Mixed Martial Arts: Islam Mackhachev retains UFC lightweight crown in epic showdown with Alexander Volkanovski

Islam Makhachev battles Alex Volkanovski at UFC 284
Islam Makhachev battles Alex Volkanovski at UFC 284. Photo credit: Getty Images

Islam Makhachev has won the battle of champions, defeating Alexander Volkanovski by unanimous decision at UFC 284 in Perth to retain his lightweight title.

Makhachev (24-1) took the cards 48-47, 48-47, 49-46 in his first title defence.

Volkanovski, who holds the UFC featherweight belt, was attempting to become just the fifth fighter in UFC history to hold two titles simultaneously.

Makhachev stakes his claim to best pound-for-pound fighter in the world.

"I show I am No.1," said Makhachev to boos from the crowd. "They have to improve more.

"They have good striking, good grappling skills, this is his area, but you like or you don't like, I am best fighter in the world right now."

Volkanovski fell to 25-2.

"I'm a better fighter because of this," the City Kickboxing fighter said of his jump in weight class to take on Makhachev. "You challenge yourself like this, it only makes you stronger." 

Makhachev was the heavy favourite coming in.

"I can get the job done, but I pulled up short tonight," continued Vokanovski. "Congrats to Islam, great fighter.

"Maybe we'll settle pound-for-pound No.1 again."

Makhachev has won 12 straight fights and has not lost since his second UFC fight in 2015.