Ilia Topuria has a bold prediction for his first UFC championship fight.
The undefeated featherweight contender sees himself not only dethroning champion Alexander Volkanovski at UFC 298, but also finishing him – and in the first round. Volkanovski has yet to lose at 145 pounds in his 10-year career as a professional MMA fighter. Yet Topuria (14-0 MMA, 6-0 UFC) is certain he will get the job done against Volkanovski (26-3 MMA, 13-2 UFC) come Feb. 17.
“I see myself finishing him in the first round – knockout,” Topuria told UFC Español. “It’s most likely going to be a knockout unless he dives for my legs. I’m going to put his lights out.”
Topuria thinks the time at the top has expired for Volkanovski, who’s now 35. He sees himself as an upgrade to Volkanovski.
“I’m part of the new generation of MMA,” Topuria said. “I bring an evolved style in all areas of the sport: on the feet, in the wrestling, in the grappling. I consider myself a far more complete and effective finisher than Volkanovski.
“The experience is on his side, but the young blood is on my side. This is my moment. God’s timing is perfect, and He’s prepared me for this moment. There won’t be any failure.”
Topuria is a little less than two weeks from the championship fight. He says the majority of the work is done and is happy with the preparation he’s had ahead of the biggest fight in his career.
“I’m not going to say it’s been the toughest camp because every camp we do is always hard, but I will say it’s been the most professional camp I’ve ever done,” Topuria said. “We’ve done a deep analysis on my opponent, and we’re prepared for the fight.”
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