Two titles fights have been booked for UFC 272 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on March 5.
Featherweight champion Alexander ‘The Great’ Volkanovski (23-1 MMA, 10-0 UFC) will defend his strap against the former 145-pound kingpin, Max ‘Blessed’ Holloway. This will be the third time these fighters have collided in the Octagon.
The 30-year-old Holloway (23-6 MMA, 19-6 UFC) initially won the featherweight title by scoring a third-round knockout win over Jose Aldo at UFC 212 in Rio on June 3 of 2017. Aldo, the long-time 145-pound champ, was granted an immediate rematch in Detroit at UFC 218 on Dec. 2.
The result was the same, though, as Holloway won by third-round KO again. The Hawaiian went on to defend his belt for a second time with a fourth-round TKO win (doctor stoppage before the fifth) over Brian Ortega at UFC 231 in Toronto.
Then on April 13 of 2019 in Atlanta at UFC 236, Holloway moved up to lightweight to face Dustin Poirier for the interim 155-pound title. Poirier won via unananimous decision (49-46, 49-46, 49-46).
Holloway went back down to featherweight and successfully retained his strap for the third time with a UD victory over Frankie Edgar at UFC 240.
However, that set up Holloway’s title defense against Volkanovski at UFC 245 on Dec. 14 of 2019. Volkanovski won by UD (48-47, 48-47, 50-45) in Las Vegas.
Holloway was granted an immediate rematch at UFC 251 on ‘Fight Island’ in Abu Dhabi on July 12 of 2020. Volkanovski captured a split-decision victory (47-48, 48-47, 48-47), but MajorWager scored the bout 49-46 in favor of Holloway.
According to MMADecisions, 18 media members had it scored 48-47 for Holloway, while eight other media members had it 48-47 for Volkanovski.
Since then, Holloway has won back-to-back scraps that both earned him and his opponents an extra $50,000 for Fight of the Night honors. First, ‘Blessed’ bested Calvin Kattar by UD (50-43, 50-43, 50-42) at UFC on ABC in Abu Dhabi on Jan. 16 of 2021. Then on Nov. 13 less than two months ago, Holloway won a UD (48-47, 49-46, 48-47) over Yair Rodriguez in a thriller.
Volkanovski has two successful title defenses to his credit after beating Ortega by UD (49-46, 50-45, 50-44) at UFC 266 this past September. He had to somehow battle out of two deep submission attempts from Ortega, one of the best Brazilian BJJ practicioners on the promotion’s roster.
When asked at his post-fight presser how deep and tight the choke attempts were, Volkanovski said, “Fuckin’ I’m about to lose the belt deep and tight.”
The 33-year-old Aussie hasn’t tasted defeat since a third-round KO loss in his fourth career pro fight in May of 2013. He’s won 20 consecutive fights.
On Wednesday (1/5/22), FanDuel opened Volkanovski as a -118 favorite vs. Holloway, but the champ is now up to -152. That leaves ‘Blessed’ as a +128 underdog. BetOnline opened Volkanovski at -150 and has now adjusted him to a -180 ‘chalk.’ Holloway is +155 at BetOnline.
In the other title fight at UFC 272, we’ll get a rematch between Petr Yan and Aljamain Sterling to unify the bantamweight belt. Yan initially won the 135-pound strap by beating Aldo via fifth-round KO at UFC 251.
In his first title defense, Yan had taken control of the fight against Sterling in the third and fourth rounds. However, with 4:29 left in Round 4, Yan inexplicably landed a vicious knee to Sterling’s head when he was on his knees. This is a clear foul, as you can’t knee or kick a downed opponent in the head area.
Therefore, Yan was disqualified and Sterling became the new bantamweight champion. An immediate rematch was booked, but Sterling had to pull out (well in advance) due to a neck injury.
During his recovery, Yan was booked to face Cory Sandhagen for the interim 135-pound belt. Yan won a UD (49-46, 49-46, 49-46) at UFC 267.
FanDuel opened Yan as a -290 ‘chalk’ and the book has already moved him to -325. Sterling is a +260 underdog.