Townsville Bulletin

VOLKANOVSK­I DEFENDS HIS UFC CROWN … JUST

- ZAC RAYSON AND GADIEL NOTELOVITZ

AUSTRALIAN Alexander Volkanovsk­i walked to the cage on Sunday with a confidence of a man who probably can’t remember what it’s like to lose.

It’s been that long.

But the UFC featherwei­ght champion nearly tasted defeat — on more than one occasion — at UFC 266 against Brian Ortega.

Volkanovsk­i survived two submission attempts — a mounted guillotine, then a triangle choke — in the third round, that looked certain to end the fight, before recovering to dominate the rest of the fight.

The 32-year-old from Shellharbo­ur claimed his 20th straight win (10th straight in the UFC) via unanimous decision; ultimately outpointin­g Ortega 49-46, 50-45, 50-44.

Ortega, a fighter with a knack of finding the finish, was largely outclassed by Volkanovsk­i. But not before giving the champion a serious scare.

Volkanovsk­i, as he’s made a habit of doing, controlled the pace of the fight throughout the 25 minutes of his second title defence, which came more than a year after his first.

The main event match-up was initially scheduled for March, before Volkanovsk­i tested positive for Covid-19; forcing the UFC to reschedule the bout.

“Obviously when he got some of the submission­s, some of them were pretty tight,” Volkanovsk­i admitted. “For some reason I stayed on the ground with him.”

Volkanovsk­i added: “I feel like an idiot saying some things I did because he proved himself.”

 ?? ?? Alexander Volkanovsk­i punches Brian Ortega on the ground during their featherwei­ght title fight during UFC 266 at T-mobile Arena. Picture: Alex Bierens de Haan/getty/afp
Alexander Volkanovsk­i punches Brian Ortega on the ground during their featherwei­ght title fight during UFC 266 at T-mobile Arena. Picture: Alex Bierens de Haan/getty/afp

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