Morning Report: Israel Adesanya: Islam Makhachev is ‘that dude,’ but Alexander Volkanovski ‘shines under pressure’


Israel Adesanya is confident the world will hear “and new” this Saturday night in Perth, Australia.

UFC featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski aims to further cement himself in the history books at UFC 284 on home soil. “The Great” returns to the lightweight division for the first time since his promotional debut in 2016. This time, he’ll be challenging for 155-pound gold against recently minted titleholder, Islam Makhachev.

While smaller in stature, what Volkanovski isn’t short of is talent to work with at his gym of City Kickboxing (CKB). Amongst his many teammates is former middleweight champion Adesanya, who has kept a close eye on the preparation ahead of the highly anticipated clash.

“He shines under pressure,” Adesanya told The Mac Life. “I expect nothing less from him this weekend. It’s gonna be won on the feet. That’s where I feel the fight’s going to be won.

“Look, he has a tough task ahead of him. Let’s not mince words or make mistakes about that. Islam is that dude, and I like the way Alex says just keep that same energy when it’s over, don’t try and tell me, ‘Ah, well, he’s only fought two Top 10 guys. Ah, well, he’s not actually Khabib [Nurmagomedov].’ Nah, keep that same energy.”

UFC 284 will mark only Makhachev’s fourth main event appearance, therefore, his fourth five-round affair. When headlining UFC Vegas 31 in July 2021, Makhachev eclipsed the 15-minute mark, defeating Thiago Moises via a fourth-round rear-naked choke submission. It’s the only time the strong wrestler has competed in a fourth or fifth round in his 24-fight career.

Volkanovski, on the other hand, lives and breaths by the championship environments. Adesanya is no stranger to 25-minute bouts himself and believes the extra time could end up being a factor in such a high-level stylistic matchup

“I don’t think Islam’s gone past round three so there’s that,” Adesanya said. “Everyone wants to be a champion until you gotta go five rounds and you gotta train for five rounds. I know they do their work, respect to their dynasty, but yeah, respect to our dynasty as well on this side of the world. They’re gonna find out.”

In regards to “the dynasty,” Adesanya returns to action this upcoming April at UFC 287 in a rematch with his longtime rival and now UFC champion Alex Pereira. The Brazilian kickboxing sensation dethroned “The Last Stylebender” this past November, scoring a fifth-round come-from-behind TKO win.

Adesanya has taken the loss in stride and continues to use the trajectory of the rivalry as a motivational tool.

“I’m not one of these guys who just chills,” Adesanya said. “I can duck this guy or wait for this guy or wait for this guy to do this. Nah, who’s ready to fight? I roll the dice.

“This is a part of my story. In any story, there are valleys. Also for him, one man’s hero is another man’s villain. If you look at his life from his point of view, I’m the villain. I’m the guy — the underdog that he beat. I went to the UFC, he chased me, got to me, beat me. So, this is my story now. This is my time for his story.”


Crossover. Deontay Wilder challenges Francis Ngannou to boxing match and MMA fight

Prediction. Islam Makhachev responds to Dana White, thinks Conor McGregor retires after loss to Michael Chandler

Darkness. Bellator 290’s Brennan Ward opens up on when he hit rock bottom

Sightseer. Alexander Volkanovski: Conor McGregor ‘right back in the conversation’ for title shot with Michael Chandler win

Crazy. Shannon Ross’ insane story off fighting for UFC contract with ruptured appendix, blood poisoning

Emotion. Yair Rodriguez has conflicted feelings about interim title ahead of UFC 284 fight with Josh Emmett


Between the Links.

UFC 284 Open workouts.

MMA Fighting’s Jose Youngs chats with Robert Whittaker.

UFC 284 Fighters Pick Makhachev vs. Volkanovski.

MMA Fighting’s Damon Martin chats with Tommy Fury.

Embedded 4.

Volk’s debut.

Brothers in gold.

The first trip to Perth.

All Access.

Michael Chandler breaks down lightweight.

PFL Preview.


Heck of a Morning. MMA Fighting’s Mike Heck discusses where Alexander Volkanovski would rank on the GOAT list with a UFC 284 win.



On deck.






Why so serious about Jimmy Bars, Randy?.





This guy.

Truth teller.


Thug Nasty.

Not cool, B.



Coming up.

…and beyond!


Raphael Assunçâo (28-9) vs. Davey Grant (14-6); UFC Vegas 71, March 11

Sam Hughes (7-5) vs. Jaqueline Amorim (6-0); UFC 287, April 8

Ricky Glenn (22-6-2) vs. Christos Giagos (19-10); UFC Fight Night, April 22


I have gone and officially picked Volkanovski in this fight, but man, it’s about as much of a toss-up fight as I’ve ever witnessed a build to. The last time I was so unsure of an outcome was probably Cody Garbrandt vs. T.J. Dillashaw 1. Yes, hilarious in hindsight, I know.

Happy Friday, friends. Thanks as always for reading and enjoy the super sports weekend.


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