In a display of sheer dominance, Alexander Volkanovski unleashed a relentless assault on Yair Rodriguez, solidifying his reign over the featherweight division and successfully defending his title in the main event of UFC 290.
The fight began with Volkanovski employing a ground-heavy strategy, overwhelming Rodriguez with his superior grappling skills. The turning point came in the third round when Volkanovski landed a powerful right hand that left Rodriguez visibly rattled. Seizing the opportunity, Volkanovski swiftly took Rodriguez down, where he proceeded to unleash a barrage of punches until referee Herb Dean intervened, signaling the end of the fight. The official stoppage occurred at 4:19 of the third round, marking Volkanovski's fifth consecutive defense of the featherweight title.
Volkanovski, acknowledging Rodriguez's dangerous striking abilities, admitted to feeling a sense of fear during his preparation for the fight. However, the champion's mindset shifted, and he entered the octagon with unwavering confidence.
"I'm the champ. I'm the king of this division. No one is ever stopping me," Volkanovski asserted.
Throughout the bout, Volkanovski displayed a methodical approach, repeatedly taking Rodriguez to the ground and showcasing a suffocating top game. The Mexican fighter, known for his creative kicking techniques, found himself stifled by Volkanovski's relentless pressure. Despite a few moments of respite for Rodriguez, including a series of stinging kicks in the third round, Volkanovski's power and precision ultimately proved too much to handle.
With this victory, Volkanovski further solidifies his status as one of the top champions in the UFC, regardless of weight class. While he expressed his desire to pursue the lightweight title in the future, the Australian champion also turned his attention to undefeated featherweight contender Ilia Topuria, who was present at Cageside. Volkanovski, mentioning the need for arm surgery, assured fans that he would return stronger and ready to face his next challenge. He even issued a warning to Topuria, stating,
"I'll show him what's up. I'll squash him, too."
Alexander Volkanovski's formidable performance at UFC 290 showcased his unrivaled skill set and unwavering determination. As the featherweight champion continues his reign, fans eagerly anticipate his next move and the possibility of him adding further records to his already impressive resume.