Alexander Volkanovski successfully defended his featherweight title over Max Holloway in the co-main event of UFC 251 on pay-per-view (PPV).
The co-main event of UFC 251 on Fight Island (read: Yas Island in Abu Dhabi) featured one of the most anticipated rematches in recent years. Max Holloway had come up short against the Australian in their first meeting. The popular Hawaiian champ had been dethroned, as shockingly as “Blessed” himself had dethroned the legendary Jose Aldo.
Alexander Volkanovski might be the future of the division — a former rugby player who walked around upwards of 200lbs, fighting as a featherweight. But he’d have to prove himself twice in the immediate rematch against Holloway. The first few minutes of the fight was very much a feeling out process, before Volkanovski began to rip off the leg kicks, tacking on some big overhands behind them. Holloway pressed forward with feints before landing a nice right hand behind it.
Volkanovski landed a right hand but Holloway continued to press forward, eating a few more leg kicks. A head kick from Holloway landed, dropped Volkanovski, and Holloway landed a nice right hand as Volkanovski stood up to end the round.
Round two began with some more leg kicks from Volkanovski, but Holloway put together a huge combination in response. Volkanovski backs up Holloway with a shot, but Holloway responds with several leg kicks. Holloway landed a nice lead hook stepping back from a Volkanovski shot. A knee to the body landed for Holloway as Volkanovski came inside. Holloway ate a left hook from Volkanovski while throwing a few more leg kicks. A nice right hand landed for Holloway down the middle.
Another nice combination connected for Holloway, who backed Volkanovski up with a spinning kick to the body. Holloway dropped Volkanovski to a knee with an uppercut but he shot back up to his feet as the round came to an end.
The third round began with a checked kick from Holloway, who responded with a few of his own. A flying knee from Holloway connected against the cage, and Volkanovski begins to circle. A body shot and hooks land for Volkanovski. A very nice lead hook landed for Volkanovski and Holloway winced a bit. A huge bulldoze from Volkanovski as he pressed Holloway up against the cage. Holloway was able to separate with a knee and hook and akes back the center of the Octagon. Volkanovski again lands a big lead hook and a few jabs behind it. The lead hook of Volkanovski started to find a home, and he later followed up with a jab that wobbled Holloway before the round came to an end.
The championship rounds began in round four with good combinations from both men on the inside. More leg kicks land for Volkanovski but Holloway fires back his own. The champion maintains pressure before both men connect with right hands. A very nice jab to the body landed for Volkanovski and Holloway connected with a hard uppercut and spinning kick to the body.
Volkanovski got the clinch and was able to get the takedown, but Holloway got right back to his feet and separated. A nice hook connected for Volkanovski, followed by a few jabs. Volkanovski went in for a single leg takedown but Holloway fended him off with punches. An overhand connected for Volkanovski, who is now starting to put together really nice shots. A right hand from Holloway followed by a head kick to end the round.
The fifth and final round opened up with some aggressiveness from Holloway, who just has a head kick blocked. A nice lead hand connected for Holloway, and he followed up with a nice combination. Volkanovski landed a nice jab and comes in for a takedown against the cage. Holloway circles out and both men connect on jabs. A nice lead hook connected for Volkanovski and both men traded head kicks. A nice hook from Volkanovski but Holloway responds with the exact same shot and lands.
Holloway gets in a nice combination but eats a jab. Both men exchange shots and Volkanovski got a nice trip takedown. Another quick recovery to the feet for Holloway, and he circles out. Volkaovski put together some nice shots and circled away a few times, but failed on a second takedown attempt. Another takedown attempt stuffed by Holloway, and Volkanovski ends the round with a trip takedown.
Official Result: Alexander Volkanovski def. Max Holloway via split decision (47-48, 48-47, 48-47)