Alex Volkanovski moved up to lightweight to ty and capture a second UFC title. The Australian pushed Islam Makhachev all the way during the course of their five round fight in Perth but ultimately came up short.

Volkanovski looked like he could well be the second best fighter in the division as he fought at lightweight for the first time in his UFC career. After a slow start there were some wild exchanges in the opening round but it finished with Makhachev on the Australian’s back, looking to sink in a rear naked choke.

Despite being in an adverse position Volkanovski never looked like getting submitted and this would be the story of the fight, with Makhachev controlling much of the contest without ever threatening to find a finish.

Back and forth

Both men had their moments in a back and forth second stanza but it was Makhachev who finished the round stronger. But Volkanovski clearly got the better of the third and scored a late knockdown.

Heading into the championship rounds the contest was clearly a close one but Makhachev was able to take Volkanovski down and take his back midway through the fourth. There was no escape for the Australian who was visibly frustrated that his opponent was able to hold him down until the bell.

It was not the most fan friendly strategy from Makhachev but it proved effective. A knee from the Russian early in the final round opened up a cut on Volkanovski’s face but this only seemed to enrage the challenger.

He came on strong and dropped Makhachev with a right hand. The fight finished with Volkanovski in top position unloading with ground and pound but it wasn’t enough to win the fight.

Narrow margin

Both men celebrated at the final bell but it was  Makhachev who had his hand raised with the scores reading 48-47, 48-47 and 49-46 in his favour.

The margins seemed narrow with the crowd in Perth certainly convinced that Volkanovski had done enough to win. But Makhachev walked away with the belt and sees his record improve to 24-1.

Volkanovski drops to 25-2 but having effectively cleared out the featherweight division he might be tempted to continue competing at 155lbs. The Australian enhanced his reputation and both men walked away with performance bonuses.

Best of the rest

Earlier in the morning Loma Lookboonmee (8-3) scored the first submission win of her entire career. The Thai strawweight finished Elise Reed (6-3) with a rear naked choke in the second round.

UFC 284, Perth, February 12th
Islam Makhachev (c) def. Alexander Volkanovski via Decision (Unanimous)
Yair Rodríguez def. Josh Emmett via Submission (Triangle choke) at 4:19 of R2
Jack Della Maddalena def. Randy Brown via Submission (Rear-naked choke) at 2:13 of R1
Justin Tafa def. Parker Porter via KO (Punch) at 1:06 of R1
Jimmy Crute vs. Alonzo Menifield ends in Draw (Majority)
Modestas Bukauskas def. Tyson Pedro via Decision (Unanimous)
Joshua Culibao def. Melsik Baghdasaryan via Submission (Rear-naked choke) at 2:02 of R1
Kleydson Rodrigues def. Shannon Ross via TKO (Punches) at 0:59 of R1
Jamie Mullarkey def. Francisco Prado via Decision (Unanimous)
Jack Jenkins def. Don Shainis via Decision (Unanimous)
Loma Lookboonmee def. Elise Reed via Submission (Rear-naked choke) at 0:44 of R2
Blake Bilder def. Shane Young via Decision (Unanimous)
Elves Brenner def. Zubaira Tukhugov via Decision (Split)