Most trilogies come when the head-to-head score between two fighters sits at one win apiece. In the UFC 276 co-main event, Volkanovski will enter his third collision with fellow 145-pound GOAT contender Holloway 2-0 up in their series.
But despite that, given how close the pair’s UFC 245 and UFC 251 fights were, as well as both men’s form since, you’d be hard-pressed to find many complaints about the promotion’s decision to run this one back for a third time.
Since dethroning Holloway in late 2019 and defending the belt against him seven months later, Volkanovski has placed himself among the all-time featherweight greats with two further defenses. While the first saw him emerge victorious over Brian Ortega on the scorecards in a FOTY contender, the second saw him utterly dominate “The Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung en route to a fourth-round TKO.
In securing another crack at adding the first blemish to Volkanovski’s UFC record, Holloway has been similarly impressive. After delivering one of the best individual performances in UFC history against Calvin Kattar, “Blessed” made it back-to-back in a memorable five-round war with Yair Rodriguez.
With both men on fire inside the Octagon and finding themselves within the top six of the UFC’s pound-for-pound list, Holloway believes that tonight’s co-main event represents a rare spectacle, as he described to ESPN MMA’s Brett Okamoto.
“Man, (there’s) a lot (of significance), man,” Holloway said. “Talking about this fight, where is Alex ranked in the pound-for-pound rankings? (#2)… Where am I ranked in the pound-for-pound rankings? (#6). Exactly. When in the last decade did two guys at this caliber at the top (of the) pound-for-pound rankings be able to fight, you know? I don’t know.
“These fights don’t happen. In the last decade it happened once or a couple times. It’s happening again. This is why all the hardcore fans are going crazy about it. This is something special,” Holloway continued. “This means a lot. I’ve got five at home, to make this the sixth title fight win would be the cherry on top.”
Given the magnitude of their trilogy, Volkanovski and Holloway can perhaps count themselves unlucky to be co-main eventing a pay-per-view for the third time. As well as pitting the clear two best featherweights against each other, the contest also sees a pair of the UFC’s overall P4P greats colliding.
We’ll see who moves a step closer to securing 145-pound GOAT status tonight at UFC 276.
Who do you think will leave Las Vegas with the featherweight gold, Alexander Volkanovski or Max Holloway?