Alex Volkanovski Vs. Yair Rodriguez: The Featherweight Fight In The UFC

Alex Volkanovski Vs. Yair Rodriguez: The Featherweight Fight In The UFC

Image: Getty

Interim champion Yair Rodriguez was the featherweight division’s caretaker while the real champion was away. When Alex Volkanovski came back, he proved that he was still the most dominant fighter in the UFC at 145 pounds.

When Alexander Volkanovski chased Islam Makhachev’s lightweight belt in 2023, the UFC put up an interim featherweight title fight between Yair Rodriguez and Josh Emmett to prevent the division from getting dormant in Volk’s absence.

And so Rodriguez and Emmett fought as the co-main event of UFC 294 with the winner becoming the temporary 145-pound champion. Yair submitted Emmet with a triangle choke in the second round of their bout to win the interim belt.

RELATED: Alex Volkanovski vs. Ilia Topuria; UFC 298 Result And Rematch

Image: Getty

Then after Volk’s failed title grab at lightweight, the Aussie returned to his weight class to fight Rodriguez for the undisputed UFC featherweight championship.

Volkanovski vs Rodriguez was booked as the main event of UFC 290 on 8 July 2023 at Las Vegas’ T-Mobile Arena. The bout was one of two title fights that highlighted the annual International Fight Week celebration. 

“I’m 100% focused on Yair. He’s dangerous, but I’m going to show why I’m the number-one guy. I’m coming for records, starting with the pound-for-pound number one.”

Alex Volkanovski

Facing an opponent who was a standout on the feet, Volkanovski used his wrestling skills to retain his belt in his fifth straight successful title defence. In the fight, Volk took Rodriguez down 7 times and controlled him on the ground for 7 minutes and 13 seconds. while outlanding his challenger  66-40 in significant strikes and 149-57 in total strikes.

With the win over Yair, Volkanovski took back his place as the best 145-pound fighter in the UFC. Unfortunately for him, however, that turned out to be his last successful title defence. Voklanovski rematched Makhachev after defeating Rodriguez, and he ended up getting knocked out. 

After his second loss to Islam, Volk took a short four-month break and defended his title against Ilia Topuria at UFC 298 last. Volkanovski ended up getting knocked out by the Spaniard inside two rounds Following the fight, Volk hinted that taking a quick turnaround against Topuria cost him his belt.