During the Open Workouts on Thursday evening, Fox Sports and Robert Whittaker managed to interview Alexander Volkanovski on how he expects to take home the belt against the Dagestani Wrestler on Sunday afternoon.
“Obviously, with the range and footwork, that good movement and camouflaging when you’re going in, where you’re going to be, making it hard and giving them a puzzle. It makes it hard for them to even try and shoot on you, or even want to shoot or even figure out the right time to shoot,” Volkanovski said.
“That’s another thing where a lot of people, I think get it wrong as well they’re so worried about the takedown, they don’t let them be themselves. They don’t fight the fight that they usually would fight, they don’t see things how they usually do because they’re so frozen on second-guessing themselves and all that type of stuff because they’re worried about the takedown. You aren’t going to see that with me, moving the way I usually do and nice and sharp, making that a puzzle for him, and I’ll worry about the takedown if it comes, you know what I mean. Because you know I need to capitalise on the feet.”
However, Islam Makhachev is posing another threat to Volkanovski, saying ‘he’s going to knock him out’ in addition to the grappling threat the Russian is known for.
“I think he wants to, right? But he’s a very calculated fighter. He doesn’t take many risks, and that’s how he is. Even though he’s a wrestler, he likes to stay at range and wait for the right time to come in. He will throw here and there, he will counter, and he does put himself out of position here and there, but usually very safe and make sure he doesn’t put himself too much out of position and doesn’t take too many risks,” Volkanovski continued.
“They’re very calculated like that and him trying to go for the finish is him taking big risks. So, that ain’t going to happen, I don’t believe.”
Nonetheless, the Aussie is prepared for all threats that Makhachev will throw at him. Bringing in world-renowned submission grappler, Craig Jones. Volkanovski is more confident than ever in positional escapes and submission defence, as was shown in the Brian Ortega fight.
“Having someone at that high level they’re putting you under the pump the whole time is going to be great. He’s been committed since he’s been with me in the last few fights, he’s been committed to this role and ever since the backup while I was in camp, he was studying Islam and Charles, but mainly Islam. We knew Islam was probably going to win, and that would be the tougher fight, with all respect to Charles,” Volkanovski added.
“Jones was in the gym practising all these things, doing it himself, putting himself in the positions. Working on pinning and that real Dagestani type of grips, using the legs, and really focusing on pinning and not too much on the submission, only when the submission was there. He was doing that time and time again, just to understand what he was doing. It was perfect for me, it really was and for him to put me in them positions and have someone like him, one of the best grapplers in the world trying to strangle me and me getting that resilience is going to do wonders in the fight.”