Shocking Upset: Topuria Dethrones Volk in Stunning Knockout at UFC 298

UFC 298 witnessed a seismic shift in the Featherweight division as Ilia Topuria, the undefeated challenger, delivered a thunderous knockout in the second round to claim the championship belt from Alexander Volkanovski. While many anticipated a close fight, Topuria delivered an unquestionable and decisive KO to claim the title and bring the belt back to Spain.

Volkanovski’s Questions: Echoes of the Last KO?

Despite entering the fight with an impressive record, Volkanovski had only recently recovered from his first career knockout loss, which raised questions about his immediate return to competition. Could lingering effects have played a role?

Concerns Linger: While Volkanovski showcased his trademark precision striking early, some saw lingering hesitation, particularly in defending against right hands and Topuria’s calf kicks. 

Topuria’s Ascent: From Underdog to Unstoppable

While Topuria entered as the 27 year old challenger, he fought with the confidence of a champion, and calm of a more mature fighter. He will be a very hard young man to dethrone.

Undefeated and Hungry: Topuria, maintaining his unblemished record, demonstrated exceptional timing and precision. His right hand, delivered the KO blow to backup the hype.

Adaptability and Opportunistic Brilliance: Topuria expertly read Volkanovski and exploited the pattern he stayed to with little adjustment. This ability to adapt and seize opportunities is a hallmark of a great team and smart fighter.

The New Featherweight King: Topuria’s reign begins with a bang, raising intriguing questions about the division’s future.

Volkanovski’s Redemption Arc: After suffering another defeat by KO, Volkanovski embarks on a critical journey. He immediately was speaking of a rematch but with a lopsided KO loss, he may be forced to fight his way back.

Topuria’s Title Defense: As the newly crowned champion, Topuria faces a hungry pack of contenders. With Volk being an uncrackable code for former champ and current challenger, Max Holloway, if he successfully wins the BMF belt at UFC 300, this could be the match to make for Topuria.

What can we take back to the gym?

Volk made little adjustments. He stayed on the counter kick strategy against Topuria’s punches. The big hole was backing out chin high and straight back. This left him open for the right hand. The fatal mistake was circling to the power side all night.

Standing in front of power or not, you have to keep the chin tucked and move away from your opponent’s power side. When pressed, you should stay with circling and cutting angles instead of going straight back. Moving in straight lines makes you a much easier target to hit and almost invites counter attacks.

No matter what level you train or compete at, having an analytical view of fights helps in mastering your craft. Some days we are simply fans, but take the time to learn things you can apply.

Another fun night of fights! See you on the mats!

Brian Wright

Killer B Combat Sports Academy