One hand changed everything at T-Mobile in Las Vegas. Alexander Volkanovski dominated his match against Brian Ortega, looked close to knocking out … and seconds later he was fighting his way out of a lethal triangle. He was able to survive, but the fight was not the same. Guerrilla warfare had just started in the Octagon and the public went crazy. “Ortega, Ortega …” people chanted. They were going with the weakest, with the one who had the most heart to continue. The punishment on him was very great, but he never gave up and tried. He swam and died on the shore, because on the cards Volkanovski left no doubt: 49-46, 50-45 and 50-44. The Australian retained the Featherweight Championship and stepped forward. In the United States he did not yet have a great name. After UFC 266 he and Ortega become highly respected. They gave us the fight of the year.
Volkanovski came out to propose. He took the center of the octagon, put pressure and was adding the best hands. Ortega accepted the deal and did not seek the takedowns. It was especially surprising once the third round started. The fight became increasingly difficult for him. In that round, with a right to the counter everything changed. He had the submission in his hand and almost lost because of the beating he took on the ground and pound. The bell saved him. In fact, they began treating his wounds with him on the canvas. It was redone and passed the doctor’s exam. Ortega knew that his game was that, and in the fourth round he tried again to be level with the canvas to test a new submission. He had it again, but again Volkanovski slipped away. What he did has a lot of merit. Brian is an expert in fighting on the ground and was always able to break his plan: “I thought it was done (the submission), I worked it all the camp … but it escaped and it showed the reason why it is champion“, Ortega resigned.
After exiting the compromised situation, Volkanovski again slaughtered the aspirant with his fists and elbows. Before the fifth round, the doctor gave the OK to Ortega again. The challenger came out to dominate with the ground and pound. He conceded clear hands, but carried danger in the final five minutes. It could not be, he fell rightly before a devoted Volkanovsky. Brian Ortega too. He will become champion, but now is the time for his rival. He has more than earned it.
Valentina Shevchenko added, in the UFC 266 co-star, her seventh consecutive flyweight belt. The champion is several steps above her opponents and against Lauren Murphy she showed it again. He knocked out in four rounds, but that is not what should worry his rivals the most: no one is able to reach him. From the beginning, Valentina commanded thanks to her powerful kicks. He connected them in every way, as did his fists. Murphy was unable to find gaps. On the contrary, they were. Shevchenko hit with discretion and when there was little left of the round he took the fight to the floor.
Everything was controlled. The audience began to boo at certain times. Her superiority was very clear and the fans asked her to finish her off quickly. Shevchenko is very cerebral and is going to open a hole. He found it in the fourth round. With a right wing he made the American fall. Valentina smelled blood and went for her. He thrashed until the lawsuit was stopped. Then it was clear: “Anyone who wants my title, know that I’m ready“The problem is finding someone who wants to fight and can, at least, make her uncomfortable. For now, she leaves her craving there.