UFC 284 Picks from Perth: Makhachev vs Volkanovski, Rodriguez vs Emmett, Della Maddalena vs Brown, more
The UFC is headed down under to Perth, Australia, for the first time in over three years, featuring two title fights, including a matchup for the pound-for-pound best fighter on the planet this Saturday, Feb. 11.
Alexander Volkanovski is looking to become the eighth double champion in UFC history, moving up to the lightweight division, where he’ll headline the main event against Khabib Nurmagomedov’s protégé, Islam Makhachev. The co-main event will pit the unpredictable Yair Rodriguez against Josh Emmett for the featherweight interim belt.
Rounding out the main card is Australian Jack Della Maddalena vs. Randy Brown, heavyweight's Justin Tafa vs. Parker Porter, and a light heavyweight brawl between Jimmy Crute vs. Alonzo Menifield.
UFC 284 features 8 Australian-born fighters and 2 New Zealanders.
UFC 284 Main Card
Islam Makhachev vs. Alexander Volkanovski
Yair Rodriguez vs. Josh Emmett
Jack Della Maddalena vs. Randy Brown
Justin Tafa vs. Parker Porter
Jimmy Crute vs. Alonzo Menifield
UFC 284 Prelims
Tyson Pedro vs. Modestas Bukauskas
Josh Culibao vs. Melsik Baghdasaryan
Shannon Ross vs. Kleydson Rodrigues
Jamie Mullarkey vs. Francisco Prado
UFC 284 Early Prelims
Jack Jenkins vs. Don Shainis
Loma Lookboonmee vs. Elise Reed
Shane Young vs. Blake Bilder
Zubaira Tukhugov vs. Elves Brener
Islam Makhachev (23-1) vs. Alexander Volkanovski (25-1)
This weekend, we get to find out who the greatest pound-for-pound fighter in the world is.
Islam Makhachev and Alexander Volkanovski come into the fight with the longest active win streaks in the UFC: Makhachev has won 11 straight, earning the last four by stoppage victory, while Volkanovski is an untouched 12-0, riding a resounding 22-fight winning streak overall.
Makhachev is making his first lightweight title defense since he took the belt from Charles “Do Bronx” Oliveira in October in stylish fashion, submitting the man with the most submissions in UFC history. Makhachev poses a four-inch height advantage, but it’s nothing Volkanovski hasn’t seen before.
Volkanovski is coming off his fourth successful featherweight title defense, defeating former champ Max Holloway - who had a five-inch height advantage - in a one-sided dispute for the third time.
Despite Volkanovski being ranked as the pound-for-pound number one fighter on UFC's rankings, he comes into the fight as a +310 underdog on DraftKings Sportsbook, the official Sportsbook of the UFC.
Even with some great main events down the line, this may be the best matchup the UFC could put together in the entirety of the sport.
My pick: Islam Makhachev
Yair Rodriguez (15-3) vs. Josh Emmett (18-2)
While Volkanovski moves up in weight class, the UFC has allowed Yair Rodriguez and Josh Emmett to compete for the interim featherweight title in the co-main event.
Now entering his ninth year in the octagon, Rodriguez has long been a contender in the featherweight division. The flashy striker has victories over Brian Ortega, Jeremy Stephens, “The Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung, and former champion BJ Penn. The Mexican featherweight is a tremendous talent - acrobatic, versatile, and innovative - Rodriguez can become the second Mexican champion behind Brandon Moreno.
Emmett is riding a five-fight win streak, coming off a controversial scorecard decision win over Calvin Kattar. A proven boxer, Emmett also has a wrestling background that could cause problems for Rodriguez if he decides to take matters to the ground.
This has "fight of the night" potential, and the stakes can’t get any higher for these two. The winner of this fight will undoubtedly fight Volkanovski next.
My pick: Yair Rodriguez
Jack Della Maddalena (13-2) vs. Randy Brown (16-4)
Perth native Jack Della Maddalena faces Randy Brown in a captivating matchup between welterweights, both looking to crack the top 15.
A graduate of Dana White’s Contender Series in 2021, Della Maddalena put together three first-round stoppages in his 2022 debut campaign, coming in January, June, and November. Della Maddalena also finds himself on a 13-fight win streak.
Randy Brown comes into the fight with the most momentum in his eight-year UFC career, piling up a four-fight win streak. Brown has molded into a distanced fighter, using his long reach and height to frustrate opponents.
A win for either fighter would put them on the cusp of being a top 15 welterweight, with a ranked opponent certainly up next.
My pick: Jack Della Maddalena
Justin Tafa (5-3) vs. Parker Porter (13-7)
Justin Tafa is your typical heavyweight: He’s going to stand and throw punches the entire way until someone gets knocked unconscious. Tafa last fought in the final card of 2021, knocking out Harry Hunsucker after becoming the first UFC heavyweight to ever miss weight. Tafa hasn’t fought in a year but nonetheless has struggled with consistency in the UFC.
After a three-fight winning streak for Parker Porter midway through 2022, things went south while running into the still-undefeated UFC contender Jailton Almeida in May. Looking to bounce back, Porter has twice as much experience as Tafa, and we’ll see if any of that comes in handy Saturday.
My pick: Parker Porter
Jimmy Crute (12-3) vs. Alonzo Menifield (13-3)
The opening fight to the main card showcases two Dana White Contender Series alumni, Jimmy Crute, and Alonzo Menifield.
Crute won in four of his first five UFC appearances but quickly fell in the first round to former light heavyweight title challenger Anthony Smith and now new light heavyweight champion Jamahal Hill. In 2022, Crute spent the entire year on the sidelines recovering from an ACL injury, which Crute says he first suffered a month before his victory against Michael Oleksiejczuk in February 2020.
Menifield is 6-3 since being awarded a contract and is 4-1 over his last five fights, earning two first-round knockouts in 2022. A win against Crute would vault Menifield into the top 15.
Since being awarded contracts, only five of the 16 fights between Crute and Menifield have exited the first round. This one’s sure to be a banger.
My pick: Jimmy Crute
You can watch the early prelims on UFC Fight Pass (6 PM EST), the prelims on ESPN+ (8 PM EST), and order the main card on ESPN+ (10 PM EST).