To say Alexander Volkanovski is at the doorstep of a world title opportunity would be an understatement.
Volkanovski scored the biggest win of his MMA career on Saturday night in one of the featured bouts of UFC 237. “The Great” travelled halfway across the globe to challenge all-time great featherweight Jose Aldo in the Brazilian’s homeland and it never affected Volkanovski in the slightest. The Aussie showed no signs of jitters or anxiety leading up to the battle and once the fight began, he controlled the action from start to finish.
Volkanovski began the duel by peppering “Junior’s” legs with low kicks as he moved side-to-side and in-and-out. His movement and pesky strikes flustered the former two-time UFC 145-pound champion, but Volkanovski never hurt Aldo with his strikes. Rather, he pecked away from a distance, nullifying Aldo’s approach while avoiding the former featherweight king’s vaunted power.
In short, the Freestyle Fighting Gym representative was nearly flawless and did everything he wanted, save for a stoppage.
“I'm undefeated,” Volkanovski said after the fight. “I think it would have been incredible if I had finished Jose Aldo in his hometown, but at the same time, I mastered for a whole fight one of the greatest fighters of all time.”
Volkanovski had “Scarface” mastered, all right. Aldo threw only a handful of his patented low kicks, didn’t connect with any fierce punches to the head and aside from a few nasty hooks to the guts, Aldo never found a rhythm or inflicted any damage. Volkanovski was so stellar inside the Octagon that even when the bout went to the judges after three rounds, Aldo didn’t receive any hometown cooking; all three officials had it for the Aussie 30-27.
“I was pretty sure I had won the last two rounds, so I was calm,” Volkanovski said. “Of course, I wanted to get the finish in the third, but I think I managed to control the fight well. Whenever I realized I was winning the round, I went for the clinch, and I did not feel that he was trying to leave.”
A winner of 17 straight bouts, including a 7-0 run thus far in the UFC, Volkanovski has more than proven himself a worthy contender for whoever will be the current champ once it’s his turn. When asked about his plans following his triumph over Aldo, Volkanovski kept it succinct: “I'm going for the title.”