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

Could a rematch be on the cards?

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

Alexander Volkanovski was favored to retain his belt at UFC 298 but Spain’s Ilia Topuria had other plans and the challenger wasn’t to be denied.

Alexander the Great entered UFC 298 as the betting favourite to repulse his sixth featherweight challenger. Volkanovski had risen to the top of the Pound for Pound rankings with a dominant reign as UFC featherweight champion. But after suffering a pair of losses to Islam Makhachev in 2013, there was something off when Volkanovski fought Ilia Topuria.

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

Topuria had climbed to the top of the UFC featherweight rankings with an unbeaten run that included four stoppage wins from December 2020 to December 2022. Then after defeating veteran Josh Emmett at UFC on ABC 5 in Jacksonville, Volkanovski vs Topuria became inevitable.

“I’m hearing a lot of people mentioning other guys, Ilia fighting other guys,” Volkanovski said on ESPN’s DC & RC. “I’m like, ‘No, don’t do it. Just give me a guy. Give me a contender.’ To be honest, again, I’m not going to say too much, obviously I think he’s a good fighter. But the more I speak, the less I’m going to hype up the fight. I think he’s great.”

After that interview, Volkanovski proceeded to beat Yair Rodriguez at UFC 290. Then came Alex’s rematch against Islam Makhachev. Volk lost that bout via knockout. Just four months later, Volkanovski vs Topuria was booked as the main event of UFC 298. The quick turnaround wasn’t good for the Aussie.

For the second straight fight, Volkanovski ended up getting knocked out. To his credit, Volk outlanded Ilia 47-35 in total significant strikes landed, including 26-15 in round one. But while Volkanovski’s attack was kick-heavy, Topuria went head hunting and in round two, he found his target and landed a clean shot that put the champ to sleep.

The loss to Topuria raised a lot of questions about Volk. Many said he shouldn’t have taken a quick turnaround fight after losing to Islam. Volkanovski said on his YouTube channel that he thought he did enough to prepare for the fight but also admitted that it may have been a bad idea. 

“Maybe it did [affect me]. That makes me take this seriously, obviously it’s two in a row now. I’m not planning on having a quick turnaround like I did after that October fight with Islam. The few months between the two fights, some people are gonna say it was a bad idea. Again, I thought we did everything right, but maybe there was something there.”

Alex Volkanovski

Volkanovski demanded a rematch but right now, that fight doesn’t seem to appeal to the new champion who said he would rather face fresh competition. Reports say he rejected an offer to defend his belt against Volkanovski in Australia. With Topuria seemingly uninterested to fight him again, Volk has turned his attention to the newly-crowned BMF champion Holloway, with the hopes of booking a fourth fight with the Blessed Express.

It remains to be seen what the UFC’s plan for Volkanovski is. Meanwhile, the former featherweight champ is enjoying his much-deserved rest in his native land. But at 35 years of age, let’s hope he gets his rematch sooner because with how he ruled the 145-pound weight class, he absolutely deserves a chance to win the belt back.