Expert Analysis

Alexander Volkanovski’s Keys To Victory – Video Analysis

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Alexander Volkanovski is set to defend his featherweight strap at UFC 273 against the Korean Zombie, Chan Sung Jung. Volkanovski was originally scheduled to fight former foe and the former champion, Max Holloway, however, Jung stepped in to fill in for the UFC 273 main event. Holding a record of 23-1, the champ has looked near flawless thus far. At 10-0 in the UFC, racking up three title fights, ‘The Great’ has an extremely well-rounded game. He takes on the always exciting, always game, ‘Korean Zombie’, who as his name suggests, will walk forwards the entire fight.

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Alexander Volkanovski’s Keys To Victory at UFC 273

Land the Leg Kick and Avoid the Counter

Last time out at UFC 266, Alexander Volkanovski dominated Brian Ortega to retain his belt. He showed amazing heart in that fight to fight out of an extremely deep guillotine attempt from the American. With that being said, he dominated the fight by battering the legs of Ortega, which is certainly something that can be used against Jung. Landing 48 leg kicks over 25 minutes, Volkanovski shut down the stand-up game of Ortega. At UFC 266, it was clear that the champion wasn’t just throwing leg kicks as a distraction, they were thrown with the intention to debilitate his opponent. We saw the same thing against Holloway in their two fights, landing 67 in their first fight and 75 in their second. Volkanovski’s ability to land a leg kick and then avoid the counter is elite, which can be seen here against both Holloway and Ortega.

Keep Distance Early

The Korean Zombie is known for his knockout power since his 2017 return. He’s recorded three knockout victories in his four wins since returning, all of which have come in the first round. With finishes of Dennis BermudezRenato Moicano and Frankie Edgar all in under 3:30, Alexander Volkanovski needs to keep his distance early on in the fight. There are a number of tricks in his arsenal that he can use to do this, the key however will be to throw and land the jab. This will allow him to maintain the distance between himself and Jung. We saw when the champion faced Ortega that he constantly threw the jab out, not allowing Ortega to get anything going because he was focused on defending the jab. He has a one-inch reach disadvantage at UFC 273, however, this won’t create too much of an issue for the champ. We can see here how Volkanovski uses the jab effectively. He doubles up the jab to keep Ortega guessing after landing single jabs earlier on in the fight.

Similarly, he used the jab effectively to do damage and carrel his opponent when he faced Darren Elkins in 2018. Stepping in, he dropped his level and stepped into the jab, landing heavily on Elkins. Although this doesn’t maintain the distance, it forced Elkins backwards, meaning any counters would land with little power.

Get the Fight to the Clinch

Getting the fight to the clinch is also a tactic that Alexander Volkanovski could use against Chan Sung Jung at UFC 273. We know that he’s smaller than Jung at 5’6 to Jung’s 5’7. As we saw in our Ciryl Gane keys to victory piece, pummeling under for the clinch after getting into an exchange can be effective. Gane was unable to utilise this at UFC 270, however, we feel that Volkanovski is much more capable of being successful with this tactic. As Jung tires, his power will obviously wain (he’s yet to score a knockout past the first round).

Against Shane Young, Volkanovski was able to constantly get the fight to the clinch and dominate there. He used the step-through jab, like we saw against Elkins, but followed this with entering the clinch. This clearly means that he can utilise two keys to victory in a single move set.

Against Chad Mendes, Volkanovksi was able to overwhelm the American when he backed him up to the fence. A right uppercut, before a left and right hook combination, allowed the Australian to progress. He was able to land inside the clinch before creating a little space and then re-entering the clinch to land again. This, in turn, lead to the finish for the future champion.

Volkanovski’s Other Keys to Victory

  • Land his favourite strike, the lead leg snap kick. He’s landed this in every one of his UFC fights thusfar.
  • Avoid looking for the takedown. Volkanovski only has a 34% takedown accuracy and Zombie has a takedown defence of 77%. This would suggest that he would be unsuccessful if he were to attempt to get it to the ground. Also, Zombie has an impressive eight submissions in 17 victories, so it clearly competent on the ground.
  • Exchange in bursts. He can’t get into long exchanges with Jung as this is where Jung’s power is most effective (at short range). We saw against Bermudez that Jung was able to land a crushing uppercut at short range. If Volkanovski is able to exchange in bursts, it will allow him get in and get out without being left in the pocket.

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Frazer is a 24 year old MMA and boxing enthusiast from Coventry, England. You can follow Frazer on twitter @Frazer_Krohn

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