Dana White announced the first three UFC PPV headliners in 2024 today when he took to social media. One of those announcements was the headliner of UFC 298 which is set to go down in February. Featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski (26-3) will go back down to defend his crown against top contender Ilia Topuria (14-0).
Topuria gets his title shot after a perfect start inside the octagon. Back in 2020, Topuria made his debut and it was off to the races. He started out a perfect 4-0 which included three finishes. Those four wins earned him a fight with Bryce Mitchell that took place last December at UFC 282.
Mitchell was undefeated at the time as well, but Topuria completely outclassed him. Topuria finished him in the second round with an arm triangle choke. From there, Topuria got a fight with former interim title challenger Josh Emmett. In a one-sided beating, Topuria dominated Emmett to earn this shot at the UFC’s featherweight king.
Originally, the UFC wanted Alexander Volkanovski to defend against Ilia Topuria in January. However, when Charles Oliveira fell out of last month’s lightweight title fight against Islam Makhachev, the promotion called on the featherweight champion. Volk took Makhachev the distance in a razor close fight earlier in the year so the storyline was there.
However, there wasn’t enough time to prepare. Makhachev knocked out the featherweight king in the first round after crushing him with a head kick. It was the first time that Volkanovski had been finished in his career. After losing the fight, Volkanovski begged the UFC to keep him busy for his own mental health. He’s a champion who loves to stay active.
However, with the loss, January was off the table. That said, he won’t have to wait long. Now, the featherweight champion will look to successfully defend his title once again against a very hungry challenger in Topuria.