Conor McGregor Acknowledges Top Ranked 170 Pounder for Breaking Down Islam Makhachev’s Head Kick Knockout on Alexander Volkanovski

Published 10/26/2023, 3:28 AM EDT

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UFC 294 saw Islam Makhachev land a head kick that was heard around the world. The Dagestani fighter took on Alexander Volkanovski on short notice as Charles Oliveira had to withdraw from the bout just weeks out from the event due to an injury in training camp. Volkanovski, the current UFC featherweight champion, was looking to settle the score after his loss to Makhachev at UFC 284. But the head kick in the first round sent him and his ‘champ-champ’ dream crashing to the canvas.

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Another UFC fighter, considered an ‘expert in kicking,’ recently analyzed how Makhachev successfully executed the kick. Despite his primary reputation as a grappler, Makhachev demonstrated exceptional technique in delivering the finishing blow. And the expert analysis on social media has drawn the attention of the Irish superstar, Conor McGregor!

Islam Makhachev and his head kick technique get noticed by Conor McGregor and UFC’s ‘Wonderboy’ 

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UFC 294 was marked by not one but two replacements just weeks out from the event. However, the changes led to fans experiencing one of the best knockouts in recent memory. Islam Makhachev was set to face Alexander Volkanovski as their previous fight at UFC 284 had caused controversy amongst fans with the decision to win for Makhachev. 

Makhachev, the lightweight UFC champion, controlled the distance expertly in the fight. And before the first round was over, managed to land a head kick that stunned Volkanovski. Makhachev then followed up with accurate ground and pound to end the fight, and controversy surrounding his previous win. 

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Now, UFC welterweight, Stephen Thompson has revealed how Makhachev managed to land the kick. Thompson, also known as ‘Wonderboy,’ earned his reputation for his remarkable kicks. Before transitioning to mixed martial arts, his background in karate and kickboxing filled his highlight reel with knockouts resembling scenes from action movies!

On his Instagram page, ‘Wonderboy’ gave his analysis behind the kick and has drawn praise from Conor McGregor, who commented on his approval with a simple and succinct, “G!”.  In the video, Thompson highlights how Makhachev effectively set up the head kick by targeting the body, causing Volkanovski to lower his hands.

Additionally, Makhachev’s ability to kick over the smaller MMA gloves made it more challenging for Volkanovski to protect his head, allowing Makhachev to attack the temple area. A tactic reminiscent of legendary fighter Mirko ‘Cro Cop’ Filipovic!

A brief look at the scariest ‘kicker’ in MMA history

Longtime MMA fans will remember the name ‘Cro Cop’ instantly. The Croatian fighter was one of the first heavyweight strikers to showcase the effectiveness of high kicks in MMA. Mirko Filipovic, or ‘Cro Cop’ as he’s known by fans came over to MMA after a stint in K-1 kickboxing.

His nickname comes from the fact that he was once a part of Croatia’s elite Police Special Forces tactical unit. And with his stoic demeanor during his fights, Filipovic was one of the most terrifying heavyweights on the planet in his prime. He holds notable wins over fighters like Josh Barnett, Wanderlei Silva, and Kevin Randleman.

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His kicking prowess was so devastating that his high kicks were once described as, “right leg, hospital; left leg, cemetery.” He had an impressive career in PRIDE FC before later transitioning to the UFC. His highlight reel still remains one of the most impressive displays of striking in mixed martial arts.

With Islam Makhachev’s win against Alexander Volkanovski now secured, fans will be excited to see what he does next. The Dagestani fighter has stated that he would like to challenge himself by aiming for a title in a different weight class. He has also offered to be the backup for UFC 296 featuring champion Leon Edwards taking on Colby Covington for the welterweight title.

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Do you think Islam Makhachev has what it takes to move up a weight class and cement his legacy as one of the greatest mixed martial artists in the world? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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Written by:

Dushyant Patni

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Dushyant Patni is a UFC writer at EssentiallySports. Dushyant’s love for Mixed Martial Arts began at the very young age of fourteen, something that inspired him to take up the sport himself. He has worked as a writer and an editor across various organizations before putting his skills to use at ES.
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Edited by:

Joyita Das

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