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FIGHT CLUB | Feb 15

Alexander Volkanovski: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Volkanovski Looks to Collect His Sixth Successive Featherweight Title Defense at UFC 298

Alexander Volkanovski: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
UFC featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski/Steve Marcus/Getty Images/AFP

Closing in on FW G.O.A.T Status 🐐

“I wasn’t training, I literally drank every day, I don’t know why. I just feel stupid.” -Volkanovski

The wait is almost over. UFC 298 is two days away, and the outside dramatics leading up to the highly anticipated title bout between Alexander Volkanovski and Ilia Topuria will finally be settled inside the octagon.

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But first, before the cage festivities unravel, it’s only right that we preview ‘The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly’ of Volkanovski’s career, a fighter who is on the brink of breaking some serious UFC records that will further cement his position as one of the greatest featherweights ever.

 

Alexander Volkanovski: The Good

On November 26, 2016, a short and stocky Australian man named Alexander “The Great” Volkanovski began his UFC journey. Priced at -150 versus Yusuke Kasuya, little was known about this up-and-coming Aussie fella, but boy has he lived up to the nickname ever since, as the life and career of Volk under the world’s most recognized MMA banner has been nothing short of greatness personified.

Volk ran through Kasuya and tapped yourself on the back if you snatched -150 odds because the UFC fights involving him after said debut haven’t been so giving.

Now, seven years deep into his UFC tenure, Volkanovski is regarded as one of the pound-for-pound greats, staying undefeated at 145 pounds (13-0), behind six wins in UFC title fights and five successful title defenses.

You don’t need me to tell you how damn talented this man is; just look at these statistics:

  • Five UFC featherweight title defenses
  • Second most title fight wins in UFC featherweight history (6)
  • Second longest win streak in UFC featherweight history (11)
  • Highest striking differential in UFC featherweight history (3.03)

 

Jose Aldo, arguably the greatest featherweight in UFC history, retired from the sport, holding seven successful title defenses. Still, his record isn’t safe, with Australia’s finest sitting just two wins away from placing himself in the same G.O.A.T conversation as the King of Rio.

 

Alexander Volkanovski: The Bad

UFC news of Volkanovski’s super fight versus Islam Makhachev sent the MMA community into a frenzy. With a proven track record against some of the featherweight division elite, if anyone had the skills to become a two-division champion and dethrone the formidable Russian lightweight titleholder, it was Volk.

2023 was a tumultuous year for MMA, arguably one of the best ever, but nothing quite echoed the MMA news outlets like Volk vs. Makhachev at UFC 284.


The bout went five rounds, it eventually received Fight of the Year honors, and although the Aussie crowd was left disappointed, nobody had come that close to defeating Makhachev (Besides Adriano Martins, of course, but we’ll ignore that piece of history).


And so, the arguments began; many media members, critics, fighters, and fans alike believed the fighting pride of Australia had done enough to become a two-division champ. But the scorecards were clear, 48-47 (x2) and 49-46, all in favor of Islam.

At the time, Volkanovski’s first-ever pro career defeat was commendable; some would say ‘good’; however, looking back at the situation, it was bad, and you’ll find out why in the following segment.

 

Alexander Volkanovski: The Ugly

With an MMA career defined by consistent success, an undefeated record, and a featherweight strap that even Max Holloway couldn’t reclaim in two attempts after losing it, Volkanovski was, despite losing, started visualizing a rematch with Makhachev due to the performance he’d delivered in the first meeting.

Unfortunately, what once started as a pretty damn good account of himself, ended in an ugly reality.

After Charles Oliveria was forced out of UFC 294, Volk stepped up on short notice, as the rematch we’d all been waiting for was happening.

Desperate to rectify the loss that tainted his former unblemished record, where he’d been so close to achieving champ-champ status, Volkanovski accepted the rematch on short notice. With minimal time for preparation, it cost him dearly.

The year 2023 hadn’t just handed Volkanovski his first loss, but now he was staring in the barrel of his first-ever knockout defeat as a Makhachev head kick ended the featherweight-lightweight feud for good and put all questions to bed.


In his own words, Volk said: “I wasn’t training, I literally drank every day, I don’t know why. I just feel stupid.


The UFC’s pay-per-view comeback sets the stage for last-minute bets, featuring tight BetUS odds for the Ilia Topuria vs. Alexander Volkanovski matchup. Does the same fate await the featherweight king on Saturday night? Will Ilia Topuria emulate Makhachev’s dominant performance? Has Father Time crept up on Volkanovski? We’ll find out at UFC 298 this weekend, but either way, it’s guaranteed to deliver fireworks!

 

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