Islam Makhachev is gearing up for a second consecutive bout against Alexander Volkanovski at UFC 294. Originally, Makhachev was set to face Charles Oliveira in the main event, but an unfortunate injury caused Oliveira to withdraw, and Volkanovski was called in as a replacement.
Craig Jones believes that this main event presents an opportunity to prove that Sambo belongs in the past. Sambo gained significant recognition in the MMA world through the accomplishments of former UFC champion Khabib Nurmagomedov as well as the accomplishments of Fedor Emelianenko.
In a recent interview with Submission Radio, Jones shared his perspective on the potential implications of this fight:
“A win over Islam Makhachev makes him a man that disproved Sambo. That’ll trump his legacy in the sport, because we’ve wasted another martial art. Most martial arts were killed in 1993, somehow Sambo has limped and lingered on to 2023. So Volkanovski kills Sambo, and we get to stop hearing about this Russian dancer.”
Jones also added a touch of humor to his commentary, stating:
“When I first heard it I thought they were talking about the Brazilian dance of Samba. And honestly, that is a more frightening prospect, Islam dancing Brazilian Samba.”
The rematch between Makhachev and Volkanovski comes after their UFC 284 clash in February, where Makhachev secured a unanimous decision victory. Volkanovski’s impressive ability to defend against Makhachev’s takedowns surprised many, as none of Makhachev’s previous opponents had posed such a challenge.
Looking ahead to UFC 294, Jones made a bold prediction:
“So obviously Islam loves an arm-triangle, if he tries to pull any of that bulls**t he’s going straight into a buggy choke. He loves to take the back from turtle, if he tries any of that s**t he’s getting kneebarred. So I think wherever it goes, he’s getting submitted.”
This isn’t the first time Jones targeted Sambo. During the pre-amble to previous contest Jones made disaparaging comments toward Sambo.
As per calfkicker:
“He’s just good at holding people down like he submits people, but I don’t think he has good submissions, you know what I mean? ”
“Like it’s a wrestling culture and they obviously have some submissions in Sambo and stuff. But Sambo is pretty bad as a grappling art. I, you know, like a lot of the sambo guys in the tournaments, they want heel hooks bans, you know so it’s not a complete grappling on the ground.”
“But again, what he does well is his ability to hold people down from half guard and close guard especially. And then as they make bad decisions, he’s able to pounce on submissions.”
Jones went on to claim that Brian Ortega was a superior grappler compared to Makhachev:
“Ortega’s more dangerous on the ground. Obviously Ortega’s taken more losses. His submissions are better than Islam’s. I think Ortega could give Islam a good fight honestly. So I mean I think him escaping Ortega submissions will be more impressive than him escaping Islam submissions.”