Alexander Volkanovski is eager to add a second title to his resume as he just closed out his rivalry with another great featherweight in Max Holloway with a dominant decision win in the UFC 276 co-main event.
A fierce battle in the opening round gave way to a lopsided performance from Volkanovski with every minute that passed as he poured out the penalty round after round, leaving Holloway a bloody mess when the final horn sounded. The judges all scored the fight 50-45, taking Volkanovski to 3-0 against Holloway.
With that performance, Volkanovski is now looking to the lightweight division as possibly his next stop after sending Holloway out probably one last time.
“Max Holloway is an absolute beast,” Volkanovski said after the win. “I just proved to you that I want to be in this octagon as much as possible. I want to be busy. I want to go up and go for double champion and I will keep two divisions busy.
“Charles [Oliveira]who gets that belt, no disrespect, I would like to move up, get that double championship status.”
It was an inches contest between the two best featherweights in the world at the start, with Volkanovski loading on a right hand and Holloway moving forward as he tried to establish his volume attack. The difference in the early start was Volkanovski’s timing and speed as he connected in rhythm with a stabbing left followed by a hard right behind it.
Holloway started to return the favor when he was able to pull off the exchanges, allowing him to throw several punches in a row and that’s where he finally started landing on the target. Despite some setbacks here and there, Volkanovski consistently allied himself with more power and that forced Holloway to be wary of expanding himself too much.
Midway through the second round, Volkanovski unleashed a perfectly timed counter-right hand that caught Holloway forward and the result was a massive cut over the Hawaiian’s left eye. The cut was in a bad spot directly above the eye as blood began to trickle down Holloway’s face.
There was understandable urgency from Holloway at the start of the third, especially dealing with such a horrible cut that might force the ringside doc to take a closer look later in the fight. The problem was that the blood in the eyes, along with Volkanovski’s precision and strength, were a terrible combination for Holloway trying to make a comeback.
Incredibly, Volkanovski was still ramping up his output late in the fight when he really started chasing Holloway with that same smooth jab from the left that was always followed by a devastating right behind it. The damage really piled up on Holloway as Volkanovski simply took the penalty and yet remained so under control that he never gave the former champion an opening to catch him.
As the seconds ticked away until the end of lap five, Volkanovski was still trying for the finish, with Holloway’s face just covered in blood and sweat as he watched the fight slip away.
Volkanovski had already defined himself as the best featherweight in the sport, but he now has three wins over Holloway, who previously had his own argument as one of the best 145-pound fighters in history.
Without a champion currently being crowned lightweight, Volkanovski made a compelling case that he might be half of whatever title fight is made as the UFC prepares for the next championship fight in the division.