Former UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway dropped his division title to Alexander Volkanovski at UFC 245 back in late 2019, a five-round unanimous decision loss that ended a “Blessed” 14-fight winning streak at 145 pounds.
Cageside judges Mike Bell and Chris Lee both gave “Blessed” a pair of rounds on the official UFC 245 scorecards (see them here); however, judge Junichiro Kamijo had a 10-9 sweep across the board in favor of Volkanovski.
Holloway had done enough as champion to warrant an immediate rematch and when their 25-minute do-over came to a close, the Hawaiian expected to leave Yas Island in Abu Dhabi as newly-crowned champion. Instead, the UFC 251 scorecards (posted here) awarded the Aussie a split-decision victory.
Holloway (23-6) remains convinced he won both fights.
“For sure, both times,” Holloway told ESPN. “Especially the second one. Dana White, like half the UFC roster said what they said. They thought I did enough. I wasn’t there to add any more gas to the fire. It happens, you let it go and move on. We’re here now. Why cry over spilled milk? I don’t know in what world or any world that someone thinks that he did it convincingly because we’re here for a third time. We’re here for a reason and you’re gonna find out that reason on July 2nd.”
That reason could be dominant wins over Calvin Kattar and Yair Rodriguez.
It also helped that Volkanovski (24-1) cleaned out most of the division. Aside from his pair of Holloway wins, “The Great” also disposed of Brian Ortega and Chan Sung Jung in somewhat violent fashion. The only remaining contender to have not been defeated by either Volkanovski or Holloway is No. 4-ranked Josh Emmett.
A loss in the UFC 276 pay-per-view (PPV) co-main event this Sat. night (July 2) at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, which brings an end to the much-ballyhooed International Fight Week, will likely tie a ribbon around the Volkanovski-Holloway rivalry for the foreseeable future. Or maybe forever, if “The Great” is able to secure an early (and convincing) finish.
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 276 fight card right here, starting with the early ESPN+ “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard balance on ABC/ESPN+ at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+ PPV.
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