UFC 284 has its headliners confirmed. The card will be topped by the much-rumored lightweight title fight between the recently crowned Islam Makhachev, and featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski—who climbs up a division in an attempt to claim a second a belt. The co-main event as announced tonight will be Josh Emmett vs Yair Rodriguez for the interim featherweight title.
We've got a SUPERFIGHT!! 🔥
Islam Makhachev vs Alexander Volkanovski is official for #UFC284 in Perth, Australia!
— UFC Europe (@UFCEurope) November 12, 2022
The promotion takes the show on the road to Perth, Australia in February of next year, a region that has produced talent in abundance over the last few years. A shining example of that is featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski. He has looked faultless at 145 pounds so far with wins over many of the division’s elite, including a trilogy of victories against Max Holloway.
Makhachev recently won the lightweight title against Charles Oliveria earlier this year—and he made it look easy. After having struggled to get the necessary matchups to climb the rankings at 155 pounds, he was granted a chance and took it with both hands tied behind Charles Oliveria’s head in the second round. Makhachev faced off with Volkanovski in the octagon following his victory, all but signing the contract for the two champions to meet.
The co-main was announced tonight on the broadcast of UFC 281 as an interim featherweight title fight between Josh Emmett and Yair Rodriguez. With the division’s champion Volkanovski stepping up a weight class, it leaves featherweight temporarily on hold until his return—a perfect opportunity for the UFC to throw one of their much-loved interim fights.
— JOSH EMMETT (@JoshEmmettUFC) November 13, 2022
Emmett has been on the campaign trail for a while and is currently riding a five-fight win streak. He was disappointed not to be given a ringside seat to Volkanovski’s defense against Max Holloway at UFC 276 to demand a shot in person. Rodriguez will come into the fight with just a single win in three years, coming when Brian Ortega suffered a shoulder injury in the first round of their bout in the summer.
There was debate over who would be granted the next shot, with both these men having staked their claims alongside Arnold Allen, who stopped Calvin Kattar earlier this month; and Max Holloway, who has a recent win over Rodriguez. It seems almost certain the two fighters who missed out will meet each other in the cage soon, possibly at the upcoming UK event in the first quarter of 2023.