- Date: Sunday, Feb 18
- Main Card Time: 04:00 GMT
- Location: Honda Center in Anaheim, CA
- Volkanovski vs Topuria
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Tale of the Tape
Check out the stats on the two fighters.
|(FW) 145 lbs
|(FW – C) Alexander Volkanovski
|(FW ) Ilia Topuria
|26 – 3 -0
|14 – 0 – 0
Odds from BetVictor. Odds are accurate as of 09/02/24, 15:00. Odds subject to change
Volkanovsk takes on Topuria in huge undisputed featherweight clash
Alexander Volkanovsk returns to featherweight to defend his title against Ilia Topuria. Check out the best MMA bookies.
Volk is one of the true workhorses of the UFC and a generational talent, make no mistake. Coming off a tough KO loss on two weeks’ notice against Islam Makhachev at 155, the Featherweight Champ is scheduled to defend his title against one of the meteoric risers, Ilia Topuria, in the division. What Volk has going for him is what’s always been. The man’s both calculated and aggressive. When you combine that with a bottomless gas tank, he more than compensates for the height advantage he gives up in almost every fight. Alex has one the highest paces in the division, landing 57% of significant strikes at a clip of 6.19 landed per minute. His switch stance gives him an additional axis’ of movement, as his ability to close distance and get back out has proved a problem for the majority of his opponents.
Ilia’s rise is not at all a surprise. The German-born Georgian has been on a tear throughout his entire MMA career, coming at 14-0 at just 26 years old. Fighting out of Alicante, Spain, Ilia is probably the most technically sound striker in the division, at least when it comes to throwing hands. He lands at a more average rate of 4.44 Landed Per Min with 46% accuracy, but all 4.44 of those strikes are ill-intentioned. Topuria is one of few MMA fighters who mix up levels well during their punching combinations and sets up his overhand with a devastating lead uppercut to the body. Ilia puts everything into everything he throws, leaving questions about his gas tank walking into his first set of Championship Rounds. If that were all Ilia had to his game, you’d think he already be a problem. However, he’s cerebral on the ground finishing over 60% of fights on the ground despite a 90% takedown defense, meaning he doesn’t go down there unless he wants to.
Based on resumes alone, of course, Volk is expected to come in here and take Topuria’s head off. That’s not impossible at all, and it may even be likely according to the books. However, Volk came off a shin-to-head just a few months ago. He only had two weeks’ notice before that fight and is fighting months later, which we’d imagine he had to be sick a few weeks on concussion protocol. It’s hard to believe we will get 100% of Volk in this bout, and Ilia is the young ladder stepper who often comes up to take the crown from the king when he’s down. Volk’s octagon generalship and Ilia’s gas tank will be the deciding factors in this fight. I believe Ilia will be a little throwback when he hits Volk with the kitchen sink and he’s still there pressing well into the later rounds. There, we’ll find out if he is of championship stock or the next division Gate Keeper.
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Our tip: Volkanovski DEC
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