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The fight left Holloway battered and bruised, a massive cut above his eye leaving him gushing blood for the majority of the fight.
There was absolutely no doubt on the judges’ behalf, Volkanovski winning 50-45 on all three cards.
AS IT HAPPENED: Re-live the action from UFC 276
It’s hard to put into words how fantastic Volkanovski was – Holloway is one of the best to ever do it, but was left frustrated and a step behind throughout.
The commentary team were in awe of the Australian’s performance, with former heavyweight champ Daniel Cormier saying it wasn’t a bad showing from Holloway, just a clinic from the champion.
“He’s not fighting a bad fight, Alexander Volkanovski is just fighting at a different level” Cormier said after the fourth round.
“He’s just a step ahead, and quite a bit faster at this point,” Joe Rogan added.
Volkanovski was left covered in blood after the fight, but not his own – a massive cut that opened above the challenger’s left eye continually troubled him down the stretch.
But much like in their previous matches, the Hawaiian went the distance, despite copping a lot of punishment.
“Max Holloway is an absolute beast,” he said afterwards.
“Everyone back home, I don’t care if you love me or hate me – stand up for yourself. People have been trying to bring me down, I stood up for myself and look at me now – nobody can bring me down anymore.”
But what happens now? Is there anything left for him in a weight class that he’s absolutely dominated?
“I just proved to youse that I want to be in the octagon as much as possible, I want to be busy. I don’t think that this division itself can keep me busy,” he said.
“I want to move up, go for double champ, and I’ll keep two divisions busy.
“So Charles [former lightweight champ Charles Oliveira], or whoever gets that belt, nothing but respect – I’d love to move up, get that double champ status, and if I get both belts, I’ll keep them both busy. Let’s go.”
In a video posted after the fight, you can hear Volkanovski telling someone he thinks he broke his hand in the first round – making the win even more impressive.
Israel Adesanya followed suit, also keeping his belt in a comfortable decision win over Jared Cannonier.
A highly-eventful main card was kicked off by a nasty eye poke forcing a no contest between Pedro Munhoz and Sean O’Malley, before both Bryan Barbarena and Alex Pereira secured the biggest wins of their careers, with brutal punches stopping Robbie Lawler and Sean Strickland, respectively.
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