Alexander Volkanovski re-asserted himself because the featherweight champion with a technical knockout over Yair Rodriguez at 4:19 of the third spherical in UFC 290.
- Volkanovski had held the featherweight title beforehand, earlier than he moved as much as the light-weight division
- The Australian was clearly the superior fighter in opposition to Yair Rodriguez, claiming victory within the third spherical
- Earlier on the cardboard, fellow Australian Robert Whittaker misplaced to Dricus Du Plessis within the second spherical
Rodriguez was the interim champion after Volkanovski briefly moved as much as light-weight, however the Australian left little doubt who the higher fighter was, operating his file to 26-2 in what was scheduled as a five-round bout.
Volkanovski took Rodriguez (16-4) to the mat close to the two-minute mark of the primary spherical and stored him there to dictate the tempo. That turned a theme because the second spherical performed out a lot the identical means, with Volkanovski, 34, additionally delivering a number of photographs to Rodriguez’s face.
Rodriguez, who’s from Mexico, then took the combat to Volkanovski within the third spherical, stopping the bottom and pound with a collection of kicks to place him on the defence. However with a minute left, Volkanovski slammed Rodriguez, 30, to the mat and pounded him with rights and lefts earlier than referee Herb Dean stepped in.
This was Volkanovski’s first combat since a loss by unanimous choice to light-weight champion Islam Makhachev on February 11. That ended Volkanovski’s 22-fight successful streak, and after the temporary elevation to light-weight, he dropped again all the way down to featherweight for this combat.
Earlier than shifting up, Volkanovski had gained 5 title fights to make a robust argument as greatest featherweight of all time. He additionally has been within the dialog for high present pound-for-pound fighter, and Volkanovski is second within the UFC’s official rankings to Jon Jones.
Earlier, Australia’s former middleweight champion Robert Whittaker was upset by South African Dricus Du Plessis through TKO in a combat to turn out to be primary contender to face champion Israel Adesanya.
Whittaker, in his first bout in almost 12 months, was break up open by an elbow in spherical one and surprised by a straight proper in spherical two, with the South African teeing off on the fence earlier than the referee stopped the combat.
Du Plessis prolonged his longest energetic win streak within the division to 6 and traded verbal barbs contained in the octagon with Adesanya following the combat.
The Volkanovski-Rodriguez match highlighted the Worldwide Battle Week card that included a second championship bout.
Brazil’s Alexandre Pantoja captured the flyweight belt by beating champion Brandon Moreno of Mexico, successful by break up choice. Judges Derek Cleary and Junichiro Kamijo gave Pantoja the victory at 48-47 within the five-round combat, however Ben Cartlidge noticed the bout fairly in a different way with a 49-46 rating in favour of Moreno.
Pantoja (26-5) collapsed to the mat after the choice was introduced. He has crushed Moreno (21-7-2) in all three conferences.
“I labored so arduous,” Pantoja stated.
“I left all the things I had.”
Moreno dominated the second spherical, however had a tough time defending Pantoja’s floor recreation within the different 4. Even so, the battle was pretty even for probably the most half, and the blood on each fighters’ faces underscored how a lot every went after the opposite.
Moreno gained the belt almost a yr in the past and efficiently defended it in January.
Robbie Lawler, who was inducted into the UFC Corridor of Fame on Thursday, heads into retirement on a excessive be aware after knocking out Niko Value simply 38 seconds into the primary spherical of their welterweight bout.
Lawler, 41, ends his profession with a 30-16 file and one no-contest. He teared up watching a video tribute to him following the combat, and the gang roared chanting his first identify.
“It was a tough coaching camp,” Lawler stated.
“Nothing felt good. At the moment was the primary day I felt good.”