TJ Dillashaw Believes Alexander Volkanovski Fought Scared Against Ilia Topuria

Former bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw has stated his belief that Alexander Volkanovski lost his featherweight belt against Ilia Topuria at UFC 298 on Saturday night because he was fighting in manner that suggested he was scared of his opponent.

“He was only throwing kicks. I know he was scared of the power,” Dillashaw said on the Jaxxon podcast. “You can tell the way he was fighting, he was very scared of Topuria’s power, which he should be to an extent, but he’s never fought like that in the past. The first two rounds, all he was doing was throwing kicks. He wasn’t setting them up. He was just throwing them. He was expecting Topuria to block them.

“I was thinking he was trying to slow down his arms because every time you block a kick, it’s like getting a charley horse in your arm. Every time you get hit there, more blood comes to it. It slows his arms down. So, I was thinking maybe he’s slowing down his arms by throwing kicks and getting him to block, because he wasn’t setting them up. He wasn’t throwing kicks to knock him out. You could tell because if he was trying to do that, you’d throw a combo, finish with a kick, hopefully catch him.”

Dillashaw also noticed that Volkanovski was behaving out-of-character when Topuria was pressuring him.

“Every time Topuria would get close, he’d be like backing out and leaning away. As soon as I saw that, I was like, ‘Damn, he’s going to get caught.’ He was fighting scared. He was worried about the power. I’m a huge Volk fan. I was wanting him to win. … He just kept leaning away, leaning away from everything and leaning away from the power.

“It was only a matter of time before Topuria caught him because that guy stays so tight. He’s so composed in his boxing, and his combos are great. I think that’s where it went wrong. He was scared. He was afraid of his power and fought scared. Topuria didn’t have anything to lose, Volk had all of it to lose, and he fought that way. He fought scared of his power.”

Ross launched MMA Insight (previously in 2009 as a way to channel his passion for the sport of mixed martial arts. He's since penned countless news stories and live fight reports along with dozens of feature articles as the lead writer for the site, reaching millions of fans in the process.