Will Volkanovski defend his strap? | The Sporting Base

Will Volkanovski defend his strap?

September 24, 2021

Will Volkanovski defend his strap?

UFC featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski returns to the octagon on Sunday (AEDT) to face Brian Ortega in the main event of UFC266.

Scheduled for the T-Mobile arena in Las Vegas, the Australian is putting his undefeated UFC record (9-0) on the line along with his strap.

Volkanovski won the title against Max Holloway in December 2019 and has since defended the belt once in a rematch with the Hawaiian who is arguably the best featherweight in UFC history.

As for his opponent, Ortega comes into the fight following a unanimous decision victory over Chan Sung Jung in November last year. He has challenged for the belt once when Holloway battered the American for four rounds, leading the doctor to stop the fight before the final round.

It will be an interesting match-up on Sunday afternoon, Ortega is well-renowned for his ground game and has seven submissions to his name. Despite this fact, Ortega was the first fighter to knock out former UFC lightweight champion Frankie Edgar who went on a 28-fight streak of never being finished. Since then, Edgar has been stopped twice by knockout.

The challenge for Volkanovski is finding his range. With 11 knockouts in 22 fights, the power is there for the Australian to use and he will be hoping to land his first non-decision victory in a championship fight.

Meanwhile, in the co-main event slot, Valentina Shevchenko is ready for her sixth defence of the UFC flyweight strap. She comes up against Lauren Murphy who has recorded two finishes on the way to a five-fight win streak. The 38-year-old has never been finished in her career as Shevchenko eyes another spectacular knockout victory on her record.

After spending more than six years away from fighting, Nick Diaz returns against former opponent Robbie Lawler who he knocked out at UFC 47 in 2004. It has been over 17 years since their first fight, although the bout is scheduled to be at middleweight as Diaz requested a change in weight.

Former UFC strawweight champion Jessica Andrade will kick off the main card as she returns following her defeat to Shevchenko at UFC261. Cynthia Calvillo will be her opponent.

New Zealand’s Dan Hooker will face Nasrat Haqparast with both fighters struggling with VISA issues to enter America. The fight will go ahead and it will be a tough contest in the lightweight division.

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