Alexander Volkanovski retains his title; defeats Max Holloway by split decision

Alexander Volkanovski (left) and Max Holloway (right) exchange punches at UFC 251.

Alexander Volkanovski vs Max Holloway 3 set for UFC 272 in March

After two very close and entertaining fights, the long-awaited trilogy fight between UFC featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski and former champion Max Holloway has been set. ESPN’s Brett Okamoto was first to report that Volkanovski and Holloway will have their third meeting inside the Octagon at UFC 272 in March.

Back at UFC 245 in 2019, Volkanovski de-throned Holloway for the title, defeating him by a unanimous decision that was close enough it called for an immediate rematch. That immediate rematch would be even closer than the first meeting between the two, with Volkanovski defeating Holloway by split decision at UFC 251. After his two consecutive victories over Holloway, the champion would go on to defend his title for a second time, defeating Brian Ortega by unanimous decision at UFC 266 this past September.

Alexander Volkanovski has yet to taste defeat during his UFC tenure, having gone 10-0 so far, while his professional MMA record currently stands at 22-1. Outside of his title defenses, “The Great” has defeated the likes of former champion Jose Aldo, former title challenger Chad Mendes, and respected veteran Darren Elkins.

Following his two consecutive losses to Volkanovski, Max Holloway went back to the gym, improved, and faced top contenders in the division rather than just wait around for the trilogy fight. Holloway would go on to put on two incredibly impressive and dominant performances which resulted in a two-fight winning streak over Calvin Kattar and Yair Rodriguez, both fights were won by unanimous decision.

Before losing the title, Holloway was considered among the best ever featherweight fighters to compete in the division, holding the interim title in 2016, becoming the undisputed champion in 2017, and holding the belt until his losses to Volkanovski. During his championship tenure, Holloway also attempted to become the interim lightweight champion but came up short in his bid against Dustin Poirier.

It is rare for a trilogy fight to be made when one fighter has lost both fights in the first two meetings, but with both fights coming down to judges’ decision and some calls that Holloway actually won one, or both, of the two meetings, this is an incredibly important trilogy for the featherweight division. It’ll be interesting to see how the trilogy plays out, and if Alexander Volkanovski can put the challenge of Max Holloway away for good.

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