Only Jon Jones and Welterweight champion Kamaru Usman are better pound-for-pound fighters in the UFC, according to the official rankings, than Australian combatant Alexander Volkanovski.
The Featherweight champ is rated above the premier MMA promotion’s Middleweight, Light Heavyweight, and Heavyweight titleholders. It’s a metric you should always take with a pinch of salt, because we won’t see guys of different sizes take each other on very often, but this is still a huge compliment.
Volkanovski doesn’t seem to enjoy the same high-profile place in the sport outside of Down Under as those cage fighters competing in heavier weight categories. Perhaps the New South Wales native has suffered because the Lightweight division has been so compelling in recent years.
All the while, Volkanovski has quietly gone about establishing himself in the UFC, winning all nine of his bouts since signing with Dana White’s promotion and debuting in the autumn of 2016. Prior to that, he scooped minor championships at Lightweight and Welterweight besides his current divisions with MMA organisations in Australia.
If and when UFC next heads Down Under, White will surely be savvy enough to have “The Great” Volkanovski on the card again and in a more prominent place than the preliminary fights. Since last competing on home soil at UFC 221 in February 2018, Volkanovski has defeated Brazil’s Jose Aldo and delivered back-to-back victories over Max Holloway for the Featherweight title.
These exploits, as well as UFC coming over and having occasional pay-per-view events in host cities such as Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth, and Sydney, have really helped to popularise MMA in Australia. This regular exposure has also increased betting interest in combat sports in the region.
While punters here still engage with Aussie Rules football in the AFL, top-class cricket like The Ashes and Big Bash, A-League football, horse racing, rugby, and tennis, they also love a good fight. All of the leading Australian betting sites know this, and you will find the latest UFC odds on those platforms. Popular MMA bet types and markets include fight winner, method of victory, and whether the contest will go the distance.
Volkanovski, who has a pro record of 22-1 in MMA with half of those victories coming via knockout, has been the favourite to win most of the bouts inside the octagon to date. That is despite the fact that six of his last eight UFC fights have gone the distance and to the judges.
The competition since leaving Australia and competing in bouts around the world in America, Brazil, and the United Arab Emirates has been greater for Volkanovski, but the result remains the same. His only career loss has been at Welterweight.
A delayed UFC Featherweight Championship match with number two contender Brian Ortega should be the next time we see Volkanovski fight. However, he has also teased completing a trilogy of bouts with Holloway after the judges were split in their second meeting last July.
Their scorecards had very little in it between the pair. Just a point in favour of Volkanovski got him the decision, but he will want a more comprehensive victory if there is to be a third and final encounter with Holloway. That is precisely how one of the best pound-for-pound MMA fighters proves themselves.