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Paddy Pimblett: Islam Makhachev ‘was hanging on for dear life’ vs. Alexander Volkanovski, should’ve been a draw

SAN DIEGO – Paddy Pimblett had a different scorecard for Islam Makhachev vs. Alexander Volkanovski than most.

Makhachev (24-1 MMA, 13-1 UFC) retained his lightweight title by edging out featherweight champ Volkanovski at UFC 284 earlier in February. Volkanovski gave Makhachev the toughest test of his career but ultimately fell short in a fight he thought he won.

Volkanovski (25-2 MMA, 12-1 UFC) was able to drop Makhachev in Round 5 and closed out the fight raining ground and pound in top position. But because Makhachev was compromised late, Pimblett thought Volkanovski won that round big, scoring the fight as a draw.

“I thought it was a draw,” Pimblett told MMA Junkie. “I thought the last round was a 10-8 for Volk, and he’d won one other round. But Islam won three rounds with control and stuff. He didn’t do much when he had the control, but if someone’s on your back, you’re losing. Even if you’re talking to them and punching them. I personally thought it was a draw, because that last round Makhachev was hanging on for dear life.”

While Pimblett predicated that Volkanovski would seriously challenge Makhachev, he did score three rounds in favor of the champion. He credits Makhachev for not taking too much damage after he was dropped.

“If Volkanovski would have postured up and started striking where he got his head caught – that’s where Makhachev’s smart,” Pimblett said. “Makachev went into guard, pulled him in and knew he couldn’t really take much damage. So hats off to Makhachev, because it’s a smart performance, and he did win three rounds to two.”

Pimblett (20-3 MMA, 4-0 UFC), who’s coming off a controversial decision win over Jared Gordon at UFC 282 in December, is set to undergo ankle surgery in the first week of March. He hopes to return by the end of the year and is open to running things back with Gordon.

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