UFC 284 fight card: Jack Della Maddalena, Randy Brown look for breakout moment on undercard in Australia
UFC 284 is headlined by a historic superfight between two of the best fighters in the weight class that could overshadow some of the hidden gems scattered across the map. The 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 extremely rare match between fighters No. 2 and No. 1 in the UFC rankings. Volkanovski’s move to lightweight also opens the door for featherweight contenders Yair Rodriguez and Josh Emmett to fight for the interim featherweight title in Saturday’s co-main event.
UFC 284 certainly takes the top spot, but that doesn’t mean you should skip the undercard. The event is filled with fighters from the Oceanic region. Jack Della Maddalena, Jimmy Crute, Tyson Pedro, Joshua Culibao and Jamie Mullarkey are just a few of the fighters who should be getting a warm welcome in Australia.
Take a look at three fights worth watching outside of the main event.
Jack Della Maddalena vs. Randy Brown
This could be a breakthrough moment for Perth’s Dell Maddalena. The hometown hero became a worldwide favorite among loyal fans thanks to an action-packed run in the UFC in his third year. Della Maddalena knocked out Pete Rodriguez, Ramazan Emeev and Danny Roberts three times in a row in the first round – the latter two received bonuses in the face of legitimately tough competition. Brown is a great next step: a hardened UFC veteran who has overcome inconsistency and achieved the best results of his UFC career. Just below the top 15, Della Maddalena and Brown are likely competing for a chance to take on the next ranked opponent.
Jimmy Cool vs. Alonzo Menifield
Root and Menifield are here for the long haul, not for long. The two light heavyweights are heading in opposite directions and this works well with their habit of short fights. Root hasn’t gone past the first round in his last six fights (and six of the UFC’s seven fights overall). Six of Menifield’s seven UFC victories ended in the first round. Root, having lost one after another, is undefeated in fights in Australia and New Zealand and hopes to feed on the energy of his compatriots. Menifield has risen to the next level by knocking out Misha Cirkunov in his last fight, and could rise to the next level again by making Kroot his third consecutive victim. Menifield will break his ticket to the top 15 if he can break 12th in the Root rankings.
Jamie Mullarkey vs. Francisco Prado
Mullarkey vs Prado is a fight you didn’t even know existed. Mullarky fights are fun, clean and simple. He directed the Fight of the Night in his debut promotion against Brad Riddell and in his last fight with Michael Johnson. In addition, he received a performance bonus for the technical knockout of Devonte Smith. Mullarkey is eyeing a fourth bonus in seven fights against Prado, who is making his promotional debut. The undefeated regional champion was incredibly active. Between 2021 and 2022, Prado posted a perfect eight-on-eight record and completed all 11 of his pro fights. It will be interesting to see how well his talents apply to the UFC. He will have a desirable dance partner in Mullarkey.
honorable mentions: Joshua Culibao vs. Melsik Baghdasaryan, Tyson Pedro vs. Modest Bukauskas