Islam Makhachev Blames Alexander Volkanovski’s Team For His KO Loss Against Ilia Topuria

UFC lightweight champion Islam Makhachev believes that Alexander Volkanovski’s team is to blame for the fact that the former long-time featherweight champion was KO’d by Ilia Topuria at UFC 298 last month.

Makhachev believes it was a big mistake for Volkanovski’s camp to give the green-light for him to compete in February after he himself knocked out the Australian star with a head kick back in October, suggesting that he shouldn’t have even began training fully again until around that time.

“Of course (he returned too soon),” Makhachev told MMA Junkie. “Alex is a good fighter, he is a warrior, everybody knows. He can fight everyday. But I always said that his team is very bad because this mistake is not Alex’s mistake. It’s a mistake the team made because the team has to sit with him and tell him, ‘Hey, it’s too soon.’

“He had a very bad, tough knockout in his last fight. He has to rest for a minimum of three or four months without training, nothing. You have to do some recovery and just wait. He go to fight again too soon. It was a big mistake. He is a warrior, he can come back, but still, he needs some time. He has to listen to his body and give some time for recovery.”

Volkanovski had actually all but begged the UFC to let him fight again in January, though at the time everyone but the fighter himself appeared to agree that wasn’t a good idea at all.

However, pushing the fight with Topuria back to only a month later did still feel a bit hasty. Nevertheless, it also has to be stressed that Topuria is a formidable opponent even if Volkanovski had been 100% fit and rested, having already racked up 3 KO victories in his previous six UFC fights, so there’s no guarantee things would have gone differently.

That being said, after now suffering back-to-back knockouts there’s no doubt that Volkanovski’s team must now ensure that he does now take an extended absence from sparring and competing to give himself time to recover fully.

As things stand Volkanovski hasn’t targeted a date for his return, but he’s made it known that he wants a rematch with Topuria next, potentially later this year in Spain if the UFC is able to make that a reality.

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