by philphan » Fri Jul 01, 2022 6:27 am
's record of wins at LW.
Alexander Volkanovski Sees Max Holloway Trilogy as Prelude to the Lightweight Title
If successful in Saturday's title defense at UFC 276, Volkanovski will seek double-champ status.
Alexander Volkanovski’s reign as featherweight champion was destined to end last September.
Three rounds into his UFC 266 title defense against Brian Ortega, Volkanovski found himself in a disastrous position.
Ortega locked in his guillotine. Volkanovski found a way to break the hold, but after escaping, he once again found himself in Ortega’s lair. This time, Volkanovski was locked in a triangle choke, the signature submission of a man nicknamed “T-City” for his incredible proficiency at the triangle.
“I was getting out of it or going to sleep,” Volkanovski says. “I wasn’t going to tap. I never considered that.”
An elite combination of durability and resilience allowed Volkanovski to return to his feet. Not content with just finishing the round, he re-established dominant position, ending that third round—which seemed to be his end—with a vicious ground-and-pound assault that completely discombobulated Ortega.
“All I could think was, ‘There’s no way he’s taking this belt for me,’” says Volkanovski, who won the bout by unanimous decision. “That was my moment. People got to see why I’m champion. Now the world knows.”
Only two months removed from annihilating Chan Sung Jung in their title match at UFC 273, Volkanovski defends his title this Saturday in the co-main event of UFC 276 against Max Holloway. It is a trilogy bout, with Volkanovski (24–1) already twice defeating Holloway (23–6)—first by unanimous decision three summers ago to win the belt, and then by split decision in a rematch the following year.
“Max is a great fighter, and he is the number-one contender for a reason,” says Volkanovski, who has won all 11 of his bouts in the UFC. “I have a lot of respect for him. If I can beat him again, it puts me on a whole new level.
“I want to make a statement. I want to separate myself from the entire division. I have to beat Max again to prove that I’m on another level.”
The primary goal for Volkanovski is defeating Holloway and retaining his title. After, he wants to pursue a new belt, providing a home to the vacant lightweight championship.
“That’s what I plan on doing,” Volkanovski says. “I really want three fights this year, but it has to be the right one. After this one, I want that double-champ status. My division is in a spot where we can see what happens while I go after that double-champ lightweight title fight.”
Volkanovski also shared his respect for Israel Adesanya, who is headlining 276. A City Kickboxing teammate and friend, Volkanovski believes Adesanya is the greatest striker in UFC history—and he is honored to co-main event the card alongside him.
“He’s one of the greatest ever,” Volkanovski says. “I love watching his technique and his striking. He’s getting better and better, and he’s already the best striker in UFC history.
“We both talk about our legacy, being the best we can possibly be. That’s what you’re going to see at 276. The sky’s the limit for him, and the sky’s the limit for me.”