Alexander Volkanovski has been an impossible puzzle to crack in the featherweight division.
At 145 pounds, the reigning UFC champion is 10-0 inside the Octagon. That record includes victories over Chad Mendes, José Aldo, Brian Ortega, and “The Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung.
Most impressive, however, is his three-fight series with Max Holloway. While “Alexander the Great” emerged victorious from two tight contests in 2019 and 2020, their 2022 rematch was far from competitive.
At UFC 276 last July, Alexander Volkanovski delivered a five-round beatdown on “Blessed,” the likes of which hadn’t been seen before.
While the Australian suffered his first UFC loss this past February when he shot for champ-champ status at lightweight, he remains undefeated in the division he rules over.
The question is, what will it take to add the first blemish to Volkanovski’s 145-pound slate? According to one contender, having a “great f*cking fight.”
Calvin Kattar: ‘You Have To Beat Alexander Volkanovski With IQ’
During a recent interview with Current MMA, Calvin Kattar gave his assessment of Volkanovski‘s well-rounded skillset and what is needed to crack the always evolving puzzle he presents inside the Octagon.
Aside from the need for everything to go his way, “The Boston Finisher” noted the importance of putting Alexander Volkanovski on the back foot and finding a way to outsmart a champ widely regarded as one of the most intelligent fighters competing on MMA’s biggest stage.
“He’s a very smart fighter,” Kattar said. “You just gotta — I think Yair (Rodríguez) presents certain things that are tough to prepare for as well. You definitely can’t fight (Volkanovski) stupid. Then again, a little dangerous is good I think. I’d love the opportunity to go in there and compete against him. I gotta earn that one.
“But as far as beating him, you know, you just gotta go out and have a great f*cking fight. It’s gotta be your night. I don’t know, man. For me, it’s just going in and outworking him, pushing him back. He’s real good, man, in the scrambles. You’re gonna have to beat him with IQ, and he’s a really smart, intelligent fighter. You’re gonna have your hands full,” Kattar continued. “He’s up there with the pound-for-pound best fighters in the world for a reason.”
It seems like a fresh challenger will step up to the plate this summer, with interim titleholder Rodríguez expected to share the Octagon with Volkanovski at UFC 290, slated for International Fight Week in July.
Kattar, meanwhile, remains on the sidelines after suffering a torn ACL in his headline clash against Arnold Allen last October. The #7-ranked contender will look to begin a charge towards the title when he makes his comeback later this year.