Home Sport News Volkanovski beats Rodriguez with third-round TKO for featherweight title at UFC 290

Volkanovski beats Rodriguez with third-round TKO for featherweight title at UFC 290

Volkanovski beats Rodriguez with third-round TKO for featherweight title at UFC 290


LAS VEGAS (AP) — After briefly flirting with the light-weight division, Alexander Volkanovski returned to featherweight and confirmed Saturday night time why he’s nonetheless the most effective in that weight.

Volkanovski re-asserted himself because the champion with a technical knockout over Yair Rodriguez at 4:19 of the third spherical in UFC 290.

Rodriguez was the interim champion after Volkanovski quickly moved as much as light-weight, however the Australian left little doubt who the higher fighter in working his report to 26-2 in what was scheduled as a five-round bout.

“There was a little bit of worry … understanding how harmful he was,” Volkanovski mentioned. “That’s the trustworthy fact. I put in my head. This week, I flipped the change due to the respect I’ve for him. Now I’m a champion. I’m the king of the division. Nobody’s ever stopped me.”

Former President Donald Trump, who’s working for the Republican nomination in 2024, was amongst these in attendance. He entered the venue shortly earlier than the primary card started, strolling subsequent to UFC President Dana White and drawing roars from the sold-out T-Cellular Enviornment crowd of 19,204. Trump shook fingers with Las Vegas Raiders star defensive finish Maxx Crosby, a significant UFC fan who sat behind him. Jamal Murray of the NBA champion Denver Nuggets additionally had a ground seat.

White mentioned the gate was $9.75 million.

“I feel you couldn’t have topped off a greater Worldwide Struggle Week,” White mentioned. “The power was off the charts. It was an ideal night time.”

Volkanovski, a minus-390 favourite based on FanDuel Sportsbook, took Rodriguez (16-4) to the mat close to the 2-minute mark of the primary spherical and stored him there to dictate the tempo. That turned a theme because the second spherical performed out a lot the identical approach, with Volkanovski, 34, additionally delivering a number of photographs to Rodriguez’s face.

Rodriguez, who’s from Mexico, then took the combat to Volkanovski within the third spherical, stopping the bottom and pound with a collection of kicks to place him on the protection. However with a minute left, Volkanovski slammed Rodriguez, 30, to the mat and pounded him with rights and lefts earlier than referee Herb Dean stepped in.

Rodriguez was despatched to the hospital.

This was Volkanovski’s first combat since a loss by unanimous resolution to light-weight champion light-weight Islam Makhachev on Feb. 11. That ended Volkanovski’s 22-fight profitable streak, and after the transient elevation to light-weight, he dropped again right down to featherweight for this combat.

Earlier than shifting up, Volkanovski had received 5 titles fights to make a robust argument as finest featherweight of all time. He additionally has been within the dialog for high present pound-for-pound fighter, and Volkanovski is second within the UFC’s official rankings to Jon Jones.

“I’m actually coming for all of the information,” Volkanovski mentioned. “I’m fairly near knocking a couple of of these of, however lots of objectives forward. I is likely to be on this place proper now, however I assure I’ll be within the health club subsequent week busting my ass once more.”

The Volkanovski-Rodriguez match highlighted the Worldwide Struggle Week card that included a second championship bout.

Brazil’s Alexandre Pantoja captured the flyweight belt by beating champion Brandon Moreno of Mexico, profitable by cut up resolution, with each fighters taken to a hospital after the bout. White mentioned Moreno had a damaged hand.

Judges Derek Cleary and Junichiro Kamijo gave the Pantoja the victory at 48-47 within the five-round combat, however Ben Cartlidge noticed the bout fairly otherwise with a 49-46 rating in favor of Moreno.

Pantoja (26-5) collapsed to the mat after the choice was introduced. He has overwhelmed Moreno (21-7-2) in all three conferences.

“I labored so onerous,” Pantoja mentioned. “I left every part I had.”

Moreno, a minus-196 favourite, dominated the second spherical, however had a tough defending Pantoja’s floor recreation within the different 4. Even so, the battle was pretty even for probably the most half, and the blood on each fighters’ faces underscored how a lot every went after the opposite.

Moreno received the belt almost a 12 months in the past and efficiently defended it in January.

Robbie Lawler, who was inducted into the UFC Corridor of Fame on Thursday, heads into retirement on a excessive observe after knocking out Niko Value simply 38 seconds into the primary spherical of their welterweight bout.

Lawler, 41, ends his profession with a 30-16 report and one no-contest. He teared up watching a video tribute to him following the combat, and the group roared chanting his first identify.

“It was a tough coaching camp,” Lawler mentioned. “Nothing felt good. Right this moment was the primary day I felt good.”



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