Going into the main event of UFC 284, Islam Makhachev was mainly interested in Alexander Volkanovski’s No. 1 ranking pound-for-pound position. The UFC lightweight even put his title on the line. Makhachev went on to successfully defend it against Volkanovski by majority decision.
Despite defeating Volkanovski, Makhachev is still ranked No. 2 in the most recent UFC pound-for-pound rankings. The list was released yesterday. The Dagestani talked about the rankings snub, saying that he never anticipated justice in the first place.
Makhachev spoke about the prejudice against Russian athletes. He also implied the examples of Magomed Ankalaev and Petr Yan, two Russian sportsmen who have recently faced controversial verdicts.
Recently, the lightweight UFC champion said to Russian media:
“Thank you for congratulations. The road home is always good, no matter how long you fly. About the rankings, I never expected justice and still don’t. Because we saw on the example of our other fighters, [Magomed] Ankalaev, Petr Yan, saw the attitude towards us always. The main thing [is] I flew, 13000 kilometers. There defeated their champion, they raised my hand. And with a raised head, confidently with a belt, flew home.”
When asked if he suspects this is because of their country of origin, Makhachev acknowledged saying: “Maybe. ”
It’s worth noting that the three men in question share only their country of origin, Petr Yan is orthodox out of a different part of Russia while Ankalaev and Makhachev are Dagestani.
To his credit, Alexander Volkanovski gave Islam Makhachev the most difficult test of his professional career. Following the main event of UFC 284, Volkanovski said that he is still the best pound-for-pound and demanded a rematch right away to back up his claim.
Ankalaev was very upset after his split decision draw in December that left the Light heavyweight belt vacant and went on to question the judges in his octagon interview saying:
Through a translator, Ankalaev remarked, “I don’t know what to say. I won that fight. Why didn’t I get my belt? I don’t know what to say.”
“I can’t choose the judges for the fight that are sitting over here, but I won this fight. I won this belt. Where is my belt?”
“I always do whatever I have to do to adjust. If I’m losing in the standup, I’ll go down to grappling and wrestling; if I’m losing the wrestling, I’ll stand up. I can do both things, but I don’t know if I’m going to fight for this organization again, because honestly, I don’t know what just happened.”
Ankalaev later backtracked these comments, likely through his manager.
“It was mistranslated, I said I didn’t want to fight in this city anymore. Because the judges were horrible. I won this fight. Not one person online said I lost this fight. Even Jan Blachowicz said I won this fight. I get it. After the second round, my knee was gone but I still fought. I bit down on my mouthguard and I did the best I can. This fight can only help me grow and I’m grateful for the opportunity.”
Plenty of fans noticed online that this new articulate statement mirrors his tweets.
Petr Yan made no public comments after split decision loss to Sean O’Malley at UFC 280, at the time there were reports he was questioning his future in the division because he felt the UFC ‘didn’t have his back’.
It’s worth noting that Yan lost on a card that was held in Abu Dhabi.
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