Knockdown Daily 9/26/21: Alexander Volkanovski Goes Five Rounds With Brian Ortega To Defend Belt
Alexander Volkanovski's five-round performance over Brian Ortega leads the MMA headlines for Sunday
Welcome to the Sunday edition of the Knockdown Daily. This issue is all about UFC 266, with an update on the upcoming pay-per-view show as well.
Alexander Volkanovski had a hard-fought, successful title fight against Brian Ortega on Saturday, defeating him via unanimous decision in a UFC Featherweight Championship bout (49-46, 50-45 & 50-44).
The fight headlined UFC 266, a pay-per-view event that took place at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA.
While scores reflected that Volkanovski took all, or at least most rounds on scorecards, the fight was undoubtedly a challenge. Ortega showcased his toughness and ability to be a threat on the ground in what was a losing performance.
Volkanovski opened the fight with two good rounds of kickboxing, landing the better shots against a game Ortega.
Ortega’s best moments were when the fight hit the ground, although in many instances it opened up other opportunities for Volkanovski to do damage.
Ortega had Volkanovski in trouble in the third round, getting the fight down with a mounted guillotine choke that looked deep. Volkanovski was able to escape the choke and take full mount on top, where he landed some punches. Ortega later countered with a triangle choke attempt. Escaping that attempt as well, Volkanovski unleashed more hard strikes until the round ran out of time.
A hurt and tired Ortega remained on the floor for a moment after the third round expired.
The fight was nearly stopped before the fourth round, as a doctor expressed concern over the swelling around the right eye of Ortega.
Ortega secured a body lock takedown in the fourth round with another choke attempt, although Volkanovski was quick to escape this time. A large amount of ground and pound strikes came from Volkanovski again in this position.
The fight remained close in the final round, as a fatiguing Volkanovski slowed down against a still active Ortega.
Volkanovski was appearing after a year out of the cage. He defended his belt for the first time last year, fighting to a split decision against former champ Max Holloway in a rematch.
Ortega was challenging for a belt for the second time in his career. He had previously gone five rounds against Holloway in 2018, getting pulled after the fourth round due to a doctor stoppage.
Ortega sprung back into the title picture last year after a dominant five-round win over The Korean Zombie.
The fight between Ortega and Volkanovski was given a “Fight of the Night” award for UFC 266, giving both fighters an extra $50,000 on top of their previously negotiated fight purse.
Valentina Shevchenko Defends Belt For Sixth Time
Valentina Shevchenko’s dominant UFC Flyweight Championship run had yet another strong showcase on Saturday night, stopping Lauren Murphy in the fourth round with strikes.
Shevchenko had a near-perfect performance against Murphy, showcasing stellar striking and often getting the fight to the ground for periods of time as well.
Shevchenko finally zeroed in on a finish in the fourth round.
Shevchenko backed Murphy up during the round with a series of punches. She eventually closed the distance and secured a takedown, allowing her to unload with ground and pound for over a minute, maintaining a pace of strikes until the referee stopped the fight.
Shevchenko has now defended her belt six times since earning it in late 2018. Her previous title win was in April, defeating former strawweight champ Jessica Andrade in the second round with strikes.
Despite being a massive underdog on Saturday, Murphy was the clear next contender for the belt. She entered Saturday on a five-fight win streak, including a win three months ago against Joanne Calderwood.
Merab Dvalsihvili and Chris Daukaus Given ‘Performance of the Night’ Award
Merab Dvalishvili and Chris Daukaus were given $50,000 “Performance of the Night” bonuses for their successful performances on the UFC 266 prelims.
Dvalishvili scored the first stoppage win of his seven-fight win streak in the final prelim, finishing Marlon Moraes in the second round. The TKO finish came after Moraes had Dvalishvili in trouble earlier in the fight.
Daukaus continued his streak of finish wins in the UFC, stopping the returning Shamil Abdurakhimov in the second round. He finished the heavyweight with punches, dropping him with a right hook before ending the fight on the ground.
Here are the quick results for the card:
Early Prelims (6:00PM EDT / 3:00PM PDT) (UFC Fight Pass)
Bout 1: Jonathan Pearce def. Omar Morales via Submission, Rear Naked Choke (RD 2, 3:31)
Bout 2: Matthew Semelsberger def. Martin Sano via TKO, Strikes (RD 1, 0:15)
Bout 3: Nick Maximov def. Cody Brundage via Decision, Unanimous
Bout 4: Jalin Turner def. Uros Medic via Submission, Rear Naked Choke (RD 1, 4:01)
Preliminary Card (8:00PM EDT / 5:00PM PDT) (ESPN+ / TSN 4)
Bout 5: Taila Santos def. Roxanne Modafferi via Decision, Unanimous
Bout 6: Chris Daukaus def. Shamil Abdurakhimov via TKO, Strikes (RD 2, 1:23)
Bout 7: Dan Hooker def. Nasrat Haqparast via Decision, Unanimous
Bout 8: Merab Dvalishvili def. Marlon Moraes via TKO, Strikes (RD 2, 4:25)
Main Card (10:00PM EDT / 7:00PM PDT) (PPV)
Bout 9: Jessica Andrade def. Cynthia Calvillo via TKO, Strikes (RD 1, 4:54)
Bout 10: Curtis Blaydes def. Jairzinho Rozenstruick via Decision, Unanimous
Bout 11: Robbie Lawler def. Nick Diaz via TKO, Strikes (RD 3, 0:44)
Bout 12: Valentina Shevchenko def. Lauren Murphy (RD 4, 4:00) (UFC Flyweight Championship)
Bout 13: Alexander Volkanovski def. Brian Ortega via Decision, Unanimous (UFC Featherweight Championship)
The bantamweight division’s biggest rivalry currently has received yet another twist in its story.
UFC Bantamweight Champion Aljamain Sterling won’t be able to have his rematch against Petr Yan at the promotion’s October 30th event, as he has reportedly withdrawn from his matchup due to injury.
News of Sterling’s withdrawal was first reported by Mike Heck and Damon Martin of MMA Fighting. The bout was scheduled to take place at UFC 267, which is set to happen at the Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
Sterling became the 135-pound champ in March, as an illegal knee by Yan in the fourth round of action caused him a disqualification. Before then, Yan had earned the belt with a victory over Jose Aldo in 2020.
Sterling was given the title bout after a strong five-fight win streak from 2018 to 2020.
Despite Sterling, the champion, withdrawing from the card, Yan could reportedly still fight on that date. While nothing has been confirmed, the promotion is reportedly looking to put the former champ in an interim title fight against Cory Sandhagen per reports from MMA Junkie and Ariel Helwani.
UFC 267 is still currently expected to have a fight between UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jax Blachowicz and Glover Teixeira in the main event.
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