The current UFC featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski and former 145-pound titleholder Max Holloway fought twice. Both bouts went the full distance. Both bouts ended in favor of the Australian mixed martial artist, who first dethroned former champion from the US, and then successfully defended his belt in an immediate rematch.
The first fight, that took place in Las Vegas last December, ended in favor of Volkanovski, who became a new titleholder by unanimous decision (48-47, 48-47, 50-45). The verdict of rematch, held on “Fight Island” earlier this month, heard a split decision in favor of the champion. Two judges gave it 48-47 for Volkanovski, while one judge scored it 48-47 for Holloway (watch highlights here).
Some opined that the result of their most recent encounter saw “bad judging”. The rest of top athletes featured on the featherweight roster appear busy in the foreseeable future or have recently competed. As a result Volkanovski vs Holloway 3 seems possible.
“Well, here’s the thing,” UFC President Dana White said in a recent interview with ESPN when asked about Max Holloway’s next move. “Calvin Kattar just fought. Yair Rodriguez has a fight coming up. ‘[Korean] Zombie’ has a fight coming up. Ortega and Zabit – all of these guys are going to fight in the next couple of months here. We’ll see how that all plays out.”
“It’s hard to not say we can give Max a rematch for that fight [against Volkanovski] again – do it a third time. I think all of the fans and the media would agree with that. I don’t know for sure.”
To date the pair has shared as many as 50 minutes inside the Octagon. If the third five-round championship bout goes ahead, it will be another chance for Holloway, who was victor on one of the judge’s scorecards, to regain the belt. For Volkanovski, who has already recorded two wins, the fight probably makes no much sense, except of an opportunity to convince all of the judges and fans in his supremacy.
“I don’t know for sure. I’m sure Volkanovski doesn’t love that idea,” White said. “He’s like, ‘Listen, I just beat this guy twice. You know?’ And if you’re Volkanovski, you’re like, ‘Guess what? The media aren’t judges. Dana White is not a judge. None of these people are judges. The people that are assigned to judge the fight say I won twice.’
“So if you’re Volkanovski, I get it. And if you’re Volkanovski, you probably want to take a look at a different guy. I don’t know. I haven’t really talked to Volkanovski about it. It’s something I definitely need to do. We’ll see how this thing plays out.”
Following the results of UFC 251, Alexander Volkanovski (22-1) updated his streak to 19 straight victories. Max Holloway (21-6) recorded the second defeat in a row.