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FIGHT CLUB | Feb 19

UFC 298: Topuria Makes History and Flattens Volkanovski

The Georgian-Spaniard Became Just the 5th Champion in UFC’s Featherweight Division

UFC 298: Topuria Makes History and Flattens Volkanovski
Alexander Volkanovski of Australia | Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images/AFP

El Matador 🥊

The combined record of those male greybeard champions is now 0-15 after Volkanovski’s loss to Topuria.

In breaking UFC news, Ilia Topuria showed the world why he’s the most dangerous man at 145 pounds when he stopped the legendary champion, Alexander Volkanovski, at 3:32 of the second round.

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And New….

We often see championship fights that don’t live up to the hype but such was not the case on Saturday night when Ilia Topuria stepped inside the Octagon to do battle with Alexander Volkanovski for the featherweight title. UFC rumors had been swirling about this match being made and, finally, the most highly anticipated fight of the year had arrived, unfortunately, the end came too suddenly for the champion.

I’d like to say this was a barnburner from start to finish but the first round was a matchup of two violent tacticians, prowling the cage, looking for openings, and unleashing in short, explosive spurts. Topuria focused on kicking Volkanovski’s lead leg, causing him to change stances throughout while countering with a few of his own.

It was a close round with a case being made for Volkanovski as the busier of the two fighters but Topuria had more significant strikes. The round ended 10-9, flip a coin, and you’ll be right either way.

But the second round saw Volkanovski’s stats rise and take a more active role while the challenger patiently stalked him, a tightly wound coil begging to spring to life. It would be under two minutes in the second round when all that potential energy morphed into a furious explosion of kinetic combustibility.

It manifested in a laser-locked left jab followed by a pair of punishing right crosses delivered by the challenger that sent the champ crashing to the canvas, spelling the end of Volkanovski’s 1500-day reign of terror as king of the featherweight division.

Young Man’s Game

The clock strikes midnight for NFL running backs when they turn 30 and the same can be said of UFC champions, 35 and older, at lightweight or under, defending their titles against younger opponents. The combined record of those male greybeard champions is now 0-15 after Volkanovski’s loss to Topuria.

We should also consider that although Volkanovski ruled supreme at 145 for over four years, he is now just 1-3 over his last four fights with two of those losses coming to lightweight king, Islam Makhachev, as Volkanovski repeatedly tried to make a bid at 155 to become a two-division champ. However, Alexander the Great lost in a unanimous decision the first time around while getting starched in the opening round of their rematch in October.

Fighting is a young man’s game, the wear and tear on older fighters often comes slowly until one punch, kick, knee, or elbow interrupts all those fast-twitch muscles and the body can no longer do what the heart and mind desires.

Alexander Volkanovski, 35, lost to a 27-year-old dynamo on Saturday night. Although he will likely clamor for a rematch, he may want to consider the three losses in his last four UFC fights and bow out gracefully before another young gun gets his turn to polish his resume at the expense of the former champ.

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