Number one pound-for-pound status is on the line when Islam Makhachev defends his lightweight title against Alexander Volkanovski at UFC 284.
Makhachev, priced at 1/4 To Win the Fight, makes the maiden defence of his lightweight belt in the early hours of Sunday morning when he faces Australian Volkanovski at RAC Arena in Perth.
The Dagestan native beat Charles Oliveira by submission to claim the title at UFC 280 in October. That victory extending his winning streak to 11 and he's subsequently climbed to number two in the pound-for-pound rankings.
The man sitting ahead of his, ranked #1 pound-for-pound fighter, is featherweight champion Volkanovski, priced at 3/1 To Win the Fight.
Volkanovski is looking to become a two-weight world champion after an era of dominance in the featherweight division.
If successful, Volkanovski will become just the fourth man and fifth fighter overall to reign supreme over two divisions simultaneously.
Conor McGregor was the first to achieve that feat when he beat Eddie Alvarez to add the lightweight belt to his featherweight title. Daniel Cormier, Amanda Nunes and Henry Cejudo are the other three fighters in the elite double-champion club.
|Where||RAC Arena, Perth, Australia|
|When||01:00, Sunday 12th February 2023|
|How to watch||UFC Fight Pass & BT Sport 1|
|Odds||Islam Makhachev 1/4, Alexander Volkanovski 3/1|
Volkanovski is riding a 22-fight win streak and has made four successful defences of his featherweight strap after beating Max Holloway to claim the gold at UFC 245 in 2019.
The Australian has previously competed at lightweight but not since 2016 and he's set for a tough assignment when he steps up a weight class this weekend.
Makhachev is one of the wave of fighters to come from Dagestan and he's a highly-talented competitor with a background in Sambo.
Like his former trainer and ex-lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, Makhachev boasts a formidable ground game, earning 11 of his 23 wins by submission, and he can be backed at 1/1 to win by KO, TKO, DQ or Submission.
Volkanovski, meanwhile, will be hoping to keep this contest on the feet as he looks to lean on his kickboxing skill set.
The 34-year-old has 12 victories by knockout and he is available at 15/2 to win by KO, TKO, DQ or Submission.
The second numbered event of 2023 is scheduled to take place on Sunday 12th February.
The preliminary card gets underway at 01:00 and the main card is due to begin at 03:00, with Makhachev and Volkanovski expected to make their octagon walks at around 05:30.
The RAC Arena in Perth, Australia hosts UFC 284. It's the first time the UFC has held an event in Australia since UFC 243 at Marvel Stadium in Melbourne in October 2019.
The Western Australia venue is a multi-purpose sporting arena, primarily used for basketball but also hosting tennis, netball and MMA.
The UFC has visited the RAC Arena once previously when Luke Rockhold and Yoel Romero topped the bill.
Yes. The early preliminary card will be broadcast on UFC Fight Pass with the preliminary card and main card available on BT Sport 1.
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Lightweight champion Makhachev is the 1/4 favourite as he looks to come through his first defence successfully. Volkanovski can be backed as the 3/1 underdog.
Yes. The lightweight belt, currently held by Makhachev is on the line.
There have been 14 holders of the title, including Makhachev, since Jens Pulver became the inaugural champion at UFC 30 in 2001.
24 fights, 23 wins (4 KOs), 1 defeat.
26 fights, 25 wins (12 KOs), 1 defeat.
Yair Rodríguez v Josh Emmett
Jack Della Maddalena v Randy Brown
Justin Tafa v Parker Porter
Jimmy Crute v Alonzo Menifield
Tyson Pedro v Modestas Bukauskas
Joshua Culibao v Melsik Baghdasaryan
Shannon Ross v Kleydson Rodrigues
Jamie Mullarkey v Francisco Prado
Early preliminary card:
Jack Jenkins v Don Shainis
Loma Lookboonmee v Elise Reed
Shane Young v Blake Bilder
Zubaira Tukhugov v Elves Brenner