Jack Della Maddalena
The UFC may have found a future star in Della Maddalena after submitting Jamaican Randy Brown in 2 minutes. JDM managed to drop Brown with several right hooks before locking in a rear-naked choke, earning himself a well-deserved ‘performance of the night bonus’. In the post-fight show, JDM called out the #9 ranked welterweight Vicente Luque. Whether or not this happens, expect a top 15 opponent for JDM as he begins his ascent to the top of welterweight rankings.
Although this fight was an absolute epic way to start the card, it wasn’t Jimmy’s best performance in the UFC, battling out a draw with Alonzo Menifield. Crute was lucky to get away with a draw with Menifield deducted a point after grabbing the fence in Rd 3 and being saved by the bell in Rd 1. With the high quality of the fight, expect these two to run it back sometime in the future, something which both men expressed interest in post-fight.
Tafa scored a brutal walk-off knockout over American Parker Porter at UFC 284. Porter leaned in and copped a heavy left from Tafa that knocked him cold and unable to get up. This is Tafa’s second straight knockout in the UFC, in the post-fight show, Tafa expressed interest in fighting on the Adesanya/Pereira card in Miami on April 8. If he continues knocking out opponents, expect a top 15 fight to come sooner rather than later.