It looked like Max Holloway might have done enough to reclaim the featherweight title from Alexander Volkanovski at UFC 251 , but the latter managed to emerge from the fight with his belt.
Holloway moved forward in the opening minutes and Volkanovski countered with the odd shot. Volkanovski planted a couple if leg kicks mid round but Max fired in a nice uppercut not long after. Volkanovski scored with a couple more leg kicks. Max tagged Volkanovski with a hard right later in the round and some bruising could be seen on the champ. In the final 1o seconds, Max stunned Volkanovski with a headkick that briefly put the champ down.
Strong finish for the former champ.
Volkanovski fired in a couple of leg kicks not long into the frame, but Max responded with a nice combo. Holloway continued to lead with front kicks to establish his range. Holloway picked up the pace in terms of his leg kicks, particularly kicks to the inside of the champ’s lead leg. Max came with a nice knee to the body mid round, but Volkanovski continued to fire back. Late in the frame, Holloway nearly scored with another headkick. before recording another flash knockdown with an uppercut.
The featherweights continued to trade leg kicks, and Max threatened with a big knee not long in. Volkanovski started winging heavier shots and he tagged Max with hard left hook a couple of minutes in. Volkanovski shot in mid round but Holloway sprawled nicely.
Volkanovski planted another hard, left hook late in the frame and Holloway picked up the pace.
Both men scored with nice jabs early on into round four. Max’s lead leg was visibly, very red on account of Volkanovski’s kicks and the bridge of his nose was cut. Mid round, Max fired in a nice combo that pushed the champ back.
With a couple of minutes left, Volkanovski took Holloway down but ‘Blessed’ popped right back up. In final minute, Volkanovski changed levels again but Holloway defended the TD. Volkanovski fired in another hard right before the round came to an end, as did Holloway.
It could be 2-2 heading into round five.
Both fighters were busy to begin round five and Max threatened with a headkick. Volkanovski tried clinching up but Holloway broke free, but he also ate a right. Volkanovski had planted a couple of hard shots by mid round but Max responded with hard 1-2.
At round the three minute mark, Volkanovski scored with another TD, but the Hawaiian quickly returned to his feet. Volkanovski tried going for another TD but this time, Holloway defended. Another TD attempt by Volkanovski was squashed. With a couple of seconds left, Volkanovski swept Holloway down.
Wow. Close fight, but Holloway may have reclaimed the belt.
Nope. Two judges scored the fight for Volkanovski, handing him his second win over Holloway.
Here are the results so far for UFC 251, which is taking place at Yas Island in Abu Dhabi.
UFC 251 results
Alexander Volkanovski def. Max Holloway via split decision (48-47, 47-48, 48-47)
Petr Yan def. Jose Aldo via TKO (punches) R5, 3:24
Rose Namajunas def. Jessica Andrade via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Amanda Ribas def. Paige VanZant via submission (armbar) R1, 2:21
Jiri Prochazka def. Volkan Oezdemir via KO (punch) R2, 0:49
Muslim Salikhov def. Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos via split decision (30-27, 28-29, 29-28)
Makwan Amirkhani def. Danny Henry via technical submission (anaconda choke) R1, 3:15
Leonardo Santos def. Roman Bogatov via unanimous decision (29-26. 29-26, 29-26)
Marcin Tybura def. Maxim Grishin via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-26)
Raulian Paiva def. Zhalgas Zhumagulov via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Karol Rosa def. Vanessa Melo via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26, 30-27)
Davey Grant def. Martin Day via KO (punch) R3, 2:38