Alexander Volkanovski is still the UFC featherweight champion.
The Australian was put under heavy pressure against the competitor from whom he took the title this past December, Max Holloway. And while the decision was highly debatable, Volkanovski (22-1 MMA, 9-0 UFC) rallied over the final three rounds to eke out a split decision Saturday night at UFC 251, getting the better end of two of three 48-47 scores to retain his title.
“He’s tough – he’s a gamer,” Volkanovski said of his foe. “We had 10 rounds in there give credit to him, but this is the fight game.”
Holloway looked loose and confident over the fight’s opening two rounds. He used the trademark kickboxing mix that brought him to the top of th sport, and never allowed Volkanovski to get his offense untracked.
UFC 251 results:
Kamaru Usman def. Jorge Masvidal via unanimous decision (50-45, 50-45, 49-46)
Alexander Volkanovski def. Max Holloway via split decision (48-47, 47-48, 48-47)
Petr Yan def. Jose Aldo via TKO (strikes) – Round 5, 3:24
Rose Namajunas def. Jessica Andrade via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Amanda Ribas def. Paige VanZant via submission (armbar) – Round 1, 2:21
Jiri Prochazka def. Volkan Oezdemir via knockout (punch) – Round 2, 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) – Round 1, 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 knockout (punch) – Round 3, 2:38