UFC 290 marks the featherweight return of the widely regarded GOAT of the 145lbs division, Alexander Volkanovski. Aside from Conor McGregor, Volkanovski has defeated every UFC featherweight champion to exist. At featherweight, the Aussie is undefeated in his career, dominating a 15-fight winning run. His overall record stands at 25-2, with his second loss coming in his last fight against Islam Makhachev up at lightweight.
At UFC 290, Volkanovski takes on Yair Rodriguez, the interim featherweight champion, but before that, we rank Alexander Volkanovski’s UFC wins.
Ranking Alexander Volkanovski’s UFC wins
UFC Fight Night 121 – Shane Young by Unanimous Decision
Volkanovski’s second UFC fight came against Shane Young back in November 2017. Despite fighting at home (for the second time in the UFC), Volkanovski struggled to put on a statement win against Young. He mixed in a promotional high, five takedowns against the striker, Young, which was arguably the most risk-averse strategy. Although it was a dominant win, it was far from memorable.
UFC Fight Night 110 – Mizuto Hirota by Unanimous Decision
In his first UFC featherweight bout, he defeated Japan’s, Mizuto Hirota. Hirota was enjoying a five-fight undefeated streak and is notorious for being difficult to finish. Of 11 losses, Hirota has only been finished twice, once in his most recent bout and once in 2009.
It was a difficult fight for Volkanovksi to look good in, however, he cruised to a decision victory. 30-27 on all scorecards, however, pretty forgettable.
UFC 221 – Jeremey Kennedy by R2 TKO
Despite finishing Canadian, Jeremy Kennedy and having dominated the fight, Volkanovski’s victory didn’t tell us anything we didn’t already know. We already knew he was dominant and is a solid ground-and-pound artist. This finish came more as a result of a relentless barrage, rather than one or two punishing shots.
UFC Fight Night 101 – Yusuke Kasuya by R2 TKO
Alexander ‘The Great’s UFC debut came at UFC Fight Night 101 against Yusuke Kasuya. After outstriking Kasuya 31-1 in the second round, Volkanovski got his hand raised. This one is only down the list because it was at lightweight, so isn’t a fair representation of Volkanovski’s true UFC career and also due to the calibre of opponent. Kasuya was 0-1 in the UFC at the time and went on to go 0-4 in the promotion and 1-6 in seven around the Volkanovski fight.
UFC 251 – Max Holloway by Split Decision
This one is certainly questionable being this low down on the list. Max Holloway is in the question of greatest fighters of all time and certainly top three at 145lbs. The fight was a rematch between Holloway and Volkanovski, however, it was a close fight. Statistically, the champion outlanded Blessed, 139-111 but, in comparison to his past performance against the Hawaiian, it was slightly underwhelming.
UFC Fight Night 133 – Darren Elkins by Unanimous Decision
Darren Elkins is, as we know and his nickname might suggest, extremely durable. The best way to beat him is to dominate, not search for the finish and take it organically if it comes. Volkanovski didn’t have it all his own way against Elkins, however, he had to keep the pressure on the American and find a way to win. Impressively, he did this and it’s the level of his opponent in this one, at the time in his career which is why it sits so highly on the list.
UFC 235 – Jose Aldo by Unanimous Decision
Taking on the ‘King of Rio’, Jose Aldo, Volkanovski took on arguably his toughest test. He dominated, however. 30-27 on all scorecards prove just how dominant the Australian was. Take into account that Aldo was still regarded as one of the best at 145lbs at the time. He was fresh off two back-to-back performance of the night-winning finishes and was looking like he was back to his brutal best. That was, of course, before he ran into Volkanovski. 129-39 on total strikes saw the Brazillian struggle against the future champion and showed a changing of the guard at 145lbs for sure.
Now, we take a look at Volkanovski’s best UFC victories.
Alexander Volkanovski’s Top 5 UFC Victories
5 – UFC 232 – Chad Mendes by R2 TKO
The reason that this performance is so highly regarded is that Volkanovski showed something that we hadn’t seen at the time. The former multiple-time title challenger, Chad Mendes, took Volkanovski down three times, forcing him to work back to his fight and defensively wrestle. On top of that, he dropped the Australian in a crazy second round.
The second round saw the finish, however, it was in favour of Volkanovski. He was able to rally after a tough round and finish Mendes with relentless pressure. His walk-forward style saw him show his heavy hands for the first time in the UFC and secure a very big win.
4 – UFC 245 – Max Holloway via Unanimous Decision
Undefeated at featherweight in six years, the dominant 145lbs champion, Max Holloway was set to take on yet another contender in Volkanovski. He was in search of his fourth title defence and was coming off a shutout against Frankie Edgar. Many thought that this would be a standard, routine title defence.
Volkanovski had other ideas, however. The leg kick is what dominated the fight for the Australian. 75 leg kicks shut down Holloway’s game, predictably limiting his movement and hindering his ability to build on attacks.
We don’t appreciate this win for what it was. Volkanovksi snapped Holloway’s 14 fight featherweight run and provided a changing of the guard at the weight class.
3 – UFC 266 – Brian Ortega via Unanimous Decision
Following back-to-back victories over Holloway, Volkanovski took on Brian Ortega. Ortega was coming off the back of a seemingly big reset and new style after a win over Chan Sung Jung.
What made this win so masterful was that Volkanovski overcame one of the most dangerous moments of his career. Let’s not forget, Ortega has a phenomenal ground game, arguably the best in the division. He locked in a deep guillotine on Volkanovski, seemingly squeezing the blood from his brain and almost separating him from consciousness. Amazingly, the champion was able to battle his way out of the situation, rally and almost finish Ortega.
Volkanovski showed heart, will and a refusal to lose. Aside from that moment, he dominated the fight overall. A truly stunning performance.
2 – UFC 273 – Chan Sung Jung via R4 TKO
A fight that many forget actually happened, Volkanovski headlined in Florida against The Korean Zombie at UFC 273. Coming off the back of just a singular victory over Dan Ige, Jung stepped in against the dominant champion.
After being decisively outstruck, Zombie didn’t have much left in the tank. Let’s remember, Jung has scary power, however, couldn’t land on Volkanovski with any benefits. 152-51 on total strikes, there was a time in the fight where the Aussie asked Zombie if he was okay, proving just how badly he was beating him. It took until the fourth round and a big combination for referee, Herb Dean to step in and stop things.
1 – UFC 276 – Max Holloway via Unanimous Decision
The trilogy where many believed that Holloway would get the better of Volkanovski took place at UFC 276 in the co-main event of 2022’s international fight week. There was huge hype around the bout due to how good Holloway looked against Calvin Kattar and Yair Rodriguez since his last loss to Volkanovski.
When the going got tough, Volkanovski stepped up to the mark and truly dominated, eliminating any need for a fourth fight between the two. The Australian put the rivalry to bed, battering Holloway in every single round. 50-45 on every scoreboard, Volkanovski forced Holloway to shoot for takedowns (all unsuccessfully), outstruck him in every round and put on a show.
It marked Volkanovski’s best UFC win and showed him at his true, violent best.