Volkanovsky (25-1) defended his featherweight title for the fourth time on Saturday night, defeating Holloway (23-7) by unanimous decision in their highly anticipated triplex match. All three judges scored the 145-pound title fight, which contested for the UFC 276 title inside the T-Mobile Arena, a 50-45 clean sweep of the defending champion.
Saturday’s five-round competition was, by far, the most defining outcome of the trio. The two met for the first time at UFC 245 in December 2019, and again at UFC 251 in July 2020. Volkanovsky won by decision, but the fights were very close — especially the rematch. Immediately after the rematch, some in the sport still considered Holloway the true featherweight champion, but that feeling is long overdue, and it ended long after UFC 276.
“Look, Max Holloway is an absolute beast,” Volkanovsky said. “That sharpness he brought, that we both had the last few days, I needed. I really needed it. I had to get him out of here. I knew I was the best. I needed to remind myself.”
The fight was fought entirely on feet, and none of the featherweights attempted the takedown until the last round. Holloway, of Wayanai, Hawaii, moved forward throughout the game, but struggled to throw any consistent attack on the defensive proper Volkanowski. Meanwhile, Volkanovsky punished Holloway all along. He opened a deep slit in Holloway’s left eyebrow in the second round, and damaged his nose with shots in the fourth.
According to UFC stats, Volkanovsky outperformed Holloway in total strikes from 204 to 161 – and teams Poetry More obvious than that for those who watch the fight. Volkanovsky’s defense was simply superb, regularly landing heavy opposing right hands as Holloway slashed punches. It was Holloway who sought removal, unsuccessfully, in the last round – his face in a bloody mess.
Volkanovsky, from Australia, has emerged as the best fighter in the world since he captured Holloway’s belt in his first fight. He has now defended the title against Holloway twice, as well as against Brian Ortega And the Chan Sung Joong. He’s currently looking to move up to the lightweight for a second belt challenge, a suggestion that UFC President Dana White has already voiced support for.
“I want to be in this octagon as much as possible,” Volkanovsky said. “I want to be busy. I don’t think this division can keep me busy alone. I want to progress.”
Far from a potential transition to lightweight, Volkanovsky’s next featherweight title defense may be linked to a major match between Ortega and Yair Rodriguez On July 16.
Volkanovski has now won 22 fights in a row, including 12 in the UFC. He is the fourth fighter in UFC history to win his first 12 promotion fights, and joins Anderson SilvaAnd the Camaro Usman And the Khabib Nurmagomedov. He is also the third fighter in UFC history to win three fights against one opponent, joining Frankie Edgar (During Bj Ben) And the Tito Ortiz (During Ken Shamrock).
Holloway sees a streak of victory cut short in two battles. His only featherweight loss came in 2014 against Volkanovsky.
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