Short notice matches often come with a surprising mental advantage. Former middleweight champion Michael Bisping recently drew parallels between Alexander Volkanovski’s situation in UFC 294 and his own experience when he dethroned Luke Rockhold at UFC 199 on short notice.
Bisping emphasizes that taking a match on short notice can spare the replacement competitor from unnecessary anxieties. If a combatant is proficient at knocking down an opponent in one blow as he and Volkanovski are, then everything is possible.
Bisping stated: “If we’re being honest, more than likely, Islam Makhachev is going to be better prepared, he’s going to be in better cardiovascular shape, he’s going to have better conditioning and stamina, okay, but Volkanovski isn’t the type of guy that blows up and gets out of shape… he’s always training.”
According to Bisping, sometimes it’s not about optimal training periods but rather seizing the moment. Bisping recounted his own victory with a short-notice bout against Luke Rockhold, highlighting the confidence he derived from the experience.
Bisping continued: “Sure, you have to peak throughout an 8-week period, that is optimal, that’s what you’re looking for but sometimes you go out there and just swing, you never know, you might just connect.”
“[My] ‘Left hook Larry’ did that when I went out there and fought Luke Rockhold, short notice, just over two weeks I believe, I was extremely confident, I really was but again, I felt no pressure and that is so mentally freeing because when you go into a fight right a lot of the mental anxiety comes from, ‘I can’t afford to lose, I don’t want to do all this work and be made a fool of, I don’t want to grind every single day in the gym show up and then get beaten.”
He went on to say: “So, it affects your mentality, it affects your output, it affects your willingness to commit to every single strike. Now as I said, that’s not an issue for Volkanovski because he’s taking it on such short notice.”
Makhachev’s coach Javier Mendez also echoed Bisping’s sentiments. He believes that the only concern is avoiding a swift finish by Volkanovski. Like Bisping, Mendez sees the short notice as an opportunity for Volkanovski to step in fresh and unburdened by fatigue.
Khabib Nurmagomedov asserts that they are unaffected by the mental anxiety Bisping mentioned. In fact, Nurmagomedov claims that Islam is even more motivated to defeat Volkanovski than he was in his previous bout against Charles Oliveira.
While Makhachev secured a decision victory in their previous encounter at UFC 284, Volkanovski has been granted another chance to claim the title of a two-division champion. The stakes are high, and the outcome remains uncertain.