Alex Volkanovski retained his featherweight title by the narrowest of margins tonight at UFC 251 with a split decision victory over Max Holloway.
The co-main event featherweight title rematch is underway on Fight Island!
Holloway takes the center of the Octagon to start and avoids an early leg kick. Hooks threatening from Volkanovski as the former champ comes into range.
Cautious start from both men here as they circle around each other. Leg kick for Volkanovski. Front kick to the body from Holloway. Another leg kick for Volkanovski.
Left hand from Holloway, but comes off the guard of Volkanovski. Front kick to the body from Holloway. Volkanovski with a hard leg kick.
Nicely timed uppercut from Holloway as Volkanovski moves forward. Inside leg kicks from Volkanovski. He moves in and lands a left hand. Another punch lands for him.
Right hand gets through for Volkanovski. Nice right hand from Holloway loway seems to dip Volkanovski’s legs for a moment. Holloway acknowledges that he saw it as he ducks down himself to mimic it.
An exchange and Volkanovski lands a nice right hand. Body kick for Holloway. Nice swift spinning kick to the body from Holloway. Now a high kick from the former champ and it connects and puts Volkanovski down for a brief moment, but he gets back up and eats a hook. Good end to the round for him.
Head kick attempt from Volkanovski comes up short. He misses with a leg kick now. However, he finally lands two inside leg kicks in a row.
Now a leg kick from Holloway. Punch for Volkanovski, but then Holloway responds with a sharp flurry of strikes. Nice work.
Left hand to the chin from Holloway. Inside leg kick for him. Again Volkanovski is short with a kick of his own. Glancing punch from the champ.
Inside leg kick for Volkanovski, but a kick in return from Holloway and then another. Again he lands to the inside of Volkanovski’s leg.
Volkanovski with an inside leg kick. Jab for Holloway and then a head kick attempt that doesn’t pay off. Inside leg kick again though. And another.
Left hand for Volkanovski. Inside leg kick for him. Hard knee to the body from Holloway. Kick off the arm from him.
Body kick again from Holloway and Volkanovski presses forward punching afterwards. Left hook for Volkanovski lands cleanly.
Head kick attempt from Holloway is blocked. Straight right gets through. Body kick from Volkanovski. Volkanovski utilizing head movement, but almost eats a kick in the process.
Volkanovski looking to be more urgent, but late in the round he gets caught with an uppercut and goes down to his knees and gets straight back up again.
Inside leg kick for Volkanovski. One in return from Holloway. Another leg kick from Volkanovski. Double kick from Volkanovski. Body kick attempt from Holloway.
Another inside leg kick for Volkanovski. Holloway with one of his own. Jumping knee from Holloway upstairs.
Left hand from Volkanovski, leg kick for Holloway. Leg kick again for the Hawaiian. Good left hand for Volkanovski.
Inside leg kick for Holloway. Big attempt at a takedown from Volkanovski, but Holloway’s takedown defense is strong on this occasion and he has to settle for clinching against the cage.
Holloway able to press forward and land a knee before getting out of the clinch position.
left hand for Volkanovski gets through. Nice jab from Holloway. Jab for Volkanovski too. Inside leg kick from Volkanovski.
Head kick attempt from Holloway is blocked. Uppercut attempt from Holloway. He tries upstairs with a kick again. Leg kick for Volkanovski.
jab for the champion. A left hand gets through for him during a short flurry towards the end of the round.
That inside leg kick from Volkanovski. Spinning kick to the body from Holloway doesn’t quite land. Exchange of punches in close.
Two hard leg kicks inside from Volkanovski and one from Holloway. Another leg kick for Volkanovski. Inside leg kick from Volkanovski and a punch upstairs.
Punch from Volkanovski and Holloway overextends on his counter. Double leg kick from Volkanovski and Holloway gives him one back.
Holloway tries to time a jumping knee upstairs, but only narrowly misses. Leg kick for Volkanovski and one for Holloway.
Body punch from Volkanovski. Good uppercut from Holloway and Volkanovski backs up for a second, then starts coming forward again.
Inside leg kick from Volkanovski and then into the clinch and lands a takedown. Almost into mount, but Holloway stands up and is back to striking range.
Back to the inside leg kick for Volkanovski. Head kick attempt from Holloway. Jab for Volkanovski. Leg kick from Volkanovski knocks Holloway off-balance for a moment.
Nice punch for Holloway. Volkanovski connects well. Double jab from Holloway, a knee and then a right hand. Capoeira kick attempt from Holloway to end the round.
Kickoff the upper arm from Holloway. Volkanovski with a jab. Nice flurry of left hands from Holloway. Kick off the guard from him too.
Inside leg kick from Holloway and Volkanovski looks to return fire. Volkanovski gets into the clinch, but Holloway is soon away again.
Again Volkanovski trying for a takedown, but it’s stuffed. Good strike from Volkanovski. left hand for the champ, but can’t land the right behind it.
Short flurry of punches and a kick to the body from Holloway. Punches exchanged upstairs. Leg kick for Volkanovski. Right hand from Volkanovski. One-two for Holloway. Volkanovski connects again.
Volkanovski with a trip takedown. Holloway does well to get up quickly against the cage though.
Back to striking range and Volkanovski landed a punch on thhe way out of teh clinch there. left hand grazes the target from the champion.
Volkanovski trying for another takedown, but Holloway stays up. left for Volkanovski, but can’t get the right.
Another stuffed takedown attempt from Volkanovski. Flying knee from Holloway misses the target. Volkanovski clinching up in the final 10 seconds and gets a late takedown.
Close fight then, with Holloway appearing to be the slicker striker and momentarily dropping Volkanovski in both the first and second round, but there was never much to choose between the two and in the final round some important takedowns for the champion, which was enough in two of the judges eyes to earn him a split decision victory (49-48 x2, 48-49).