Revisiting UFC 245: The night Alexander Volkanovski won the featherweight title

What happened the first time Alexander Volkanovski and Max Holloway fought?

Alexander Volkanovski is perhaps the most underrated fighter on the Ultimate Fighting Championship roster. 

UFC featherweight champion Volkanovski will be looking to defend his title for the second time when he meets Brian Ortega at UFC 266 on September 25 in Las Vegas. 

His last three wins, all by decision, have come against former champions Max Holloway (twice) and Jose Aldo.   

The 32-year-old, a teammate of fellow UFC champion Israel Adesanya, took the 145lbs belt by inflicting Holloway's first loss at featherweight since an August 2013 defeat to Conor McGregor.  

Both fighters met again in a rematch in July 2020 when Volkanovski edged a narrow victory.   

But even the most ardent of Holloway fans have to appreciate his sheer brilliance in their first bout.

Alexander Volkanovski def. Max Holloway by unanimous decision

With the exception of a handful of moments in the final three rounds, when he was caught with a couple of big shots, Volkanovski gave Holloway very few gaps to exploit, and largely controlled the fight with his leg kicks and excellent movement. 

All-told, the Australian outstruck the Hawaiian by 157 to 134, while he also landed 51% of his significant strikes, according to data provided by UFCStats.com.   

It was the perfect example of a gameplan executed to perfection. 

Volkanovski, who improved to 21-1, said: “It was a tough one for me. I stay so composed in there. I’ve got a job to do, right? When I’m in there? I’ve always said that I keep myself level-headed and composed."

"Obviously, I thought I was winning, but I didn’t know. My corner did a really good job of letting me know that and not getting caught up into his game.

"My shins are a little sore, but my gameplan went well. So it was good. Again, I was saying, we’re both very high level. It was a chess match in there, and I got the job done.”

He added: "I tried to tell them I can stick to a gameplan and it's going to be a chess match and it was a chess match. 

"I don't know what it looked like, I've got to watch the tape, but trust me there was a lot happening.

"We were trying to break each other's rhythm, I started going to the body and trying to mix it up, he was trying to mix it up, see what would work, and I just stuck to it."

UFC president Dana White said: "He looked good, and that market is massive for us, so maybe we do that rematch in Australia. I don’t know – that’s just off the top of my head.

“For Volkanovski to come in and beat Max Holloway, it’s a big deal – it’s a big deal to do that."

Read More: Michael Bisping exclusive: Anderson Silva was 'the toughest fight' of my career

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