World stunned by Aussie’s UFC ‘upset’
Alexander Volkanovski has risen to the top of the UFC featherweight tree to become the first ever Australian-born UFC world champion after defeating Max Holloway in a unanimous decision at UFC 245 in Las Vegas.
He left the world stunned as he claimed his eighth straight win since joining the UFC after entering the fight as a massive underdog to the popular Holloway.
The 31-year-old from the NSW South Coast ended Hawaii featherweight champion Max Holloway to snatch the belt and end his 13-fight winning streak at featherweight, leaving the champion with no titles to his name.
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The featherweight champion also holds the most wins at featherweight with 16.
Volkanovski is the first Australian UFC-born champion. He won by unanimous decision. First Holloway lost within the decision since Connor McGregor ‘13 https://t.co/fqtuvswmrh— Clevis Murray (@ClevisMurray) December 15, 2019
But Volkanovski is leaving Las Vegas with the title to hand Australia its second champion behind former middleweight belt-holder Robert Whittaker, who's rein ended at UFC 243 to Israel Adesanya.
It makes Volkanovski the fourth undisputed UFC featherweight champion behind Holloway, Connor McGregor and Jose Aldo, who the Aussie defeated in his last victory.
Volkanovski delivered a flawless victory that blunted and frustrated everything featherweight icon Holloway could throw at him with the judges scoring the fight 48-47, 48-47 and 50-45.
Volkanovski was nothing but respectful to Holloway after the judges' scorecards were announced - but he also put the world on notice that he plans to hang onto the belt.
"So I've taken out two GOATs back-to-back," Volkanovski said afterwards.
"And now I'm going to be champion for a long time.
"This division's had great champions, now I'm the champion and I'm going to be champion for a long, long time."
Walking out of the stadium, Volkanovski made a point to say: "I said it from day one, mate. You know it. I was going to take that belt."
It's the confidence that's put the belt around his waist and appears to be similar to his gym-mate Adesanya, who celebrated with Volkanovski after the win.
Israel Adesanya looks happier for Alexander Volkanovski than he did for himself when he won the UFC strap. #UFC245— Ben Kiely (@TheJivemaster) December 15, 2019
All hail City Kickboxing. Now the home of two UFC champions in Alexander Volkanovski and Israel Adesanya. #UFC245— Michael Stets (@Michael_Stets) December 15, 2019
Adesanya had been screaming advice throughout the fight as well.
According to ESPN stats, Volkanovski dominated the contest to land 172 strikes to Holloway's 103.
One of Volkanovski's strong points is his ability with the leg kicks, with Volkanovski delivering a withering attack on Holloway.
He broke the record the most leg strikes ever delivered in a UFC featherweight fight, before his hands did the talking to dig holes in Holloway's technique in the fourth and fifth rounds.
It comes after his defeat of Jose Aldo and TSN UFC reporter Aaron Bronsteter revealed how the Aussie has been able to wear down his opponents.
Leg kicks landed by Jose Aldo in his UFC career: 93— Aaron Bronsteter (@aaronbronsteter) December 15, 2019
Leg kicks landed by Alexander Volkanovski against Aldo/Holloway (unofficially): 122
"Max Holloway's right leg is toast," UFC commentator Joe Rogan said of the leg kicks.
"This is very unusual. And now he's getting the other one chewed up."
Volkanovski continued to attack the leg in the third round and it paid off when he stunned Holloway with the left hand hook late in the round.
ESPN reported after the first three rounds that Holloway had already suffered a record 46 strikes to his legs.
The 46 leg kicks broke the previous record for most leg strikes absorbed in the featherweight division - a record previously owned by Cub Swanson.
In the fourth round Volkanovski inflicted the most strikes that Holloway has suffered in his featherweight career.
Holloway landed some shots in the fifth round, but Volkanovski answered, including one powerful elbow to Holloway's temple as they wrestled on their feet.
While attention has turned to who is next for Volkanovski after his impressive upset, the world wants the Aussie and Holloway to throw hands again in a rematch.
Regardless, I can’t hate, as Volkanovski is definitely one of the good guys. Good on him and hope to see these two run it back again. City Kickboxing has two champions in 2019.— Dan Tom (@DanTomMMA) December 15, 2019
Alexander the Great, now on the throne. #UFC245
Head up @BlessedMMA you are still the man and that was a great fight. Super close!!! I thought it was hard to call and I’d def buy a rematch!— Chris Camozzi (@ChrisCamozzi) December 15, 2019
Max Holloway always classy in defeat. Wouldn't mind a rematch with him and Alexander Volkanovski. #UFC245— Mike Bohn (@MikeBohnMMA) December 15, 2019
As the world's new Aussie champion was crowned, Holloway still had plenty of support, especially from UFC stars from around the world.
Volkanovski was excellent, perfect execution.— Niall McGrath (@niallmcgrath4) December 15, 2019
What a result, well done Alexander volkanovski 🍾👍 UFC245— Scott Pendlebury (@SP_10) December 15, 2019
Keep your head up champ @BlessedMMA Hawaii we’re gonna get this one back I promise— Dan Ige (@Dynamitedan808) December 15, 2019
I thought Max would be superior on the Striking, but Volkanovski surprised me 👏🏻— Augusto Tanquinho (@tanquinhojj) December 15, 2019
Volkanovski looked wildy impressive. His cardio was a huge suprise. Another Aussie champ!! #UFC245— matthew dunn (@mattydunn11) December 15, 2019