Can Alexander Volkanovski bounce back?

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UFC 294 has come and gone and the dust has settled. In an event that was certainly not without its talking points one of the biggest is certainly the result of the main event.

Alexander Volkanovski was knocked out by Islam Makhachev in the first round in a failed attempt to gain the UFC Lightweight championship. Taking the fight on only eleven days’ notice it is safe to say that the bout did not live up to the hype and standard set by the first meeting of the pair earlier this year. Finished in the first round, Volkanovski will have to take some time to lick his wounds, regardless if he would rather get back in the octagon sooner. 

While his plan was to fight Makhachev and then fight Ilia Topuria in January, Volkanovski may have to slightly alter his arrangements after the first-round finish. Still, it would appear that the next move regardless would be for the champion to return to his regular weight class and defend his crown at 145 lbs. 

Ilia Topuria will lie waiting for him upon his return to the division and will represent a truly tough test for Volkanovski. Now 1-2 in his last three and being KO’d for the first time in his UFC career, many may think that this could be the start of a decline for the longtime champion. It is well known that in the lower weight classes, fighters begin to decline earlier than those at higher weight classes. With Volkanovski now at the age of 35 and with a whole host of young hungry prospects snapping at his heels at heavyweight, a win over Topuria will go a long way in proving that he has not lost a step. 

Aside from the physical aspect of Volkanovski’s game, it is worth noting that he seems to be suffering mentally somewhat. In both the post-fight press conference and a video uploaded to his YouTube channel, Volkanovski discussed his mental health and stated that it had been something bothering him for the last few months.

If left unchecked, this loss to Makhachev may have a greater psychological effect than physical and Volkanovski needs to regain his focus, if he is off his game even a little against the top featherweights he may be losing his title sooner than he would be expecting. 

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