Alexander Volkanovski is set to make his return to the Octagon this summer in a title unification bout against Interim Featherweight champion Yair Rodriguez. The bout will take place on the UFC 290 card which is set to on July 8th in Las Vegas. The news was broken by accredited journalist Ariel Helwani.
Many fans had speculated that the July card was going to be headlined by a heavyweight title showdown between Jon Jones and Stipe Miocic. According to Helwani this is not currently being discussed however and his sources have told him that Volkanovski and Rodriguez are front runners to headline the card.
Volkanovski’s last contest was a losing bout against lightweight champion, Islam Makhachev at 155 lbs. The fight, which proved to be extremely divisive in fan opinion, saw the Australian lose a unanimous decision in an extremely close contest, picking up his first loss in the UFC and taking his overall record to a still hugely impressive 25-2. Many had speculated whether Volkanovski would bother returning to featherweight or if he fancied his chances at moving up to 155 and taking another crack at the Dagestani. Yet those questions have been answered and it appears Volkanovski is looking to defend his crown once again, hoping to establish himself as the greatest featherweight to ever do it.
His opponent, Yair Rodriguez picked up the interim title with a submission win over Josh Emmett on Volkanovski’s and Makhachev’s undercard at UFC 284. Rodriguez has been a long-time contender in the featherweight division with the only loss in his last 5 fights coming against Max Holloway. Holloway of course has already been defeated by Volkanovski three times and looks unlikely to get another title shot as long as the Australian holds the belt. Rodriguez will be looking to make history by defeating the long-reigning Volkanovski and avoid being remembered as just another piece of a great champion’s legacy.
Two champions will meet head to head July 8th in Las Vegas, but only one will remain. Will Alexander Volkanovski take one more step towards becoming the greatest featherweight of all time or will Yair Rodriguez spoil the party and begin to carve out a legacy of his own? There’s only one way to find out. Roll on July 8th.