Russian star dethrones UFC pound-for-pound king

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Islam Makhachev retained his world title in a hard-fought battle in Australia

Russian champion Islam Makhachev defended his UFC lightweight title early on Sunday in an intense, five-round battle against hometown favorite Alex Volkanovsk in Perth, Australia in the UFC 284 headliner.

Makhachev, the fearsome Dagestani grappler, entered the cage as the reigning 155lb champion, but faced a stern challenge from the Australian, who was moving up from the featherweight (145lb) division he has dominated in a bid to become the UFC’s latest two-division titleholder.

But after a back-and-forth contest which saw both men tested on their feet and on the ground, it was Makhachev’s persistent aggression and suffocating grappling which proved enough to earn a unanimous decision victory on the judges’ scorecards.

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