Alexander Volkanovski Retained His Featherweight Belt In A Classic At UFC 266

Fresh off dispatching Max Holloway in back-to-back title fights, Alexander Volkanovski (23-1) earned his 20th consecutive win in an instant classic over Brian Ortega (15-2) Saturday night at UFC 266 from T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Volkanovski spent much of the first round chopping down Ortega with leg kicks. Ortega looked to his length advantage, but Volkanovski used his speed to snap and evade. The fight began to open up toward the end of the round, with both men opening cuts on their opponents.

The champ continued to lay it on in the second, mixing up leg kicks, body kicks and big shots up top. Ortega continued to move forward, opting for counter strikes and occasionally beating Volkanovski to the punch. With less than a minute remaining, Ortega began to find his range with the leg kicks, but that didn’t seem to slow Volkanovski.

A much more aggressive Ortega came charging into the third round, but Volkanovski met him right in the middle, charging in with big shot after big shot. An apparent head clash looked to have Ortega hurt momentarily, but he continued to try to find his range. Ortega hurt Volkanovski late in the round and dropped into a guillotine, but the champ escaped and found his way into mount. From the ground, Ortega jumped into a triangle, but again, Volkanovski escaped and jumped back into the mount and poured it on. Ortega was saved by the bell and looked absolutely spent going into the fourth round.

Volkanovski picked Ortega apart to open the round, when Ortega yet again earned a takedown and went for the guillotine. Volkanovski worked his way out and jumped back on top to toss haymakers at Ortega. From a standing mount, it looked like the champion was about to earn the TKO, but Ortega rolled out and was able to get to his feet.

To open the fifth, Volkanovski yet again went on the offensive. The champ walked Ortega back, but the challenger refused to give in. He looked energized and tossed counter strikes before sending Volkanovski backwards. Volkanovski and Ortega continued to toss hands right until the bell, sending the bout to the judges.

Volkanovski entered his title fight with Ortega with no losses in his UFC career, having won 19 consecutive fights.

Saturday night offered Brian Ortega his first title fight since 2018, when he was handed a fourth-round TKO loss to Max Holloway. Ortega returned to the Octagon in 2020, when he exploded onto the scene with a decision victory over Chan Sung Jung.