Hasbulla has had his say on Islam Makhachev’s upcoming UFC lightweight title defence against Alexander Volkanovski at UFC 284.
The bout will be the Dagestani’s first defence of his title since he won it at UFC 280 in Abu Dhabi by submitting Charles Oliveira. The 31-year-old has been close to Hasbulla for a long-time, “He’s my neighbour. He was really very close with me. I know him like, more than 10 years,” Makhachev told BT Sport in 2021.
Both men’s star power has continued to rise since then. The lightweight champ is ranked at #2 on the UFC men’s pound-for-pound list and stands to climb to the top of the pile if he beats Volkanovski.
Hasbulla is a massive figure on social media and boasts more than 6 million followers on Instagram. The Russian has been hanging out with the NELK Boys in his homeland and was asked to give a prediction for the main event in Perth.
“I think Islam [Makhachev] is going to smash him. Because I already beat [Volkanovski] two times myself. Once I smashed a burger in his face, Islam isn’t going to feel him at all,” he explained.
Hasbulla spent time with the Australian during a tour Down Under in September last year and did indeed smash a burger into his face on YouTube. The pair met again the following month as ‘the beef’ continued backstage at UFC 280 with the youngster appearing to ‘attack’ the 145 lb king once more.
If Makhachev lives up to Hasbulla’s prediction and smashes ‘The Great’ it will be quite an achievement. Volk has been on an absolute tear and has virtually cleared out the featherweight division. The 34 year old has only lost once in his career and is currently riding a remarkable 22-fight winning streak. Despite ceding a 4-inch height advantage to the AKA star as well as jumping up a weight class, Volkanovski insists he fears no one. Like his opponent, Makhachev has also only ever lost once. With both men at the peak of their powers, the fight has the makings of a potential classic.
Speaking in an interview with Fox Sports, Makhachev says he expects to have too much for his opponent.
“If it’s not gonna be submission, then I’m gonna give him a hard time. Ground and pound, and when he feels like, ‘Oh this isn’t my division [anyway], I don’t want to take more damage.’ He is going to give up.”
Do you think Hasbulla has made the right call for this one?