Alex Volkanovski Dismantles Yair Rodriguez in Featherweight Return.

Noah Strang
By:
Noah Strang
11/07/2023
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Rodriguez is no match for Alex Volkanovski as the Aussie dominates in 145lb return

Alex Volkanovski dominated interim champion Yair Rodriguez to retain his belt and solidify himself as the man to beat at 145lb.

News Insights

  • Volkanovski dominates in 145lb return, is Undisputed champion once again.
  • Should the Australian be pound-for-pound number one?
  • Is Ilia Topuria next for Volkanovski?
  • Is the lightweight belt in his future?

Following his controversial loss to lightweight champion Islam Makhachev in a bid to become double champ, Alex Volkanovski returned to the featherweight division and dispatched of dangerous interim champion Yair Rodriguez within three dominant rounds to reclaim his status as undisputed UFC featherweight champion. 

Volk Dominates Rodriguez in Featherweight Return

Alex Volkanovski returned to the 145lb division at UFC 290 this past weekend and dominated Yair Rodriguez to reclaim his status as undisputed UFC featherweight champion. 

Look no further than the fight scorecard to see the dominance of Volkanovski. 

Rodriguez was named interim champion when he submitted Josh Emmett on the same card in which Volk was controversially defeated by Makhachev. The Mexican was seen as a difficult task for Volkanovski due to his lengthy reach advantage and creative striking ability. However, Volkanovskiwas still a -370 favourite and proved once again that he is the class of the division by taking out Rodriguez with relative ease. 

The Aussie showed off his wrestling chops by way of seven takedowns and over seven minutes of control on the ground. Once he secured takedowns, he unleashed ferocious ground and pound leaving Rodriguez bloodied and bruised by the end of round two. 

In round three Rodriguez was able to land a few solid strikes before Volk exploded with a right hand that wobbled the interim champion. He followed that up with a flurry of heavy punches before body slamming Rodriguez to the canvas. From there it was only a matter of time as Volkanovski peppered Rodriguez with shots on the ground before Herb Dean was forced to intervene at 4:19 of round three. 

According to betting sites, the outcome of a Volkanovski TKO was around +380 going into the bout meaning the Aussie certainly helped a few bettors line their pockets. 

With the win Volkanovskiis once again the undisputed 145lb UFC champion. He also improved his professional record to 26-2 and moved to 11-0 as a UFC featherweight. 

Pound-for-Pound King?

The performance of Volkanovski left little doubt amongst most as to who should be the UFC’s number one pound-for-pound fighter when the rankings are released shortly this week. The commentating trio of Jon Anik, Daniel Cormier, and Joe Rogan all vouched for Volkanovski to sit atop the ladder following the fight with Cormier stating, “He is the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world, hands down.”

Heavyweight champion Jon Jones currently occupies the top spot whilst Volkanovski is second. It would be hard to deny the Aussie from claiming the throne now given how effortlessly he seemed to have dispatched of his division’s top challenger. 

What’s Next for Volkanovski? 

When interviewed in the octagon post-fight, Volkanovski quite clearly laid out his plans for the future. 

There’s a few options, I need surgery on my arm, camp was a struggle, I’ll get that as soon as I’m home and fight once more this year, I’ll squash Topuria and I still want that lightweight belt.

Assuming the surgery and recovery go as planned, it appears as though Ilia Topuria will be his next challenge for the featherweight title. The Georgian is ranked fifth in the division and has an undefeated record of 14-0. The two even shared some words as Volkanovski left the octagon.

After that, as stated by Volkanovski, double champ status is still something he covets, meaning should they both continue their winning ways, a rematch against Islam Makhachev could be on the cards for 2024. 

Alex Volkanovski returned to the UFC’s featherweight division in glorious fashion with a dominant third round TKO of interim champion Yair Rodriguez. The pound-for-pound throne seems to be on the horizon for the Aussie as does a potential super fight rematch with Islam Makhachev.