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Alexander Volkanovski to be UFC 280 lightweight fight backup

Volkanovski revealed his interest in moving up to the 155-pound division after settling the score with Max Holloway in their trilogy bout at UFC 276. 'The Great' made the following remarks when appearing on the Australian UFC show Fight Week on Fox:

"I’m in a position now where I want to take my best options. What’s the best route for me and things like that. Obviously lightweight — I’ve been talking about wanting to do that, and I didn’t wait until I went out there and finished that chapter with Max to really call for it."

Now the UFC featherweight champion, Alexander Volkanovski is nearing getting his wish fulfilled as he received some amazing news regarding his wounded hand, and he has since made himself available for a massive opportunity.

Volkanovski disclosed on Monday that his physician had given the go-ahead for him to resume fighting after he sustained a hand injury during his five-round decision victory over Max Holloway in July. Volkanovski will now take a flight to Abu Dhabi where he will compete as the official substitute for the lightweight title clash between Charles Oliveira and Islam Makhachev. On Oct. 22 in Abu Dhabi, Oliveira and Makhachev are slated to square off in the main event of UFC 280.

“We’re locked in as a backup fighter,” Volkanovski said on his YouTube channel. “I’ve been calling it, I said I wanted it, just had to make sure the hand was all good, so we’re all good. We’re locked in, and we got the clearance to fight.

“The UFC is on board, everyone is on board, so I’ll be at UFC 280 to make weight, and yeah, looking forward to it. We’ll see what happens. If someone doesn’t make it, I’m there to save the day. If not, at least I’m locked in as the next guy to fight for that lightweight title, and that’s that.”

To ensure that the main event or title fight doesn't lose out if one of the athletes participating is unable to contest for any reason, the UFC has started using substitute fighters for big events over the past couple of years. During the global pandemic, backup fighters were particularly essential since positive COVID tests frequently caused last-minute changes to events.

Beneil Dariush, a lightweight who is on a 7-fight win streak, will compete against Mateusz Gamrot at UFC 280, was another option for the promotion, but Volkanovski insisted. He would still be in Abu Dhabi regardless of what happened.

Volkanovski has a perfect UFC record. In 2013, when competing in an Australian Fighting Championship welterweight competition, he suffered his lone professional defeat. He has defeated renowned featherweight fighters like Holloway (twice), Jose Aldo, Chad Mendes, Chan Sung Jung, and Brian Ortega throughout his incredible 23-fight winning streak.

Oliveira has a history of losing weight, although the majority of those incidents occurred when he was a featherweight weighing 145 pounds. Before he was forced to give up his belt after failing to make weight for a title defense against Justin Gaethje in May, the Brazilian had not had a weight problem in years. Oliveira eventually defeated Gaethje, but he still dropped the belt.

Volkanovski will weigh in with the other athletes in Abu Dhabi as part of the backup fighter process, and he must reach 155 pounds to potentially replace one of the participants in the lightweight title bout.


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