Both Alexander Volkanovski and Brian Ortega have addressed the Max Holloway elephant prior to their UFC 266 main event this Saturday.
UFC Featherweight Champion Alexander Volkanovski has not one but two victories over former titleholder Max Holloway. In fact, his back-to-back wins over Holloway are the two most recent victories on his résumé. Yet, Holloway continues to cast a shadow over his title reign after a very controversial split decision in their rematch at UFC 251.
Naturally, Volkanovski believes he was the rightful winner of the fight despite the majority of scorers feeling otherwise. Should Volkanovski and Holloway meet again in a trilogy fight, the reigning champion expects to remove all doubt on who the featherweight king is by completing a trifecta of victories over the Hawaiian (h/t BJPenn.com).
“The last fight that we did on Fight Island, you don’t want to make excuses, but I don’t think I turned up at all, and I was still able to get the job done,” Volkanovski said in a recent interview with MMA News’ James Lynch. “That just shows what level (I’m at), and again you have to give credit where credit’s due, because the way he showed up from the first to the second fight, mate, it was incredible.
Max Holloway & Alex Volkanovski (Photo: Jeff Bottari/Zuffa)
“But for me to be able to bring that fight back, I didn’t turn it up that day and I still got the job done. That just shows you that there are levels to this and that I’m no joke. I’m going to turn up the next fight 100 percent and I’m not going to give him any rounds just like the first fight. I’m going to start off stronger and I’m going to finish even stronger. But again, Max is a great fighter, hence why he is getting a third fight. He’s going out and taking out other guys and earning that No. 1 spot because he deserves to be right up there as well.
“So again, you gotta give credit where credit’s too. It’s going to be a great fight, but I just think I’m going to be too much. By then, I’m going to be a whole different beast.”
Brian Ortega Feels He & Holloway Have Unfinished Business
Brian Ortega also knows what it’s like to share the cage with Max Holloway. Unlike Volkanovski, however, he is unfamiliar with the thrill of derailing The Blessed Express. Indeed, Ortega suffered a decisive loss to the former champion back at UFC 231 in what was one of Holloway’s finest performances. In the bout, the Hawaiian landed a blistering 290 total strikes, with the battle-worn Ortega’s face serving as evidence of Holloway’s handiwork.
Credit: Nathan Denette/CP
Three years later and we’ve already caught a glimpse of Brian Ortega 2.0. In T-City’s most recent outing, he styled on The Korean Zombie (Chan Sung Jung) with an exhilarating display of striking. If all goes his way, Ortega would look to put on another masterclass on champion Alexander Volkanovski and then show Holloway and the rest of the world just how much has changed since 2018 (h/t BJPenn.com).
“That would be ideal,” Ortega told TMZSports about the prospect of rematching Holloway following his upcoming fight with Volkanovski. “I’m not trying to speak ahead nor am I trying to get past Volkanovski, because he beat Max twice. So I’m not sitting here to say I’ve already started celebrating. But that would be ideal.
“I’m a better person and a better fighter than when I fought him, and watching his last fight, so is he. You always want that as a fighter, as a competitor, to make that sh*t square. Or to say, ‘Yo dog, you legitimately got the best of me, good sh*t.’”
Do you think Max Holloway will reclaim the UFC featherweight championship in 2022 by defeating the winner of Volkanovski/Ortega?
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