Las Vegas (AP) —Alexander Volkanovski has already defeated Max Holloway twice in the UFC featherweight title battle, but that wasn’t enough to resolve this rivalry.
This is a measure of the excitement generated by the first two matches between these two blitz strikers. This is also a sport-wide respect for Volkanovski, an Australian with 21 consecutive victories, and Hollowway, a former Hawaiian 145-pound champion.
In addition to being excellent fighters, they are two men who are popular in sports with some unpleasant characters.
Volkanovski and Hollowway return to UFC 276 at the T-Mobile Arena on the Las Vegas Strip on Saturday night, each hoping to complete the trilogy with a statement victory.
“It’s a legacy battle,” Hollowway said. “We are at the top of Pound for Pound. These battles don’t happen very often. People call us the main event of this card, and it’s about how good this battle is. I’m talking a lot. “
The biggest event in the summer mixed martial arts promotion is found by Israel Adesanya’s fifth middleweight title defense against Jared Cannonier. UFC’s normally stacked July 4th weekend card also includes the return of Brazilian kickboxing star Alex Pereira against middleweight candidate Sean Strickland and Robbie Lawler, Sean O’Malley, Jim Miller and Uriah Hall. It contains.
However, the most compelling match is Volkanovski (24-1) and Hollowway (23-6), who will take the featherweight belt with constant tactical performance from 2016 to December 2019. I was holding a featherweight belt until. Hollowway lost to Volkanovski for the second time in Abu Dhabi in July 2020.
Many rivals do not stretch into three battles when the first two games are not split, but this is not a regular rival. Volkanovski has defended his belt twice since his second match against Hollowway. Meanwhile, Hollowway stayed in the lead to regain the belt, pointing to Calvin Katal and Yair Rodriguez in a pair of thrillers.
“It’s the biggest fight I can do right now,” Volkanovski said. “Everyone wants to see it, and that’s it. I give him credit. He was stubborn. He said,” Everyone wants to be the number one candidate from me. I won’t take it away. ” He stood there, took everyone out and didn’t let them shoot me, and now he’s shot. Good for him. That’s exactly what I do in the same situation. “
Hollowway and Volkanovski exchange jabs verbally like any other top candidate, but there is a clear respect between the two best featherweights in UFC history, not named Jose Aldo. Hollowway is grateful for his second defeat, making no one think he agreed to the decision to land the champion in each of the first three rounds and then fought in the tenacious fifth round. ..
“From the first battle to the second, I’m two different fighters, and this will be different fighters again,” Hollowway said. “I had to spend 50 minutes with this guy and 10 rounds with this guy. This will be blessed when we exceed 3 rounds.”
Hollowway’s formidable chin made him stand upright against Volkanovski’s power, but Hollowway absorbed a tremendous amount of cumulative damage in the 25 fights of the first decade at the UFC. Volkanovski believes that this rivalry can be broken by becoming the first opponent to register a Hollowway knockdown.
“If you can take your chin out, it’s really sending a statement, because no one is doing it,” Volkanovski said. “He takes damage. It can’t hold up forever, but I’m going to land some big guys, so let’s see if it holds up in this battle. Its legendary chin Let’s see if it holds up. “
Volkanovski and Adesanya are teammates of City Kickboxing in Auckland, New Zealand, and Adesanya (22-1) has grown from a kickboxing star to an MMA champion.
He is very popular in defeating Cannonier (15-5), who won his first UFC title at the age of 38. Cannonier has won five victories and one minor defeat over the past four years, with Robert Whittaker as the former champion.
Adesanya has been talking about Cannonier as a future opponent for years and hopes to extend the title’s reign at the UFC276 main event.
“I recognize his fighting spirit and his essence because I sympathize with them myself,” Adesanya said. “I can feel the energy from great guys and great fighters. I like to take care of these guys, and I saw it early in him I tried to boost him early on. He wasn’t enough and then came back to prove his value as the next candidate. “
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