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Volkanovski Defends UFC Title Against Ortega

Volkanovski Defends UFC Title Against Ortega

September 26, (THEWILL) – On Saturday night, at the main event of UFC 266 in Las Vegas, Alexander Volkanovski successfully defended his UFC featherweight title against Brian Ortega with a unanimous decision.

Though the final scorecards looked like a convincing win for the champion, his margin for error was razor-thin as he consistently had to survive tight choke attempts by the challenger in a wildly entertaining five-round fight.

In an identical strike stats first round, both men had their moments. Volkanovski was a little more efficient, moving in and out and establishing his leg and body kicks as a threat. However, the challenger utilised his length by putting his jab to good work and disrupting the champion’s rhythm.

Volkanovski and Ortega turned up the heat in Round 2, going from a feeling out phase to actually throwing heavy strikes. Volkanovski, more often than not, was the aggressor, backing Ortega to the fence on multiple occasions and landing significant strikes.

Things got wild from that moment as the fight hit an all-new level of exchanges. The champ opened the round with considerable momentum when Ortega did what he does best—jump on a choke, sinking in a deep guillotine choke that Volkanovski escaped from.

Volkanovski used that chance to take the top position and was once again in control. However, the resilient Ortega struck again with a triangle choke attempt that put Volkanovski in jeopardy, only for him to once more wriggle out and finish the round strong again.

There was another tense guillotine attempt in the fourth round, but Volkanovski recognised it quickly enough to escape and almost knocked off Ortega to finish the fight with ground strikes and heavy shots.

By the fifth round, a battered Ortega was simply hanging. He landed a right hand that appeared heavy, but the round was more of a coronation round for the champion.

Volkanovski’s rise to championship status has been incredible to watch, but the win over Ortega adds even more legitimacy to his reign. After taking the belt from Max Holloway and narrowly defeating him via split decision in his first title defense, this is the first time he has fought someone other than the Hawaiian since May 2019.