Alexander Volkanovski would love to add a second title to his resume because he just closed out his rivalry against another all-time great featherweight in Max Holloway with a dominant decision win in the UFC 276 co-main event.
A close fight in the opening round gave way to a lopsided performance from Volkanovski with each passing minute as he just poured on the punishment round after round, which left Holloway a bloody mess when the final horn sounded. The judges all scored the fight 50-45, which moved Volkanovski to 3-0 against Holloway.
With that performance, Volkanovski is now looking at the lightweight division as potentially his next stop after dispatching Holloway for presumable the 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 move up and go for double champ and I’ll keep two divisions busy.
“Charles [Oliveira], whoever gets that belt, no disrespect, I’d love to move up, get that double champ status.”
It was a game of inches between the two best featherweights in the world at the start with Volkanovski loading up on a right hand and Holloway moving forward while looking to establish his volume striking attack. The difference in the early going was Volkanovski’s timing and speed as he was connecting in rhythm with a stinging left followed by a hard right behind it.
Holloway started to return the favor whenever he could draw out the exchanges, which allowed him to throw several punches in succession and that’s where he was finally starting to land on target. Despite some adversity here and there, Volkanovski was consistently connecting with more power and that forced Holloway to be wary of over extending himself.
Midway through the second round, Volkanovski unleashed a perfect timed counter right hand that caught Holloway coming forward and the result was a huge gash opened up over the Hawaiian’s left eye. The cut was in a bad spot directly over the eye as blood starting dripping down Holloway’s face.
There was understandable urgency from Holloway at the start of the third, especially dealing with such a terrible cut that could force the ringside doctor to take a deeper look at him later in the fight. The problem was the blood getting into the eye along with Volkanovski’s precision and power were a terrible combination for Holloway trying to make a comeback.
Incredibly, Volkanovski was still upping his output late in the fight as he really started to pursue Holloway with that same slick jab from the left that was always followed by a devastating right behind it. The damage was really mounting on Holloway with Volkanovski just pouring on the punishment yet still staying controlled enough that he never gave the former champion an opening to catch him.
As the seconds ticked away to the close of the fifth round, Volkanovski was still trying for the finish while Holloway’s face was just covered in blood and sweat as he saw the fight slip away.
Volkanovski had already defined himself as the best featherweight in the sport but he now holds three wins over Holloway, who previously had his own argument as one of the top 145-pound fighters in history.
Without a champion currently crowned at lightweight, Volkanovski made a compelling argument that perhaps he could be one half of whatever title fight gets made when the UFC prepares for the next championship fight in the division.