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UFC 290 Review: Volkanovski achieves featherweight supremacy

Alexander Volkanovski once again successfully defended his UFC featherweight title against Yair Rodriguez in what was a pulsating International Fight Week finale.  

The Aussie blitzed one of his most challenging opponents to date and has now rejuvenated his ambitions of becoming a double champion in the featherweight and lightweight divisions.  

What more can Volk do other than pursue this career-defining accolade? He has never lost a featherweight fight and has now successfully defended his crown five times since he dethroned Max Holloway in 2019. It’s his 11th successive featherweight victory and he is now chasing Holloway’s record for the longest winning streak in UFC history (13).  

That narrow defeat to Islam Makhachev in February is the only stain on Volkanovki’s glittering career and it’s now a case of polishing the mantlepiece in order to reach supreme greatness. 

A second date with Makhachev in Abu Dhabi is universally accepted to be next and what a fight it looks to be now. The challenge for Volkanovksi to move up to lightweight is arduous enough; let alone the fact that the reigning champion is one of the finest fighters we’ve ever seen. 

The task at hand is utterly bonkers to even comprehend, but if there’s any man who has a chance at achieving this absurd accolade, it’s Alexander Volkanovski.  

What about Yair Rodriguez then? The man tipped to finally derail Volkanovski’s rampant run turned out to be another piece of debris in the champion’s demolition of the division. Take nothing away from Rodriguez. He’s an exceptional fighter that was beaten by a freak of nature. 

There were times during the fight when Rodriguez looked like he could hurt Volk with his renowned string of frenzied combos, but the preparation and gameplan from the defending champion was on point- with his seven takedowns and over seven-minute control time restricting Rodriguez from teeing off with strikes.  

Dana White labelled the bout as ‘total domination’ but despite this damning synopsis of the fight, Rodriguez’s stock of course remains intact. 

With the rise of Ilia Topuria, Rodriguez will certainly have been earmarked for a potential matchup to test the credentials of the flying Georgian.  

However, the Mexican will not fancy becoming a gatekeeper for the featherweight division and will look to make a swift return to challenging for titles once the waiting pack are attended to.  

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