Alexander Volkanovski reveals he will serve as backup to UFC 280 main event after getting cleared to return from injury


UFC featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski got some great news about his injured hand and now he’s made him available for a potentially huge opportunity.

Volkanovski announced that his doctor cleared him for action on Monday after he sustained a hand injury during his victory over Max Holloway, a five-round decision. Volkanovski is now flying to Abu Dhabi as the official support for the lightweight title fight Charles Oliveira vs Islam Makhachev. This will be the main event.

“We’re locked in as the backup fighter,” Volkanovski said. “I’ve been calling for it, I said I wanted it. I just had to make sure the hand was all good. All is well, we have the permission to fight.

“The UFC’s on board, everyone’s on board so I’ll be at UFC 280 to make weight and looking forward to it.”

Over the past few years, the UFC has started employing backup fighters for marquee events to ensure a main event or title fight doesn’t lose out if one of the athletes involved is unable to compete for any number of reasons.

During the pandemic, when COVID positive tests routinely altered events in the final minute, backup fighters were even more important.

Volkanovski has been calling for an opportunity to move up to the lightweight division to challenge for the title and it appears that is definitely his plan now that he’s set as the backup fighter for UFC 280.

“Let’s see what happens,” Volkanovski stated. “If someone doesn’t make it, I’m there to save the day. If I don’t make it, then at least I am locked in to be the next man to fight for that lightweight title. That .”

Initially, Beneil Dariush told MMA Fighting that he was expected to serve as the backup to the main event since he was already scheduled on the card with his own fight against Mateusz Gamrot.

Dariush is riding an impressive seven-fight win streak but he’s been out of action since May 2021 due to an injury that prevented him from competing earlier in the year. While it appears he’ll no longer serve as the backup fighter to the main event, Dariush will still compete at UFC 280 in his scheduled bout against Gamrot.

As part of the process for a backup fighter, Volkanovski will weigh in along with all of the other athletes in Abu Dhabi and he’ll be required to make 155 pounds so he could potentially replace one of the fighters in the lightweight title fight.

From the sound of things, Volkanovski plans on hitting the scale and then turning his full attention to the lightweight division for the immediate future.