Midnight Mania: Fight Scared, Get Knocked Out?

Welcome to Midnight Mania!

Alexander Volkanovski’s change of fortune has been sudden.

The Australian talent went about a decade without tasting defeat, racking up a UFC title, pound-for-pound king status, and numerous other accolades in the process. In the last 12 months, however, Volkanovski has lost three of four fights, including a pair of back-to-back knockout losses.

“The Great” doesn’t appear to have simply lost his fighting ability — this isn’t a Tony Ferguson scenario. He’s also fighting the cream of the crop! There aren’t many Featherweights who are going to escape the cage clean-faced after a trio of fights with Islam Makhachev and Ilia Topuria.

Still, there has to be a reason for the sudden downturn. A lot of fans and analysts are pointing to age. Volkanovski turned 35 recently, and that’s historically a bad number for champions in the lighter weight classes. Perhaps it’s that simple?

Former UFC Bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw has a different theory, at least for Volkanovski’s latest defeat at UFC 298. According to Dillashaw, Volkanovski fought scared, solely kicking and circling because he was so intimidated by Topuria’s power punching.

“He was only throwing kicks. I know he was scared of the power,” Dillashaw said on the “JAXXON PODCAST” (via Yahoo Sports). “You can tell the way he was fighting, he was very scared of Topuria’s power, which he should be to an extent, but he’s never fought like that in the past. The first two rounds, all he was doing was throwing kicks. He wasn’t setting them up. He was just throwing them. He was expecting Topuria to block them.

“I was thinking he was trying to slow down his arms because every time you block a kick, it’s like getting a charley horse in your arm. Every time you get hit there, more blood comes to it. It slows his arms down. So, I was thinking maybe he’s slowing down his arms by throwing kicks and getting him to block, because he wasn’t setting them up. He wasn’t throwing kicks to knock him out. You could tell because if he was trying to do that, you’d throw a combo, finish with a kick, hopefully catch him.”

Aside from the kick heavy game plan, Dillashaw didn’t like how Volkanovski was leaning away from punches. The UFC commentary crew brought up the same point during the broadcast, but Dillashaw also attributes that habit to the fear of Topuria’s power.

“Every time Topuria would get close, he’d be like backing out and leaning away,” Dillashaw continued. “As soon as I saw that, I was like, ‘Damn, he’s going to get caught.’ He was fighting scared. He was worried about the power. I’m a huge Volk fan. I was wanting him to win. … He just kept leaning away, leaning away from everything and leaning away from the power.

“It was only a matter of time before Topuria caught him because that guy stays so tight. He’s so composed in his boxing, and his combos are great. I think that’s where it went wrong. He was scared. He was afraid of his power and fought scared. Topuria didn’t have anything to lose, Volk had all of it to lose, and he fought that way. He fought scared of his power.”

If the two eventually rematch, do you think we get a more aggressive Volkanovski for the second bout?

Insomnia

A cool moment of Dana White and Hunter Campbell congratulating Topuria on his title win, as well as a fan having a far bigger reaction!

There’s nothing less interesting than fighters competing between 125-145 pounds calling their opponents short. It’s so boring!

Arman Tsarukyan fights against top-notch wrestlers produce the craziest scrambles.

Breaking your arm and still scoring a debut knockout win is a serious flex. Danny Barlow looks to have a high ceiling if he works with the right team!

An excellent Featherweight clash of styles is heading to Atlantic City!

A genuinely unsettling photo.

Muay Thai legends getting loose:

Slips, rips, and KO clips

Muay Thai history.

One of the weirder knockouts I’ve seen in recent memory:

A pair of OGs throwing down back in the day! Yves Edwards with the added context online to make it even better.

Random Land

I don’t know if you have to have played the Fallout video game series to find this hilarious, but I cracked up.

Midnight Music: Lo-fi, 1997

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

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