Alexander Volkanovski retained his featherweight title with a dominant performance against Yair Rodriguez at UFC 290 on July 8, 2023. The fight was one of the most highly anticipated of the night, with both fighters looking to unify for the featherweight championship.
— Shakiel Mahjouri (@Shak_Fu) July 9, 2023
The fight began with both fighters exchanging strikes, with Volkanovski landing several hard shots early on. Rodriguez was able to land some significant strikes of his own, but Volkanovski was able to take control of the fight with his wrestling.
In the third round, Alexander Volkanovski was able to take Rodriguez down and control him on the ground for much of the round. Volkanovski was able to land a hard right hand that stunned Rodriguez and followed up with a flurry of punches against the fence and then a beautifully timed double leg takedown by Volkanovski which was the beginning of the end. Volkanovski followed with some heavy ground and pound before the referee stopped the fight and then Volkanovski celebrated his victory.
The win was a dominant one for Alexander Volkanovski, who improved his record to 26-2 and has now defended the featherweight championship six times which is just two behind the featherweight GOAT Jose Aldo for the most title defenses in featherweight history. Rodriguez suffered his first title loss in the UFC and drops to 15-4.
With the win, it's hard to tell what will be next for Volkanovski. He has expressed a ton of interest in running it back with Islam Makhachev and seeing as Charles Oliveira will not be ready to fight in Abu Dhabi in October, there is a real good chance he slides into that main event championship fight. Rodriguez, meanwhile, will need to rebound in a big way if he thinks he will attempt to contend for the UFC featherweight championship again.
This was a dominant performance by Volkanovski, who showed off his impressive wrestling skills and his power in the striking game. The win was a reminder of Volkanovski's status as one of the best featherweights in the world and his potential to become one of the greatest fighters of all time.