Alexander Volkanovski retains UFC featherweight title in thriller vs. Brian Ortega

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Alexander Volkanovski retains UFC featherweight title in thriller vs. Brian Ortega

LAS VEGAS — Alexander Volkanovski’s position as the very best featherweight in the entire world has been solidified.

After escaping several near submissions makes an attempt, Volkanovski poured on the damaging blows to beat Brian Ortega through unanimous decision (49-46, 50-45, 50-44) Saturday night time in the most important function of UFC 266 at T-Mobile Arena.

Volkanovski retained his UFC featherweight title with the victory in a single of the very best championship MMA fights of 2021. Volkanovski has received 20 fights in a row all round, the longest lively unbeaten streak by a fighter on the UFC roster.

“All them doubters,” Volkanovski reported in his postfight interview. “I’m gonna hold proving you erroneous time and time again.”

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The ringside doctor had to check the cuts on Ortega’s bloody facial area ahead of the fourth and fifth rounds before allowing the bout go on.

Volkanovski explained this past 7 days that he wanted poorly to complete the very strong Ortega. He failed to do that, but this earn was an impressive one — a person of his very best performances in the UFC. Volkanovski waded riskily into Ortega’s hazardous guard on the floor a number of occasions in the third and fourth rounds, landing big ground-and-pound shots that busted up Ortega’s face.

In spite of the harm, Ortega’s greatest spherical may have been the fifth when he had Volkanovski reeling at periods with punching combinations. Ortega nearly concluded him in the third round with a mounted guillotine and a D’arce choke. He also approximately experienced a choke in the fourth.

“I imagined it was accomplished,” Ortega said. “That’s what we qualified for my overall camp. … That very little bastard is f—ing tough as hell.”

The bout was at first scheduled for UFC 260 in March, but was pushed back again when Volkanovski tested constructive for COVID-19. Volkanovski and Ortega then coached opposite just one a further in excess of the summer season on The Best Fighter reality clearly show, which made bad blood in between the two gentlemen. Volkanovski known as Ortega “unprofessional” this week and termed out his 2014 good drug examination in a heated stare-down Thursday.

Volkanovski is ESPN’s No. 6-rated pound-for-pound fighter in the globe. Coming in, ESPN experienced Volkanovski rated No. 1 and Ortega ranked No. 3 in the planet at featherweight.

“Some of them had been very tight,” Volkanovski mentioned of the submission attempts. “For some cause I went to the ground with him. Of course, he’s very good. … I imagined I was in his head and he arrived back again even stronger.”

The craziest sequence of the fight came in the third spherical, when Ortega caught a Volkanovski kick and took him down right into a mounted guillotine. Volkanovski was close to tapping, but by some means escaped. Seconds afterwards, Ortega tried using to cinch in a D’arce choke, which Volkanovski also escaped.

“It was deep,” Volkanovski explained. “It was ‘F—, I’m about to reduce the belt’ deep. … That was as deep as it can get. No s—. I don’t forget I was creating f—ing odd noises.”

Volkanovski outlanded Ortega in considerable strikes, 214-88, with a 53- shutout for Volkanovski for strikes on the ground. Those 214 substantial strikes are the third-most landed in a featherweight battle in UFC history and the seventh-most in UFC historical past in any division.

Both of those Volkanovski and Ortega gained $50,000 bonuses for Battle of the Night. Volkanovski could have escaped the submissions, but he was nevertheless putting on harm from Ortega blows, including two cuts on his experience and one on his head.

“I required to get the complete,” Volkanovski reported. “I have been chatting about having that complete. But at least it was a war.”

Afterward, Volkanovski mentioned he expected to protect up coming from the winner of a Nov. 13 combat amongst Max Holloway and Yair Rodriguez. But Volkanovski explained he didn’t want to wait around a extensive time to battle all over again and would consider a go up to lightweight just to remain active. He also explained he’d contemplate going his loved ones from Australia to the United States to get away from his property country’s COVID-19 lockdowns.

“I’m anticipating to Max to go out there and do his detail and we are gonna be jogging that trilogy. … That’s gonna be a enormous f—ing combat,” Volkanovski stated.

Volkanovski (23-1) has won all 10 of his UFC fights, a successful streak that is the 3rd-longest energetic a single in the UFC at the rear of only Kamaru Usman (14) and Amanda Nunes (12). He is coming off a break up selection earn in excess of Holloway at UFC 251 in July 2020, his very first title defense. That was a close 1, and several thought Holloway was the legitimate winner.

Volkanovski, 32, has not missing considering that May well 2013, his fourth pro combat. He conquer Holloway to get the title at UFC 245 in December 2019. Volkanovski is only the fifth UFC fighter to commence his run with the promotion at 10-.

Ortega (15-2, 1 NC) was coming off a unanimous conclusion gain last October above “The Korean Zombie,” Chan Sung Jung, in a comeback victory soon after currently being out just about two yrs because of to injury. The California indigenous only experienced one particular vocation loss coming in and that also was in a featherweight title fight, versus Holloway at UFC 231 in December 2018. Ortega, 30, retains a 7-2 (1 NC) document in the UFC.