Volkanovski vs. Ortega took place Sept. 25 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. Alexander Volkanovski (23-1) and Brian Ortega (15-2, 1 no-contest) collided in the main event. The fight aired live on ESPN+ pay-per-view.
Catch more video highlights below.
For more on Volkanovski vs. Ortega, check out the live blog by MMA Fighting’s Jed Meshew.
Volkanovski really looks to be in great shape and great mental place to start. Both men come out in orthodox and they are jockeying for control of the center early. Volkanovski working inside low kicks and Ortega probing with jabs. Ortega is also switching stances regularly and looking to land a high kick when he goes southpaw.
Volkanovski ultimately wins the battle for control and it’s Ortega accepting the outside. Volkanovski consistent with the leg kicks but Ortega is checking many of them. Best punch of the night so far is a right hand counter that Volkanovski has landed a few times now over Ortega’s jab.
Volkanovski’s defense is so tight. He’s controlling the range beautifully and no allowing anything from the challenger. Ortega is now cut over his left eye, from one of Volkanovski’s counter rights. Ortega is struggling to find the range and Volkanovski is now landing a sharp jab as well.
A clash of the two opens a small cut under Volkanovski’s left eye. Could have been a head or an inside hook, can’t be sure. Meanwhile, Volkanovski continues to pressure and Ortega is content to move around and wait for his opportunities. Ortega catches a body kick but can’t do anything and let’s go. And it seems like the feints of Volkanovski are overloading much of Ortega’s defense.
Ortega ;ands a good counter left hook when Volkanovski gets too aggressive but the champion moves through it without issue and continues to go to work. Ortega catches another kick and lands a left hook while holding onto it. That has happened a couple times now but he has yet to hurt Volkanovski. Competitive first round.
MMA Fighting scores the round 10-9 Volkanovski.
Ortega looked pretty solid defensively in the first round but his primary issue remains: he’s not a round winner and Volkanovski is. He’s going to need a big piece of offense or to dramatically increase his actual output.
Ortega is keying in on the right body kick from Volkanovski. He’s catching it almost every time and then he’s getting to land punches. Volkanovski needs to cover that with a jab or something.
Ortega has now taken the center of the cage and he lands a big leg kick that spins Volkanovski around. But the champ regains the initiative and works the body again. And a right hand. Consistent body work from Volkanovski which will pay dividends. Ortega is mostly on the jab and counter left hook game.
Ortega is also attacking on straight lines. Volkanovski is moving on angles. It’s helping him mitigate the size difference, and Ortega’s starting to show some wear on his face. And still the champion attacks the legs.
Ortega’s is losing some speed and now Volkanovski is cornering him against the fence. Volkanovski lands a big elbow but Ortega is tough as hell and just eats it. That does spark him to come forward though and now he’s got Volkanovski on the back foot. When he’s on the back, Volkanovski is working a nice jab though that is marking Ortega up.
Due respect to Ortega though, he’s wearing it but he’s staying competitive. His jab is finding a home and he’s started landing some good leg kicks. He can’t build any momentum though, and that’s the problem.
Volkanovski’s head is bleeding now and it seems like it may be a busted cauliflower ear? Don’t see a cut. Another competitive round and after the horn the two face off and have to be separated by the referee.
MMA Fighting scores the round 10-9 Volkanovski, 20-18 overall.
Ortega’s corner is straight with him between rounds and tells the challenger that Volkanovski is outpointing him.
More engagements to start the third round and Ortega is trying to force action now but Ortega is eating more shots as a result. He’s hurt! A head class was missed by Herb Dean but Ortega is on shaky legs and Volkanovski is coming forward. Ortega is trying to shake it off but he’s taking some bigger shots now and Ortega’s noose is busted open, I think from the headbutt.
Ortega appears to have cleared his head but he’s in full retreat and Volkanovski is swinging HARD. Landing some of his big shots and Ortega’s face is swollen and busted. Ortga has heart for days, that’s undeniable.
OH MY GOD! VOLKANOVSKI FALLS BACK AND ORTEGA JUMPS ON A GUILLOTINE! HE’S IN TOP MOUNT AND ORTEGA IS SQUEEZING! VOLKANOVSKI IS FLAILING HIS LEGS AND HE’S IN SO MUCH TROUBLE!!!! OH MY GOD!!!!
VOLKANOVSKI IS ABLE TO GET OUT AND A SCRAMBLE ENSUES! NOW VOLKANOVSKI IS ON TOP AND HE’S HAMMERING ORTEGA!! THIS IS INSANE!!
A TRIANGLE! ORTEGA THROWS UP A TRIANGLE AND LOCKS IT IN AND HE’S IN DEEP AGAIN! ORTEGA ROLLS HIM OVER AND THERE’S TIME. BUT THE CHAMP ESCAPES AGAIN AND NOW HE’S STANDING OVER ORTEGA AND RAINING SHOTS DOWN THIS IS FRIGGIN’ NUTS!!!!!!
THE ROUND ENDS AND I’M SCREAMING AT MY TELEVISION.
MMA Fighting scores the round 10-8 Ortega, 28-28 overall.
Ortega looks spent and I’m still not sure what sat Volkanovski down but it doesn’t matter. A doctor is checking Ortega’s eye between rounds and it looks like they’re gonna let this continue but Ortega doesn’t even understands what’s being asked of him. He’s clearly out of it right now but they’re gonna let it continue.
Volkanovski looking fresh as daisy but he’s not putting it on Ortega early on the round. He is pressuring him, but he’s not trying to put the challenger away. Insane cardio from the champion.
Pressure from the champion but Ortega has decided he doesn’t need to be conscious to fight. He’s just gonna fight and Ortega is throwing punches despite not knowing his own name. Ortega gets a clinch and a takedown! He’s immediately on a guillotine but the champion is very wise to it and now he’s in top-half, with Ortega smashed to the fence and this could be the end of it. Ortega looks exhausted and the champ is putting the pressure down now. Big punches, elbows.
Volkanovski goes to standing over him and starts the onslaught. Ortega still trying to throw up submissions from his back but he doesn’t seem to have the energy to get that done anymore and now here come the elbows. The cardio from the champion is absolutely insane. He’s increasing his output and Ortega is getting battered! VOLKANOVSKI IS LANDING BIG SHOTS AND HERB DEAN IS WATCHING CLOSELY!
Ortega rolls but Volkanovski is relentless. So much offense and Ortega is just toughing it out. One big flurry could end this! Ortega trying to tie up the champion but he can’t and Volkanovski finally decides to just go back to striking. Ortega stands up and his face is a bloody, bruised mess.
MMA Fighting scores the fight 10-8 Volkanovski, 38-37 Volkanovski overall.
Honestly, Ortega’s corner should probably throw in the towel here. There fighter looks dead on his feet. But they are trying to motivate him to a comeback. If he can do it, it would be one of the most incredible title wins ever, because Volkanovski looks like the terminator.
Actually, Volkanovski is getting mad because Herb Dean again gets a health check on Ortega and that’s just extra recovery time.
It makes zero sense that Volkanovski looks as fresh as round one but he does. This dude is unreal. And he’s marching Ortega down and picking his shots again. Big combo from Volkanovski. the champ also shucks off a takedown from Ortega who grabbed a leg but clearly doesn’t have the energy to finish one.
Elbow lands from Volkanovski inside and he’s starting to land real offense on the feet. Ortega is finding a second wind though! He’s coming forward and swinging hard. That’s real heart from the challenger. Volkanovski on the retreat now as Ortega is putting punches together but it may not be enough. Ortega landing good shots though.
Both men landing big shots now but Ortega may be getting the better of it now. Doesn’t look like it though as his face is destroyed. With one minute left it’s anyone’s round.
Exchanges and Ortega tries to surge. Volkanovski comes back with a big combo. With 10 seconds left Ortega empties the tank and he lands and the champion is on the back foot as the horn sounds.
MMA Fighting scores the round 10-9 Ortega, 47-46 Volkanovski overall.
Alexander Volkanovski defeats Brian Ortega by unanimous decision (49-46, 50-45, 50-44) in one of the very best fights this year.