It will be a rare champion-vs.-champion superfight when Islam Makhachev defends his UFC lightweight title against featherweight titlist Alexander Volkanovski in the main event of UFC 284 this weekend in Perth, Australia.
The fights at RAC Arena will take place on Sunday morning local time, Saturday night in North America. The main card will be on ESPN+ pay-per-view starting at 10 p.m. ET, with prelims on ESPN, ESPN Deportes and ESPN+ at 8 p.m. and early prelims on ESPN+ at 6 p.m.
The crowning moment of Makhachev (23-1) was just moments old when he started looking for a bigger one. The 31-year-old from Dagestan had just choked out Charles Oliveira that night in October to win the vacant title, and he stood in the center of the Octagon and called out Volkanovski (25-1), who was sitting cageside -- and quickly accepted the challenge.
Makhachev, who has won 11 straight fights, is No. 2 in the ESPN men's pound-for-pound rankings. Volkanovski, winner of 22 in a row, is No. 1.
What are the other storylines behind the UFC 284 fights? How are experts breaking them down? What do the fighters have to say? Here is the fight card, how to watch it and a collection of all of the UFC 284 essentials.
UFC 284 fight card
ESPN+ PPV, 10 p.m. ET
Lightweight championship: Islam Makhachev (c) vs. Alexander Volkanovski
Men's featherweight: Yair Rodriguez vs. Josh Emmett
Welterweight: Jack Della Maddalena vs. Randy Brown
Heavyweight: Justin Tafa vs. Parker Porter
Light heavyweight: Jimmy Crute vs. Alonzo Menifield
ESPN/ESPN Deportes/ESPN+, 8 p.m. ET
Light heavyweight: Tyson Pedro vs. Modestas Bukauskas
Men's featherweight: Josh Culibao vs. Melsik Baghdasaryan
Men's flyweight: Shannon Ross vs. Kleydson Rodrigues
Lightweight: Jamie Mullarkey vs. Francisco Prado
ESPN+, 6 p.m. ET
Men's featherweight: Jack Jenkins vs. Don Shainis
Strawweight: Loma Lookboonmee vs. Elise Reed
Men's featherweight: Shane Young vs. Blake Bilder
Lightweight: Zubaira Tukhugov vs. Elves Brenner
(c) = defending champion
How to watch the fights
Watch the PPV and all other fights on ESPN+: Get ESPN+ here.
Watch the prelims on ESPN, ESPN Deportes and ESPN+ and early prelims on ESPN+. Download the ESPN App | WatchESPN | TV schedule
Don't have ESPN? Get instant access.
Purchased the fight on your phone and want to stream on your TV? Find out how here.
There's also FightCenter, which offers live updates for every UFC card.
UFC 284 expert picks and best bets: Do insiders back Makhachev as a heavy favorite?
ESPN's Marc Raimondi spoke to Fight Ready MMA coach Santino DeFranco to get his perspective on the main event between Islam Makhachev and Alexander Volkanovski, and he spoke to New England Cartel coach Tyson Chartier to get his perspective on the co-main event between Yair Rodriguez and Josh Emmett. ESPN's betting experts Ian Parker and Reed Kuhn also add their insights and analysis on fights they like on the card.
Champ vs. champ: The history of superfights for double-champ status in UFC
A glorious dynamic will be in play this weekend at UFC 284 when featherweight titlist Alexander Volkanovski steps up to challenge lightweight belt holder Islam Makhachev. This is an MMA rarity, just the seventh instance of reigning UFC champions meeting in the Octagon.
This used to be even more of a rarity. In the promotion's first 23 years of existence, there was just one champion-vs.-champion superfight. But in the past six years or so -- perhaps significantly, this is the time since entertainment giant WME-IMG (now known as Endeavor) bought the UFC -- there have been five more superfights, with another about to happen.
Here's some history of smaller champs fighting bigger champs -- how the fights came together, how they played out and what they meant in the long run.
Ranking UFC 284 fights: There's no debating which fight is No. 1
Rankings are opinions. Opinions are debatable.
Except for this one: Islam Makhachev vs. Alexander Volkanovski is the No. 1 fight to watch at this weekend's UFC 284. There's simply no other way to stack up the event in Perth, Australia.
Makhachev, 23-1 and a winner of his past 21 fights, will make his first defense of the lightweight championship he won in October. His challenger, the 25-1 Volkanovski, has won 22 in a row and is a champion himself, having ruled the featherweight division since 2019. In ESPN's pound-for-pound men's rankings, Volkanovski is No. 1, Makhachev No. 2.
Picking apart Islam Makhachev: How Alexander Volkanovski could upset the lightweight champ at UFC 284
When UFC lightweight champion Islam Makhachev puts his title on the line against featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski at UFC 284 in Perth, Australia, on Saturday night, Makhachev will be the clear favorite.
Despite taking on ESPN's No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter in his first title defense, there seems to be an overwhelming belief among fans and oddsmakers that Makhachev (23-1) will win this fight. And with a win, he can claim the P4P top spot.
With Volkanovski (25-1) entering the matchup as an underdog, it sparks a couple of questions: How good is the lightweight champion? What is Volkanovski's path to victory if Makhachev is as good as advertised?
Former UFC women's featherweight and current ESPN MMA analyst Megan Anderson breaks down Makhachev's game and the areas where Volkanovski could find an opportunity to capitalize.
'A catapulted, catalytic opportunity to grow again': The UFC's return to Australia is not before time
Throughout the course of the COVID-19 pandemic there was one constant question that plagued Australian MMA fans: When will the UFC return Down Under?
This Sunday morning [Australian time], after more than 1,220 days that have come and gone, the Octagon will once again take centre stage on the Australian sporting consciousness when UFC 284 begins at Perth's RAC Arena. Headlined by local superstar Alexander Volkanovski's pursuit of history against lightweight champion Islam Makhachev, with the Australian attempting to become only the fifth UFC fighter to earn champ-champ status, the promotion's return Down Under could not be more eagerly anticipated.
UFC big questions: Will Volkanovski-Makhachev winner be P4P No. 1?
What fight should the UFC look to make for new lightweight champ Islam Makhachev, and if the matchup is Alexander Volkanovski, how would that affect the pound-for-pound rankings?
With a new year quickly approaching, Brett Okamoto, Marc Raimondi and Jeff Wagenheim answer this UFC question and more.
Alexander Volkanovski-Islam Makhachev title fight set for UFC 284
UFC featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski will officially move up in weight to challenge lightweight champion Islam Makhachev for a second title at UFC 284 on Feb. 11 in a fight that could determine the No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter in the world.
UFC officials announced the lightweight title fight Saturday. UFC 284 will take place in Perth, Australia, which is Volkanovski's home country. It is the first time the UFC has booked a fight between two active champions, excluding interim champions, since March 2021.