UFC Featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski’s next title defense will be against Ilia Topuria at UFC 297 on January 20th in Toronto, Canada.
The 35-year-old Volkanovski has so far proven to be unstoppable at 145lbs, having won all 13 of his fights in the division during his 7-year run in the UFC so far.
Along the way he’s beaten a who’s who of the weight class, including holding a trio of wins over former champ Max Holloway in addition to the likes of Yair Rodriguez, The Korean Zombie, Brian Ortega, Jose Aldo and Chad Mendes, racking up five successful defenses of the 145lb belt along the way.
In fact the only fighter to ever beat Volkanovski in the Octagon is lightweight champion Islam Makhachev in their 155lb title clash, and even that unanimous decision loss was close enough that there’s still keen interest in a rematch between the two.
For now though Volkanovski is set to go up against potentially one of his biggest challenges yet at 145lbs against the 26-year-old Topuria, who may not be as well known as some of the big names he’s fought in the past yet, but his body of work so far has been undeniably impressive.
Topuria holds a perfect 14-0 record, including six wins in the UFC to date. Along the way he’s dealt with a rising level of opposition, claiming KO wins over Ryan Hall and Jai Herbert, before going on to submit Bryce Mitchell and then most recently earning a unanimous decision win over former interim-title contender Josh Emmett.
Volkanovski vs. Topuria looks set to be the headliner for the UFC’s first pay-per-view event of 2024, which will also feature another meaningful 145lb clash between Arnold Allen and Movsar Evloev.