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Dana White: Alexander Volkanovski vs. Brian Ortega targeted for UFC 266 in September

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski is expected to defend his title against Brian Ortega at the upcoming UFC 266 pay-per-view on Sept. 4.

That’s according to UFC president Dana White, who confirmed the news when speaking to Submission Radio ahead of UFC 263 in Arizona.

“Yeah that is [UFC] 266,” White said when asked about the timing for Volkanovski vs. Ortega.

The featherweights are currently watching their season of The Ultimate Fighter unfold after they coached against each other for six weeks in the latest installment of the long running reality series.

Originally, Volkanovski and Ortega were scheduled to clash at UFC 260 in March but the reigning 145-pound champion contracted COVID-19 and it knocked him out of the fight. Volkanovski then had to take adequate time to recover from the after effects of dealing with the disease, which ultimately resulted in the UFC booking him with Ortega as coaches on the reality show while waiting for the fight to take place.

Now it appears that date is set with Volkanovski seeking the second defense of his title after back-to-back wins over former champion Max Holloway.

As for Ortega, he will get his second attempt at becoming UFC champion after falling short in his previous bid in a fight with Holloway back in 2018. Ortega bounced back with a dominant showing against “The Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung to once again put himself into title contention.

Assuming the fight is finalized for UFC 266, Volkanovski and Ortega would join the light heavyweight title fight at the top of the card where Jan Blachowicz will face off with Glover Teixeira in the main event.

There is still no location for the card but White believes numerous options are available once the promotion decides to lock down a venue.

“266, we don’t know yet,” White said about the location for the card. “Everything looks like it’s going in the right direction. I don’t know about Canada and Australia but everything else looks like it’s going in the right direction.”