One of UFC’s best pound-for-pound fighters, Alexander Volkanovski, saw his incredible run of 22 straight victories snapped at the hands of Islam Makhachev at UFC 284. Volkanovski’s defeat lived up to UFC predictions that picked Makhachev to retain his title.
Volkanovski’s last defeat prior to UFC 284 came in 2013. The defeat he suffered on May 10, 2013, had been the only blemish on Volkanovski’s impressive resume. During the streak, Alexander The Great notched 12 wins by knockout with seven first-round finishes.
The current Featherweight champion, Volkanovski, attempted to become the fifth champ-champ in UFC history. However, Makhachev ended those aspirations with a unanimous decision over Volkanovski.
The loss drops Volkanovski’s lifetime record to 25-2-0. His 57% blow effectiveness rate and 37% knockdown percentage highlight Volkanovski’s dominance. But it hasn’t been the brute force that has made Volkanovskia a fearsome fighter. It’s been his ability to land critical headshots. Volkanovski has landed 63% of his strikes to the head while 27% to the legs.
The End of an Era
Volkanovski’s defeat marks the end of an era for the 34-year-old Australian. His failed attempt at capturing the Lightweight title most likely signals Volkanovski will stay in the Featherweight class for the time being. However, no serious contenders have emerged recently.
Volkanovski’s previous fight before UFC 284 was a successful title defense against Max Holloway. Volkanovski won the fight by a unanimous decision back in July 2022. It seems that it’s back to the drawing board for Volkanovski as he prepares for his next bout.
The Man Behind the Streak
UFC fans see the silhouette of a formidable opponent. Volkanovski is a tough, no-nonsense fighter that’s as smart as he is aggressive. But there’s more to the man behind the streak than meets the eye.
Alexander Volkanovski was born in Australia in September 1988. His father was born in North Macedonia, while his mother hails from Greece. From an early age, Volkanovski was earmarked to become a rugby star.
He played for the Warilla Gorillas of the South Coast Rugby League, where he was named the league’s top player in 2010. He received the Mick Cronin award (league MVP) and the Man of the Match title in his team’s 2011 championship victory at the league’s Grand Final.
But life would take Volkanovski on a different journey. He had dabbled in Greco-Roman wrestling as a youngster. He would capture a national title at 12 in Australia. However, Volkanovski moved away from wrestling to focus on his promising rugby career.
But as successful as he had been in rugby, Volkanovski made a significant career pivot. He got into mixed martial arts (MMA).
Volkanovski states that his decision to pursue MMA stemmed from watching UFC fights on television. These pay-per-view events sparked a desire to compete in UFC.
Volkanovski was no stranger to the ring. He used Greco-Roman wrestling to stay in shape during the rugby offseason. As a result, the transition into MMA was a relatively smooth one.
Volkanovski developed strong counterstriking skills in addition to his fantastic wrestling skills.
After a string of amateur fights in the middleweight class, Volkanovski moved down to welterweight before settling on the featherweight class. It was in the featherweight division where Volkanovski found success.
The Move to UFC PrimeTime
Volkanovski went on an amazing 13-1 run as a pro-MMA fighter in Australia, winning the Featherweight championship in the Australian Fighting Championship (AFC). Volkanovski was poised to make the jump to UFC primetime.
The big night came in 2016. Volkanovski debuted at UFC Fight Night 101 as a lightweight. After a series of successful bouts, he captured UFC featherweight glory when he defeated Holloway in December 2019. Volkanovski took home the UFC Featherweight Championship at UFC 245 via unanimous decision.
Volkanovski successfully defended his title against Holloway in 2020 at UFC 251 via a split decision. Volkanovski-Holloway III went to Volkanovski in another unanimous decision.
Volkanovski is one of UFC’s best fighters despite his streak ending. UFC fans can expect more great things to come.