PERTH: Islam Makhachev defended his Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) lightweight world title on Sunday, wearing down Alexander “The Great” Volkanovski both on his feet and on the ground to secure a unanimous points decision in Perth. Russia’s Makhachev derailed the Australian’s campaign to become just the fifth fighter to hold two world titles simultaneously in UFC history, despite a fiercely partisan crowd. “So hard an opponent,” a breathless Makhachev said after a thrilling top-of-the-bill contest at UFC284. “I am the greatest fighter in the world right now.” The 31-year-old Makhachev stretched his unbeaten streak in the UFC to 12 fights and his overall record to 24-1 as he made good on his threats to overpower the smaller Australian, with the judges’ cards reading 48-47, 48-47, 49-46. The surprise from Makhachev was his striking, as he picked his shots with precision landing overhand lefts and probing rights. The Russian also made four trademark take-downs to leave the energetic Volkanovski looking for answers. A huge right from the Australian landed late in the fifth to raise local heartbeats but Makhachev held on. Dagestan-born Makhachev has been schooled throughout his career by Khabib Nurmagomedov – arguably the greatest fighter in UFC history – and boasted 11 submissions on his record coming into Perth. The expectation was that Makhachev would look to quickly take the fight to the floor but the Australian’s fitness and ground defence managed to take it the distance.