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Midnight Mania! Alexander Volkanovski’s doomed second Lightweight title shot explained — ‘Significantly better compensation’


Welcome to Midnight Mania!

Alexander Volkanovski took a serious gamble back in October 2023. With just 10 days to prepare, he accepted UFC’s offer to replace the wounded Charles Oliveira opposite Islam Makhachev, the man who narrowly defeated him earlier in the year. The first bout was incredibly competitive, but predictably, an ill-prepared Volkanovski could not stand up to Makhachev’s might.

He suffered the first knockout loss of his UFC career as a result (watch it).

City Kickboxing head coach Eugene Bareman wasn’t in Volkanovski’s corner that night, and in a recent interview with Medium, he revealed why he didn’t want the Australian to accept the fight offer.

“I never really looked at that second Islam fight seriously. I was against Volk taking that fight and was very open about it,” Bareman explained. “Listen, Volkanovski is a great fighter, but you have to maintain some level of rationale. You trained for 12 weeks for the first fight and, yes, there’s an argument that you won. But the result was different, right? In the end, the fact is that whatever you did in those 12 weeks wasn’t enough to get the win on judges’ scorecards. It’s unrealistic to expect that you can deliver better results with a week of preparation.”

He later continued, “The biggest tragedy for me personally is that I strongly believed that with a proper preparation for the rematch, we could show an even better performance than we did in the first fight. And I really wanted us to have that chance — with a proper camp. So the biggest tragedy for me is that we will never get an opportunity to face Islam again. That’s what I’m gutted about. But I also understand why Alex accepted the fight.”

Obviously, fighters go through training camps for a simple reason: to increase their odds of success! With his coach advising him against it, why did Volkanovski jump on the opportunity to face Makhachev in less-than-ideal circumstances? He likely could’ve scored another shot at Lightweight gold with an additional Featherweight title defense or two.

According to Bareman, money was an important factor. Volkanovski scored a new deal by agreeing to the Makhachev bout, one that will continue to pay him well into the future for other fights.

“Everyone has their own reasons for fighting but there’s one recurring theme — this is how fighters support their families and their future. I’m not sure if this was widely publicized but Alex did sign a new contract with that last fight. So it wasn’t about just getting one big payday. It was about all his future fights happening with significantly — significantly — better compensation. So, from this point of view, his decision was understandable.”

That better compensation will continue with his planned sixth Featherweight title defense against Ilia Topuria, which is scheduled for UFC 298 in Anaheim, California next weekend (Sat., Feb. 17, 2024). We’ll just have to wait and see if the actual knockout loss itself also carries consequences into the Topuria booking.


Who doesn’t love a good teep? Happy national Muay Thai day!

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A pair of Middleweight releases, neither of which are particularly surprising.

This thread gave me a chuckle. I’ve definitely given Herb Dean some s—t for his officiating decisions over the year, but it’s a tough job and the man has put in his time! Respect.

Michael Bisping talks about what is arguably the most legendary moment in his career: getting knocked out by Anderson Silva and winning anyway!

I’m going to offer what I’ve gathered is a hot take: I like it when the title changes hands a lot. Seeing athletes live their dream is awesome. One guy being way better than everyone else grows uninteresting to me.

Slips, rips, and KO clips

That was a quick transition from the front headlock into the d’arce choke, followed by a nice step over into mount.

Van Gogh (lol) made a good read in that his opponent was ducking every single time he went to throw wildly.

The ease with which the knee is lifted to the chin …

Random Land

No, I don’t understand what is happening here.

Midnight Music: I struggle the assign this song a specific genre beyond general rock, but perhaps that’s why I love it.

Sleep well Maniacs! More martial arts madness is always on the way.

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