On Saturday night at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, UFC Featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski consolidated his position as the best pound-for-pound mixed martial artist in the world.
As a result of Volkanovski’s third-round TKO victory over Yair Rodriguez in the UFC 290 main event, he successfully defended the title he’s held since December 2019.
Despite Rodriguez’s dangerous nature, Volkanovski took him down with ease. The champion scored seven successful takedowns.
Furthermore, the champion outlanded the challenger 149-57 in total strikes and 66-40 in significant strikes.
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Volkanovski won for the second time in his MMA career after losing to UFC Lightweight Champion Islam Makachev in February.
In that bout, Volkanovski tried to become a two-division fighter, but lost unanimously.
Volkanovski proved to be the 145-pound division’s king by defeating Rodriguez.
The featherweight class has been dominated by Volkanovski, who has won three fights over future Hall-of-Famer Max Holloway, another over Jose Aldo (whose HOF indictment was confirmed on Saturday), and Victories over Chang Sung Jung and Brian Ortega by unanimous decision.
Ilia Topuria could be Volkanovski’s next opponent. He defeated Josh Emmet on June 24, so he and Volkanovski are on similar timelines.
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However, Volkanovski mentioned he may need surgery after Saturday’s win, which could keep him out of action for a while.
After we know how long Volkanovski will be out of action, we will likely have a better idea of what Volkanovski’s next move will be.
However, Topuria is currently ranked No. 5 according to the UFC’s rankings, which include Rodriguez No. 1, Holloway No. 2, Ortega No. 3 and Arnold Allen No. 4.
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Volkanovski just beat Rodriguez, beat Holloway three times, and beat Ortega twice. Allen is No. 4, but he just lost to Holloway, so it seems unlikely he’ll face Volkanovski again.
A match against Allen or even Topuria seems logical for Rodriguez, and Volkanovski might wait until the end of another round contender scrap before getting back into the Octagon.
In the coming weeks, the plans for the 145-pound division should take shape.
Attendance and gate for UFC 290, performance bonuses
According to Dana White, 19,204 people attended Saturday’s event.
$9.75 million was the gate for what White described as a “sold out” crowd.
Following are the fighters who received performance bonuses at UFC 290.
The Fight of the Night was Alexander Pantoja vs. Brandon Moreno – $50,000 apiece
Denise Gomes defeated Yazmin Jauregui for $50.000 in performance of the night 1
Performances of the Night 2 – $50,000 – Dricus Du Plessis vs. Robert Whittaker
In their third meeting, Pantoja dethroned Moreno to become the new UFC Featherweight Champion.
It was Pantoja’s first win over Moreno that came at The Ultimate Fighter Season 24 finale in July 2016. At UFC Fight Night 129, Pantoja defeated Moreno again.
It could have been stopped sooner, but Gomes scored an impressive 20-second first-round finish.
With a TKO victory over former champion Robert Whittaker, Du Plessis seemed to have set up a shot at Israel Adesanya, the UFC Middleweight Champion.
As we move toward an inevitable confrontation, there is some real life tension between Adesanya and Du Plessis.
Results of UFC 290
In the second round, Alexander Volkanovski defeated Yair Rodriguez (R3, 4:19) via TKO.
- (c) Alexandre Pantoja defeats Brandon Moreno by split decision 48-47×2 and 46-49)
- Dricus Du Plessis defeats Robert Whittaker via TKO (R2, 2:23).
- A split decision was won by Dan Hooker over Jalin Turner (29-28 x2, 28-29).
- Val Woodburn is defeated by Bo Nickal via first-round TKO (0:38)
- Niko Price is defeated by Robbie Lawler via KO in the first round (0:38)
- Tatsuro Taira defeated Edgar Chairez by unanimous decision (29-27 x3)
- Yazmin Jauregui is defeated by Denise Gomes via first-round TKO (0:20)
- Jimmy Crute is defeated by Alonzo Menifield via submission (guillotine) (R2, 1:55).
- Markin Prachnio is defeated by Vitor Petrino via submission (arm triangle) (R3, 3:42).
- Terrence Mitchell is KO’d by Cameron Saaiman in the first round (3:10)
- In the first round, Jesus Aguilar knocked out Shannon Ross (0:17).
- In a unanimous decision, Esteban Ribovics defeated Kamuela Kirk (29-28 x3)
- In the main event of a Fight Night card from the Apex in Las Vegas, Holly Holm faces Mayra Buena Silva.