Unbelievable! Volkanovski secures Featherweight Championship in an epic showdown against Rodriguez at UFC 290 – NBC Los Angeles
Alexander Volkanovski won the featherweight championship at UFC 290 in a fierce battle against Yair Ródriguez. The highly anticipated match took place at the heart of Los Angeles. It was attended by a large crowd, and millions of fans around the world. Both fighters are known for their impressive skills and explosive styles, so the match was sure to be an exciting display of mixed martial art brilliance.
Volkanovski was the champion and displayed his usual ferocity throughout the match. By using his superior wrestling skills, he was able to dominate Rodriguez. This prevented him from showcasing his striking prowess. Volkanovski, despite Rodriguez’s talent and heart as a fighter, was able to overcome him with his relentless pressure and superior ground control. Volkanovski’s grit, composure and a show of pure determination secured him a unanimous decision win, cementing his position as one of UFC’s greatest featherweight champions.
Alexander Volkanovski reaffirmed his featherweight title with a 4:19 technical knockout of Yair Rodrigo in the third-round at UFC 290.
Rodriguez was the interim champ after Volkanovski moved temporarily up to lightweight. However, the Australian made no doubts about his superiority by extending his record to 26-2 in a scheduled five-round fight.
“There was a bit of fear … knowing how dangerous he was,” Volkanovski said. “That’s the honest truth. I put in my head. This week, I flipped the switch because of the respect I have for him. Now I’m a champion. I’m the king of the division. No one’s ever stopped me.”
The former president Donald Trump was in attendance. He is running for the Republican nomination 2024. He entered the venue just before the main event began. Walking next to UFC president Dana White, he drew roars from T-Mobile Arena’s crowd. Maxx Crosby sat directly behind Trump and was a huge UFC fan. Trump also shook Maxx’s hand. Jamal Murray, the NBA champion Denver Nuggets, also had a seat on the floor.
Volkanovski is a favorite at minus-390 according to FanDuel Sportsbook, took Rodriguez (16-4), near the 2 minute mark of the round and kept it there to dictate pace. The second round was played out in a similar fashion, with Volkanovski (34), also firing several shots at Rodriguez’s face.
In the third round, Rodriguez, a Mexican, took on Volkanovski, stopping the ground-and-pound by a series kicks. This put Volkanovski on defense. Volkanovski then knocked Rodriguez down to the mat with just a minute left and began pounding him with right and left punches.
Volkanovski was fighting for the first since he lost by unanimous decision in a lightweight championship bout to Islam Makhachev, on February 11. This ended Volkanovski’s 22-fight streak of victories. He then briefly moved up to lightweight before dropping back to featherweight in this fight.
Volkanovski won five featherweight title fights before moving up to the welterweight division. This made him a contender for the best featherweight fighter of all time. Volkanovski has also been in the running for the top pound-for -pound fighter of the current generation. He is second to Jon Jones in the official UFC rankings.
“I’m really coming for all the records,” Volkanovski said. “I’m pretty close to knocking a few of those of, but a lot of goals ahead. I might be in this position right now, but I guarantee I’ll be in the gym next week busting my ass again.”
The Volkanovski-Rodriguez match highlighted the International Fight Week card that included a second championship bout.
Alexandre Pantoja, a Brazilian, won the flyweight title by defeating the Mexican champion Brandon Moreno. The fight was decided by a split-decision, and both fighters were taken into hospital. The judges Derek Cleary, Junichiro Kamijo and Ben Cartlidge gave Pantoja a 48-47 win in the five round fight. However, Ben Cartlidge scored the bout 49-46 in favor of Moreno.
Pantoja (26-5), who was seated, collapsed on the floor after the announcement of the decision. In all three encounters, he has defeated Moreno (21-27-2).
“I worked so hard,” Pantoja said. “I left everything I had.”
Moreno was a minus 196 favorite and dominated the second, but struggled to defend Pantoja’s aggressive ground game in the remaining four rounds. The battle was fairly evenly matched for the most part. However, the blood on the faces of both fighters showed how hard they fought each other.
Moreno was awarded the belt almost a year before and successfully defended in January.
Robbie Lawler was inducted into UFC Hall of Fame Thursday. He is retiring on a high after knocking Niko Price out of the first round of the welterweight fight.
Lawler’s career ends with a record of 30-16 and one no-contest. After the fight, he cried as a video was played in his honor. The crowd also chanted his name.
“It was a hard training camp,” Lawler said. “Nothing felt good. Today was the first day I felt good.”