UFC 284 is headlined by a historic super fight between the two pound-for-pound best fighters in the promotion and that may overshadow some hidden gems sprinkled on the card. UFC returns to Perth, Australia on Saturday for a card headlined by lightweight champion Islam Makhachev vs. featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski.
Makhachev vs. Volkanovski is not only a super fight but also an ultra-rare contest between the promotion's No. 2 and No. 1 Pound for Pound fighters, according to the UFC rankings.
Contenders Yair Rodriguez and Josh Emmett will compete to crown the interim featherweight champion in the co-main event. Rodriguez is a highlight-reel striker coming off a TKO via injury against Brian Ortega. Emmett has quietly worked himself into contention with big power and uncanny toughness, most recently defeating Calvin Kattar.
UFC 284 is certainly top-heavy but that doesn't mean you should skip out on the undercard. The event is loaded with action-heavy fighters from the Oceanic region. Jack Della Maddalena, Jimmy Crute, Tyson Pedro, Joshua Culibao and Jamie Mullarkey are a handful of the fighters who should receive a warm reception in Australia.
Take a look at three fights worth watching beyond the main event.
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Jack Della Maddalena vs. Randy Brown
This could be a breakout moment for Perth's Della Maddalena. The hometown hero has become a global fan-favorite among dedicated fans thanks to an action-packed UFC run in his third year. Della Maddalena fired off three consecutive first-round stoppages against Pete Rodriguez, Ramazan Emeev and Danny Roberts -- the latter two were bonus earners against legitimately tough competition. Brown is a great next step: a hardened UFC veteran who has overcome inconsistency and is on the best run of his UFC career. Bubbling just beneath the top 15, Della Maddalena and Brown are likely competing for a shot against a ranked opponent next.
Jimmy Crute vs. Alonzo Menifield
Crute and Menifield are here for a good time, not a long time. The two light heavyweights are trending in opposite directions and it lends well to their habit of churning out short fights. Crute hasn't made it past the first round in his last six fights (and six of seven UFC fights overall). Five of Menifield's six UFC victories have ended in Round 1. Crute, coming off back-to-back losses, is undefeated when fighting in Australia and New Zealand and looks to feed off the energy of his fellow countrymen. Menifield leveled up with a KO of Misha Cirkunov in his last fight and can level up again by making Crute his third consecutive victim. Menifield will punch his ticket to the top 15 if he can punch out No. 12 ranked Crute.
Jamie Mullarkey vs. Francisco Prado
Mullarkey vs. Prado is the fight you didn't know you needed. Mullarkey fights are fun, pure and simple. He has delivered Fight of the Nights in his promotional debut against Brad Riddell and his most recent fight opposite Michael Johnson. Plus, he earned a Performance bonus for his TKO of Devonte Smith. Mullarkey has his eyes on a fourth bonus in seven fights against Prado, who will be making his promotional debut. The undefeated regional champion has been ridiculously active. Prado went a perfect eight-for-eight between 2021 and 2022 and has finished all 11 of his professional fights. It'll be interesting to see how well his talents scale to the UFC. He'll have a willing dance partner in Mullarkey.
Honorable mentions: Joshua Culibao vs. Melsik Baghdasaryan, Tyson Pedro vs. Modestas Bukauskas
Who wins UFC 284: Volkanovski vs. Makhachev? And how exactly does each fight end? Visit SportsLine now to get detailed picks on every fight at UFC 284, all from the incomparable expert who's up nearly $12,000 on MMA in the past four years, and find out.