Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Featherweight rivals, Alexander Volkanovski and Max Holloway, collided for a third — and likely final — time tonight (Sat., July 2, 2022) at UFC 276, which took place inside T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Volkanovski and Holloway are far and away the two best 145-pound fighters of their era, having already fought twice and delivering a pair of incredibly close contests. Most would agree with the judges who awarded Volkanovski the victory in their first meeting, but a similarly high percentage of viewers believe Holloway did enough to even the score last time out.
Whatever your personal scorecard, the trilogy was super necessary and a fantastic match up between two undeniably great Featherweights, both of who are destined for UFC’s Hall of Fame. Having said all of that, a winner needed to be crowned, and once the dust settled, it was Volkanovski running circles around the Hawaiian en route to a dominant decision win.
Both fighters touched gloves and the 51st minute of caged combat was underway. Max started out with the pressure, launching a low kick as the pair tried to size up each other. Volkanovski pawing with his left hand as Max goes to work on the lower half. Volkanovski just missed with an uppercut, smiling as if to tell Max he was lucky. Jab and overhand right combination from Volkanovski, with max ducking the last shot expertly. Body kick from Max along the cage, with Volkanovski responding with a straight right hand to the temple. Low kicks from Max, with Volkanovski continuing to score upstairs. Another right hand from Volkanovski as max tries to cut off the cage with a high kick. Left hook from Volkanovski, followed by a right hand as he tries a Muay Thai clinch. Hard left hand, then a right that stunned Max. Right to the body for Volkanovski, who’s piling up the damage with one minute remaining. Max responds with a nice overhand right moments later, then another as the action really starts to heat up. Solid round for Volkanovski.
Corner worked on Max’s right eye between rounds, but nothing serious ... yet. Max was undeterred, coming out looking for a fight. Volkanovski answered with speed and precision, followed by a hard low kick — he was firing on all cylinders early. Left jab from Volkanovski was keeping Max at bay, with the pair locking up moments later. Hard elbow from Volkanovski landed during the clinch, with Max eventually spinning out of danger. Hard right hand from Volkanovski, which opened up a bad cut on Holloway, who was having a real hard time seeing afterward. But, he kept on pressing, launching a high kick that missed. Volkanovski trying to paint the cut with his jab down the stretch, with Max landing a hook and a high kick as the round started to wind down. Jab-cross from Volkanovski, then a short left as the seconds melted off the clock. Once again, another solid round for Volkanovski.
The cut was on the inside of the left eye near the bridge of the nose of Max, truly a terrible spot. But the cutman did some nice work and the pair was off for round three. They trade hard straight hands to start, with Volkanovski seemingly loading up on his jab to target that cut. Inside low kicks from Max aas he tried to bully himself inside, but Volkanovski was just too slick, sliding out to the side and setting up shop elsewhere behind his jab. Volkanovski with a hard one-two combination as the pair once again begin to trade gratuitously in the center of the Octagon. Max flew in with a knee, which Volkanovski used to turn him into the cage. They jockeyed for position along the fence, a rare break in the frenetic action, with Volkanovski scoring with a jab and then a hard right hand on the break. Big right hand from Volkanovski as Max attempted a kick. Nice combination from Volkanovski with 30 seconds to go, with Max landing a hard right hand at the buzzer. And, once again, another solid round for Volkanovski.
Headed to the championship rounds, Max was busted up and bleeding. And it seemed like he was down on the judges scorecards ... and Volkanovski — the wild animal that he is — was not about to slow down. In fact, he landed a right hand-knee combination early, continuing to push forward despite the damage he has sustained. Nice kicks from Max, while Volkanovski appears to be coasting a bit, perhaps saving a little something extra for the fifth and final frame. Volkanovski started to pick up his pace around the two-minute mark, landing some serious power shots that were just glued to Max’s face. Nice spinning back kick to the body from Max down the stretch ... a much better round for him for sure.
In the end, though, Volkanovski was just too accurate, too fast and too strong for the Hawaiian legend. His corner informed him that he required a finish to avoid losing all three bouts in the trilogy, but it never came despite his best efforts. He was game, as always, but Volkanovski is simply his mixed martial arts (MMA) Kryptonite.
It took 75 minutes of time inside the cage and countless hours outside of it training, with Volkanovski finally leaving no doubt in his historic trilogy with Holloway that he is the true champion of the division ... and perhaps the “Greatest of All Time.”
Final result: Volkanovski def. Holloway via unanimous decision — HIGHLIGHTS!
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