UFC finalizing the trilogy between Alexander Volkanovski and Max Holloway

The two best featherweights in the UFC are going to battle it out for a third time in July. News broke today that the promotion has locked in a date for the highly anticipated third fight between featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski (24-1) and former champion Max Holloway (23-6).

After Ariel Helwani reported that the UFC was looking at July, MMA Fighting confirmed this afternoon that the fight will go down at UFC 276 on July 2nd. There is expected to be multiple title fights on this card as it’s the promotion’s signature card tied to their fan expo.

A few years ago, it was inconceivable to think of a featherweight in the UFC better the Max Holloway. The Blessed Express was off and running and he was completely outclassing everyone at 145 pounds. However, that all changed when he ran into Alexander Volkanovski.

Holloway and Volkanovski first met at UFC 245. Volkanovski had a tremendous game plan and he was able to outpoint Holloway and win the featherweight title. The two men had an immediate rematch that took place at UFC 251.

This fight was razor close and many believe that Holloway won the fight. However, two of the judges gave the fight to Volkanovski and he retained the title. Since then, Holloway has picked up two solid wins over Yair Rodriguez and Calvin Kattar. The Kattar victory was one of the more impressive wins in his UFC career.

UFC title staying in Australia?

After the second fight with Max Holloway, many were casting a shadow on the title reign of Alexander Volkanovski. Many thought that Holloway won the fight and even Dana White said that Volkanovski didn’t win the second fight.

However, over the last two fights, Volkanovski silenced everyone. Starting with his title defense at UFC 266. Volkanovski completely destroyed Brian Ortega. After that, the UFC wanted to book the trilogy with Holloway, however, Holloway suffered an injury.

The Korean Zombie stepped up and that fight took place at UFC 273. Volkanovski was even more dominant in this performance and stopped TKZ in the fourth round. Now, he has his final chance to really silence everyone with a convincing win over Holloway at UFC 276. I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait for this one.

After defending his title at UFC 273, what’s next for Alexander Volkanovski?

This past Saturday in the main event of UFC 273, the featherweight title was on the line. Alexander Volkanovski (24-1) was defending his title for the third time as he was taking on The Korean Zombie, Chan Sung Jung (17-7).

While the champion was a huge betting favorite, The Zombie has always proven to be a tough out. Because of that, many were expecting a war between Jung and Volkanovski at UFC 273.

However, it was apparent from the opening bell that there was a huge discrepancy between the two men. Volkanovski’s speed was blinding and The Zombie really wasn’t able to get anything going because of it.

Every time TKZ tried to attack, he would eat a number of shots from the UFC featherweight champion. The only exchanges where Jung landed shots were in wild exchanges. Whenever Volkanovski was controlled, he was touching up The Zombie whenever he wanted.

In the fourth round, referee Herb Dean mercifully stopped the fight. It was a beautiful and dominating performance from Volkanovski who looks like he’s just getting better and better with time.

What’s next after UFC 273?

Originally, Volkanovski wasn’t supposed to face Chan Sung Jung at UFC 273. He was supposed to fight Max Holloway for the third time in a fight that fight fans have been waiting for ever since their second fight.

However, Holloway suffered an injury and had to pull out of the fight. Now that Volkanovski dominated TKZ, it looks like the next fight is a forgone conclusion. The UFC should definitely book the trilogy between Holloway and Volkanovski.

I think this is the way that they will go especially if Volkanovski turns around relatively quickly. Should Volkanovski get through Holloway, his next opponent might be laid out as well.

This week, we found out former two-division UFC champion Henry Cejudo is returning to the octagon. After he’s in the USADA pool for six months, he will be allowed to compete again which could see him return at the end of the year.

He’s voiced interest in moving to featherweight to try and capture a third divisional title. If Volkanovski beats Holloway, I think Cejudo will be the next fight for the champion.

UFC working on Alexander Volkanovski – Chan Sung Jung

Well, it appears that the UFC is closing in on a replacement for Max Holloway. Last week it was announced that Alexander Volkanovski (23-1) and Holloway would be completing their trilogy for the featherweight title. However, just days after the initial announcement, the fight was off. 

Holloway tweaked an injury and the fight was called off. However, the UFC is wanting to keep Volkanovski active as the timetable for Holloway’s return is not known. With that, all top featherweight contenders started volunteering for a shot at the champion.

Even Henry Cejudo through his name in the hat to replace Holloway at UFC 272. Giga Chikadze, who is competing this weekend, had his reps come out and say that he would love the fight assuming he gets through Calvin Kattar on Saturday.

All that being said, it appears that the UFC and the champion have settled on a replacement. From the beginning, Volkanovski made it clear with a tweet on who he preferred to fight. It’s a guy he’s wanted to fight for some time and that guy is The Korean Zombie, Chan Sung Jung (17-6).

UFC 273 Main Event

Volkanovski has made it clear that he’s wanted to compete against The Zombie for sometime. However, the fight never came together and now, it appears like it’s going to. Ariel Helwani reported yesterday that the UFC is planning on this fight with a change to the original date.

Originally, the UFC was planning on Volkanovski and Holloway fighting in March. However, now the plan is for the Volkanovski – Jung matchup to take place in April at UFC 273. In addition, it also looks like the title fight between Aljamain Sterling and Petr Yan which was the UFC 272 co-main event will also shift to April.

Could mean big things for the March PPV. The last time we saw Jung was back in June when he headlined a Fight Night against Dan Ige. The Zombie put on a great performance and earned himself a decision win. It was a nice bounce back after his loss to Brian Ortega.

Overall, Jung is 3-1 in his last four UFC fights. This will be his second crack at the title but it will be his first shot since he lost to Jose Aldo back in 2013.

Max Holloway out of UFC 272 title fight

Well, the UFC was riding high this week with big fight announcements. Another huge announcement came just today when we learned that Tai Tuivasa and Derrick Lewis would be fighting next month in Houston.

One other fight that was announced this week was the UFC 272 title fight between Max Holloway (23-6) and Alexander Volkanovski (23-1). The trilogy was going to take place in March and was set to settle the debate on who is truly the best featherweight in the world.

However, days after the fight was announced, the fight is off. ESPN’s Brett Okamoto reported that Max Holloway has reaggravated an injury and has been forced to pull out of the UFC 272 title fight. The injury occurred in one of Holloway’s first days back in camp.

Last year, Holloway was supposed to fight Yair Rodriguez in July. However, he sustained an injury which pushed the fight back later in the year. Supposedly, this same injury is why he’s had to pull out of his UFC 272 title fight.

The UFC’s Plan

This is a big blow to UFC 272 which was planning on this title fight headlining the card. Holloway informed the promotion that he had to withdrawal yesterday. The promotion is currently trying to figure out the next steps. Apparently, there is no current timeframe on Holloway’s recovery.

More than likely, you’ll see this fight stick together but be pushed back. Outside of Holloway, there’s not really a contender that would make sense to take on Volkanovski. For that reason alone, I don’t see the UFC slotting someone else in that spot.

The hope is that Holloway can bounce back quickly from this injury and the fight can be rebooked. Word is that a timeframe if the injury is minor would be around May or June for the trilogy. I would expect the UFC to try and add another title fight to the March card with this fight falling out.

UFC books Alex Volkanovski – Max Holloway 3

The UFC has finalized the trilogy fight which should settle the question on who is the best featherweight in the world. ESPN’s Brett Okamoto was the first to report this evening that Alexander Volkanovski (23-1) will defend his featherweight title against Max Holloway (23-6).

The matchup will headline UFC 272 which will take place on March 5th. The news was confirmed by Dana White who broke the story to Okamoto. For Max Holloway, he will be looking to re-establish himself at the top of the featherweight mountain.

When Max Holloway rose to the top and became UFC champion, it was hard to envision him losing the crown. However, Alexander Volkanovski shocked Holloway by defeating him at UFC 245. The two immediately ran the fight back at UFC 251 on Fight Island.

The second fight was much closer with many believing Holloway got the win. However, Volkanovski won a split decision. Since the split decision loss, Holloway has had two incredibly impressive wins against Calvin Kattar and Yair Rodriguez which has earned him another crack at the champion.

UFC’s Australian King

I will be the first to admit that I haven’t always given Alexander Volkanovski the respect he deserved. I thought his win at UFC 245 was a fluke and I figured Holloway would take the belt back from him in their rematch. The way the second fight started, that narrative was playing out.

However, Volkanovski showed championship heart and resolve and stormed back in the championship rounds to win a decision. Then, Volkanovski took on Brian Ortega back in September. Again, I was overlooking the champion and thought he was in danger of dropping the title.

However, he put on a tremendous performance at UFC 266 and once again had to dig down deep. Twice in that fight, he could’ve tapped due to some deep submissions. However, he showed great heart and went on to dominate the challenger.

This is Volkanovski’s chance to once and for all put to rest the narrative that Holloway is better than him. Despite winning the first two fights, there are still doubters out there. If he wins at UFC 272, nobody can say anything else.

UFC: Is the Volkanovski trilogy or McGregor rematch next for Max Holloway?

This past weekend at UFC Vegas 42, Max Holloway (23-6) took on Yair Rodriguez (13-3, 1 NC). Holloway entered the bout as a massive betting favorite on the heels of his insanely dominant performance against Calvin Kattar back in January.

However, it was apparent from the opening round at UFC Vegas 42 that this was going to be a different fight. Rodriguez started out insanely strong and I think it caught Holloway off guard a bit. It took Holloway a little to find his rhythm and Rodriguez was landing bombs.

Halfway through the fight, we saw Holloway really start to turn it on. The former UFC featherweight champion turned up the pressure and mixed things up beautifully. All of this played a huge role in him winning the latter half of the fight.

In the end, the judges gave Holloway a unanimous decision victory. It was Holloway’s second victory of the year and it puts him in a great position as the calendar gets ready to turn over to 2022.

What’s next after UFC Vegas 42?

There are a few options on the table for Max Holloway at the moment. The obvious choice seems to be the trilogy fight with Alexander Volkanovski (23-1) for the UFC featherweight title. So far, Holloway is 0-2 in his bouts against Volkanovski.

However, a majority seem to believe that Holloway won the second fight despite two of the judges giving the fight to Volkanovski. Holloway has established himself as clearly the second best featherweight in the world behind the champion.

It’s basically Holloway and Volkanovski then a gap before you reach the next contender. However, there is another option out there for Holloway if he isn’t interested in challenging Volkanovski for a third time.

That option would be moving up to lightweight for a rematch with Conor McGregor (22-6). These two have playfully gone back and forth for years after their first meeting years ago. McGregor won their first fight by decision.

McGregor even shared a video of him staring down Holloway during Holloway’s introduction at UFC Vegas 42. Holloway has expressed interest in fighting McGregor once The Notorious one returns which should be in the late spring. Time will tell, but there are some good options for The Blessed Express.

What’s next for Yair Rodriguez after UFC Vegas 42?

Yair Rodriguez

This past Saturday in the main event of UFC Vegas 42, we saw a featherweight showdown between two of the best in the world. Former undisputed champion Max Holloway (23-6) was back as he took on the returning Yair Rodriguez (13-3, 1 NC).

It was the first time that Rodriguez had fought in over two years so you could say the UFC was throwing him into the fire. Back in January, Holloway put on his best career performance when he dismantled Calvin Kattar on Fight Island.

Given the layoff and how Holloway looked, nobody was giving Rodriguez a chance. Despite being ranked in the top five, Rodriguez was a massive underdog. Holloway could be found as a -800 favorite which is insane to think about given how talented Rodriguez is.

However, nobody really knew what to expect. Well, Rodriguez showed up in a big way at UFC Vegas 42. From the opening bell, he went right after Holloway. He landed brutal calf kicks and big combinations up top. He even seemingly hurt the former champion a couple of times.

However, the champion showed great resolve and came on strong as the fight went on. In the end, Holloway did enough late and fought hard to win a decision, but the fight couldn’t have been closer in my opinion.

What’s next after UFC Vegas 42?

Yes, Yair Rodriguez did not get his hand raised this past weekend. However, he didn’t walk out of UFC Vegas 42 a loser. In fact, his stock rose in my opinion given the way that he fought the former champion.

Given the way his last fight went, what should the UFC do next. In my opinion, there are two fights that I think would be perfect for Rodriguez. The first fight is against “T-City” Brian Ortega (15-2).

Ortega only has two losses and both of those came in UFC title shots. There’s no doubting that Ortega is the third best featherweight in the world. Rodriguez is near the top as well and he proved that on Saturday night.

I think that once these two heal up after the wars they’ve had, a showdown in the spring would be a sensational fight. Another wildcard option would be Zabit Magomedsharipov (18-1).

It’s now been over two years since Zabit has last fought in the UFC. However, when he was fighting, he was being looked at as a world champion. Him and Rodriguez have been paired together a couple of times and the fight has always fallen through.

Zabit’s management has said that he’s getting ready to come back. Whenever he’s ready, I think a fight between him and Rodriguez would present an interesting new challenger for whoever is the featherweight champion at the time.

Max Holloway defeats Yair Rodriguez at UFC Vegas 42

In the main event of UFC Vegas 42, we saw a showdown between two of the best featherweights in the world. Former featherweight champion Max Holloway (22-6) was making his second appearance of the year when he took on Yair Rodriguez (13-2, 1 NC).

Rodriguez was making the walk for the first time in over two years. Despite the lengthy layoff, Rodriguez still entered UFC Vegas 42 as the third ranked featherweight in the division. His last fight was a victory of Jeremy Stephens back in October of 2019.

During this stretch Rodriguez has dealt with injuries as well as a suspension. He was hoping to pull off a huge victory today which would put him right in line to challenge Alexander Volkanovski for the UFC featherweight title.

However, that was going to be a very tall order considering his opponent. Max Holloway was a massive betting favorite entering today’s contest. He put on one of the greatest performances in UFC history in his last fight against Calvin Kattar.

The only man to have bested Holloway at featherweight over the last few years is Alexander Volkanovski. Outside of the champion, Holloway has looked unstoppable and he was looking to make another statement at UFC Vegas 42.

UFC Vegas 42 Recap

Round 1

The UFC Vegas 42 featherweight contest kicked off with a touch of the gloves. Holloway takes the center and started with the pressure. Rodriguez lands the first strike with an inside leg kick. Holloway lands a nice right hand to start his striking.

Check left hook lands for Rodriguez. Step in right hand lands for Holloway. Inside leg kick for Rodriguez. Holloway steps in and gets caught with a combination from Rodriguez. Holloway lands a nice right hand that snaps the head back of Rodriguez.

Body shot for Holloway and he follows with a nice jab. These two are just trading in the pocket right now. Big combination lands for Rodriguez who is showing no fear. Right hook from Holloway but he gets his head snapped back from Rodriguez.

Both men exchange big body kicks. Calf kick from Rodriguez. Holloway’s front leg is getting eaten up by calf kicks from Rodriguez. Another one slams home. Then a sharp 1-2 from Rodriguez rocks Holloway. However, Holloway rocks Rodriguez with a 1-2 of his own.

Right hook from Rodriguez and Holloway counters with a sharp shot of his own. Holloway looks to spin but Rodriguez grabs a body lock. This is where the round ends and a very good one for Rodriguez who takes the first at UFC Vegas 42.

Round 2

These two couldn’t wait to get the second started at UFC Vegas 42. They touch gloves and they’re back at it. Another big calf kick lands for Rodriguez and he doubles it up. Pressure here from Yair Rodriguez. Another good kick from Rodriguez.

Straight left hand lands for Rodriguez. Holloway steps in but he’s eating shots from Rodriguez. Check right hook lands on the chin from Rodriguez. 1-2 lands for the former champion. Lead left hook lands for Rodriguez. Body shot from Holloway but Rodriguez lands a big body kick counter.

Big straight right hand lands for Max Holloway. However, he eats three straight calf kicks from Rodriguez. Holloway stepping up the pressure here. Combinations from Holloway who appears to be pressing on the gas. Rodriguez lands a 1-2 to get some space.

Another calf kick from Rodriguez. Holloway presses Rodriguez against the fence but it’s Rodriguez who is landing the better shots along the fence. Jab to the body from Holloway. Another calf kick from Rodriguez.

Nice combination lands from Holloway. Holloway lands a big flying knee to the body and that might’ve hurt Rodriguez. Holloway trying to pour it on in the final seconds here. The second comes to a close and I still think it goes to Yair Rodriguez at UFC Vegas 42.

Round 3

Entering the third at UFC Vegas 42 and the momentum might be shifting here. Holloway goes right back on the pressure to start the third round. Both men trade jabs to start the striking. Holloway pushes Rodriguez against the fence and lands another flying knee.

Another knee to the body from Rodriguez. Calf kick lands from Rodriguez on the break. Holloway lands a straight shot but eats a combination from Rodriguez. Double jab from Holloway. Rodriguez goes for a kick but eats a shot that takes him off his feet.

Holloway jumps right on him and ends up in the mount. Rodriguez bucks but gives Holloway his back. Holloway staying patient in this dominant position. Big shots land from Holloway. Holloway is picking his shots here trying to maintain the position.

More big shots from Holloway but Rodriguez slips out. Back to their feet and immediately Rodriguez starts landing bombs on Holloway. Rodriguez lands a takedown but Holloway pops right back up. Huge 1-2 lands for Max Holloway.

Body kick from Holloway. More pressure from Holloway. The two trade jabs and Holloway shoots for another takedown and gets it. The round ends with Holloway on top and the former champion takes his first round at UFC Vegas 42.

Round 4

Entering the main event rounds at UFC Vegas 42 and while Holloway won the last round, Rodriguez still looks game. They touch gloves and here we go in the fourth. Holloway goes right back on the pressure and lands a lead left.

Right hand from Rodriguez. They both step forward and trade massive shots in the pocket. Another big exchange by both men and they end up in a clinch. Rodriguez pushes Holloway off but Holloway goes right back on the pressure.

Holloway gets Rodriguez against the fence and he lands some good shots. Standing guillotine attempt from Holloway and it’s deep. Rodriguez goes to his back to defend but now Holloway is on top. Rodriguez slips out of the choke.

Huge elbow lands for Holloway. A little separation and Rodriguez tries to attack a leg lock. However, Holloway slips right out and goes right back into the top position. Holloway slips right into the mount and he starts going to work.

However, Rodriguez gives up his back but is able to scramble to get back up. Knee to the body from Holloway and they’re back to striking. Holloway goes for a flying knee but it misses and he eats a counter. 1-2 from Holloway and then Rodriguez throws a flying knee.

Head kick from Rodriguez who is throwing heat in the final minute of the round. Good combination from Rodriguez. Spinning back kick from Holloway. More big shots from Rodriguez to end the round. I have this one 2-2 entering the final round at UFC Vegas 42.

Round 5

Entering the final round at UFC Vegas 42 and I think it’s anyone’s fight. They hug before the final round and here we go. Nice 1-2 from Rodriguez who knows he has to go in the final round. Body kick from Rodriguez.

Another good body kick from Rodriguez who is throwing major heat here in the final round. Pressure from Holloway now as he lands a 1-2. Nice knee from Holloway and he lands a nice shot. Lead elbow from Rodriguez and he follows it with a spinning back fist.

Holloway pushes Rodriguez against the fence and starts going to work. Rodriguez looks weathered but he circles along the outside to get things at range. Nice 1-2 lands for Holloway. Rodriguez is looking tired and tries to land a wild kick.

He landed a nice shot but ended up on the ground with Holloway on top. Worst case scenario for Yair Rodriguez. However, Rodriguez reverses and he ends up on top. Holloway tries for an armbar to scramble and it works as Holloway gets to his feet.

Spinning elbow from Rodriguez but flush knee counter from Holloway lands. Body kick from Rodriguez. Another good combination from Rodriguez. Rodriguez pushing forward in the final minute but eats a good shot.

Calf kick from Rodriguez and then he follows with a head kick. Holloway gets a body lock but Rodriguez uses an elbow to separate. More good shots from Rodriguez. Spinning back to the body lands for Rodriguez.

Final ten seconds at UFC Vegas 42 and they end in a clinch. Incredible fight. I would give the final round to Rodriguez and give the fight to him, however, I was really torn on that second round. Could’ve easily gone to Holloway and I think that’s how the judges would vote.

Max Holloway def. Yair Rodriguez by Unanimous Decision (49-46, 48-47, 48-47)

After successful title defense at UFC 266, what’s next for Alexander Volkanovski?

This past Saturday in the main event of UFC 266, Alexander Volkanovski (23-1) defended his featherweight title against Brian Ortega (15-2, 1 NC). Ortega was getting his second crack at UFC gold while Volkanovski was trying to defend for the second time.

When this fight was first announced, I really liked Ortega’s chances. The Brian Ortega that fought Chan Sung Jung last year looked like he could be the guy to take out Volkanovski. Or, so I thought.

Volkanovski has had an interesting run so for as UFC champion. He did the unthinkable when he defeated Max Holloway (22-6) to win the title. Then he barely edged out Holloway in the second fight to retain.

However, the split decision nature of the second fight has casted some doubts regarding his status as UFC champion. Well, Saturday night he did a pretty damn good job of silencing those who casted doubt.

From the opening bell, Volkanovski controlled the fight. Sensational feints and pinpoint striking had Ortega flustered throughout the fight. However, there was one moment where the fight almost went to Ortega.

Ortega locked in a mounted guillotine in the third round. It was so deep that I was tapping from my chair at home. However, the UFC champion gutted it out and survived. Ultimately, he won a lopsided unanimous decision.

What’s next after UFC 266?

Volkanovski now finds himself in an interesting spot after UFC 266. To me, the clear option for his next opponent is the trilogy with Max Holloway. However, Holloway has a fight with Yair Rodriguez in November so there’s likely going to be a layoff for the champ.

Nobody is expecting Holloway to have troubles with Yair Rodriguez so I think the plan is already in place for the UFC to do the trilogy. However, there could be an outside the box idea that could get considered.

Henry Cejudo (16-2) continues to tease a comeback. The former two-division UFC champion and Olympic Gold Medalist retired last year after defending his bantamweight crown. He’s talked about his desire to capture a belt in three weight classes which has never been done.

I do not expect the UFC to go in this direction, but I wouldn’t dismiss it either. If Volkanovski wants to fight relatively close to the beginning of the year, they might have to go a different direction than Holloway. That direction could be the King of Cringe.

After sensational win at UFC Vegas 35, what’s next for Giga Chikadze?

This past Saturday at UFC Vegas 35, we saw a big time showdown in the featherweight division. Two of the very best and most dynamic strikers in the promotion went head-to-head as Giga Chikadze (14-2) took on Edson Barboza (22-10).

Since moving down to 145 pounds, Edson Barboza has looked tremendous. Had it not been for poor judging, he would’ve carried a perfect record at 145 pounds into UFC Vegas 35‘s main event.

That said, Chikadze was going to be his toughest test to date. Barboza has always been known for his tremendous striking. However, this was really the first time he was going to be going up against someone that’s at a higher level.

Giga Chikadze showed just how special he is on Saturday night. Barboza has always stifled opponents with his speed and power. However, he was lacking in both of those categories compared to Chikadze on Saturday night.

Giga landed beautiful kicks throughout the first couple of rounds. He also had bursts where he was so much faster compared to Barboza. Eventually, he caught him with the shot he was looking for. In the third round, Chikadze poured it on and stopped Barboza at UFC Vegas 35.

What’s next after UFC Vegas 35?

After the fight was over, there was one name on the mind of Giga Chikadze. That name was former UFC featherweight champion and arguably the greatest featherweight in the history of the promotion, Max Holloway (22-6).

Holloway was supposed to headline a Fight Night in July against Yair Rodriguez. That bout was expected to be a UFC title eliminator, however, Holloway had to pull out of the fight with an injury.

Currently, the UFC is targeting that fight for November according to Dana White. However, Chikadze might have changed the plan. There’s no word on it yet, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the promotion tries to get Chikadze in that spot.

If Holloway isn’t next, Chikadze wants to be the backup fighter for the UFC 266 main event. Next month, Alexander Volkanovski will defend against Brian Ortega. If one of those guys falls out, Chikadze wants to be the backup. I could see the promotion doing that as well.

Either way, Chikadze is going to be at the very top of the UFC’s featherweight division once the new rankings come out. Don’t be surprised to see the featherweight from Georgia in a title eliminator in his next fight.