UFC 266: Alexander Volkanovski shows off championship and defense in main event win over Brian Ortega

alexander volkanovski, ufc 266
Sep 25, 2021; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; Alexander Volkanovski reacts following his victory and title defense against Brian Ortega during UFC 266 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

UFC featherweight king Alexander Volkanovski earned a twentieth straight win and defended his title for a second time with a unanimous decision win over Brian Ortega at UFC 266.

Volkanovski showcased an elite-level offensive and defensive game beating Ortega over five rounds, going away.

In the first two rounds, “T-City” put forth a solid showing in going toe-to-toe with the champ in a striking battle. However, throughout the first 10 minutes, the Australian seemed the more technical striker. Offering a top-to-bottom attack with variety and used a lot of feints to keep the American off balance.

Alexander Volkanovski beats Brian Ortega at UFC 266

In the third, Volkanovski’s lead seemed to be pretty clear and luck didn’t look like it was on Ortega’s side until an exchange led to Volkanovksi falling to the mat, and the 30-year-old pounced on the opportunity. Ortega locked in a guillotine from full-mount, and the hold seemed like it could end the fight and hand the challenger his first UFC title, but the champion was patient, defended, and was able to get to top control.

However, after a barrage of ground-and-pound Ortega attempted a triangle choke that also seemed like it could end the fight. But again, the champion showed why he is a pound-for-pound talent in all facets of the game as he held his ground and escaped the hold.

In the fourth, the damage from the fight was showing in Ortega’s face and in his energy level, yet he still attempted to offer up some submissions, but Volkanovski was up to the task at every turn. The fifth and final round was Ortega’s best as he pushed forward and landed some big strikes on his opponent, but by then it was too late as the pair had a wild exchange of punches to end an entertaining championship fight.

The victory moves “The Great” to 23-1 overall and it was another display of why he is one of the very best fighters on the planet. If not for the likes of Kamaru Usman, Jon Jones, and Israel Adesanya, he would be viewed as the best fighter on the planet. The winner of the planned matchup between Yair Rodriguez and Max Holloway is likely the next challenger to the champ.

In his second championship loss, Ortega once again showed a great deal of heart, but he still remains just below the top tier of the division, as he falls to 16-1 overall.

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