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Morning Report: Alexander Volkanovski predicts UFC 298 result, says Ilia Topuria is ‘gonna be embarrassed’


Alexander Volkanovski has a chip on his shoulder ahead of his big featherweight title defense at UFC 298 this Saturday night in Anaheim, Calif.

“The Great” 26-3 Australian legend isn’t old. He isn’t bad. He isn’t washed up. He isn’t any of these narratives he may have created in his head or been told by deluded voices before taking on the undefeated 14-0 Spanish superstar Ilia Topuria. Volkanovski is still the 145-pound champion of the world, a supremely well-rounded fighter, and quite literally what his nickname indicates.

Volkanovski, 35, is a proven master of this mixed martial arts things we know and love, which makes sense to see how he’s built and found motivation in these fictitious manners. Few if any of his previous opponents have presented such an unshakeable confidence as the 27-year-old Topuria. Sure, Brian Ortega slightly got under Volkanovski’s skin throughout the pair’s build through The Ultimate Fighter 29 (TUF) in 2021. What makes this defense different is the combination of Topuria’s talent level and confidence plus Volkanovski’s return to the division after a tough first-round knockout at lightweight against the champion, Islam Makhachev.

No mental struggles, no short notice, and no boozing around, this one has Volkanovski chomping at the bit.

“The good thing is about someone like that, I’m always trying to fight or find a No. 1 guy,” Volkanovski said on his YouTube channel. “A clear contender for me to face in this featherweight division and Ilia is it, right? He was the next, it’s clear. They signed the date. I actually wanted him straight after Yair [Rodriguez]. I told him come jump the fence and get a faceoff because he was undefeated. I didn’t want anyone else fighting him. I wanted to make sure I got a young, hungry undefeated guy that’s got hype around him.

“He likes to talk. So, it’s easy to get motivated for this, right? I need to do nothing to hype up this fight. Let him do the talking and I’ll do the walking February 17, 18 in Australia. Do work, humble him, and show the world again — remind them and let him know that he’s still got a way’s to go until he’s up at the top. I’m gonna show him that.”

Volkanovski rebounded spectacularly after his first loss to Makhachev by unanimous decision at UFC 284 one year ago today. The featherweight king went on to International Fight Week 2023 and walloped his interim champion opponent Rodriguez. The third-round TKO stoppage was one of Volkanovski’s best performances and silenced doubters who thought he’d finally be unseated after he lost for the first time in the octagon.

Rodriguez is a more experienced and established fighter than Topuria at this point and has had his growing pains. Former champions Frankie Edgar and Max Holloway say hello. With Topuria, Volkanovski plans to play the teacher role.

“Prediction is I teach him a good lesson,” Volkanovski said. “He’s gonna be embarrassed, eat some of his words, and it’s gonna be maybe the start of his journey. He’s young, he is confident, I’ll humble him, he’ll bounce back and start after I give him a good beating. Round two, I think. I think I crumble him in the first.

“I’m not saying that he’s gonna be an easy fight, but I think just how confident he is, he hasn’t been able to prove that. I prove that every time I step in this gym. I push myself to the limits. I don’t know if he does. He doesn’t act like it so I’m gonna push him, and I think I crumble him inside one and I get the finish soon after that.”

Game. MMA world reacts to Kansas City Chiefs Super Bowl win: ‘Where is the UFC 300 main event fight announcement?’

Swerve. Jon Jones says he turned down UFC 300 headliner, future fight against Tom Aspinall ‘not off the table’

Resume. Report: Israel Adesanya’s self-titled New Zealand subdivision latest addition to $20M portfolio

Silly. Donald Cerrone endorses Power Slap if you want to ‘hear CTE brain damage’: ‘Not even I would do this’

Upset. Jack Hermansson refused to be ‘stepping stone’ for Joe Pyfer, calls for fights with Nassourdine Imavov or Khamzat Chimaev

Comeback. Kevin Lee explains decision to return from retirement, reveals timeline to fight again after ACL surgery

Planning. Coach: Ilia Topuria’s style is ‘a good fight’ for Sean O’Malley — and Topuria knows it

$$$. UFC Vegas 86 bonuses: Dan Ige lives up to his nickname with monster $50,000 knockout

Lesson. ‘Different ball game’: Pros react to Jack Hermansson’s gutsy upset win over Joe Pyfer at UFC Vegas 86

UFC Vegas 86 Post Show.

UFC 298 Countdown.

Class with Jones.

Sugar Champ Camp.


Pereira’s checks.

An Almighty Food Tour



New Year.



Little by little.

Very much so.


Stupid choices get you stupid results.

And the follow-up rant.


Random Thatch sighting.

He went into business for himself!

Bad news.

Juice week.

Staying busy.

Zero creativity.

Learning lesson.

Another year.

Heavyweight gilly?!

Should be good.

Not bad.



Philipe Lins (17-5) vs. Ion Cutelaba (17-9-1, 1 NC); UFC 299, March 9

Igor Da Silva (8-0) vs. André Lima (7-0); UFC Vegas 89, March 23

Maheshate Hayisaer (9-3) vs. Gabriel Benitez (23-12); UFC Fight Night, April 27

Joanderson Brito (16-3-1) vs. Jack Shore (17-1); UFC 301, May 4

Jake Hadley (10-2) vs. Charles Johnson (14-6); UFC Fight Night, May 11

Emily Ducote (13-8) vs. Vanessa Demopoulos (10-5); UFC Fight Night, May 18

Joselyne Edwards (13-5) vs. Ailín Pérez (9-2); UFC 302, June 1

I think Volkanovski vs. Topuria has the potential to be one of those Fight of the Year caliber battles or a lopsided beating in either direction. No other option (knock on wood).

Also, Strickland gets triggered in bizarre ways, man.

Thanks for reading and happy Monday! Who all watched the game last night?

Last Week’s Results:

Friday: 54% of 335 total votes answered “Joe Pyfer and Dan Ige” when asked, “Who wins at UFC Vegas 86?” Jack Hermansson defeated Pyfer via unanimous decision and Ige defeated Andre Fili via first-round knockout (punch) at 2:43.

56% of 218 total votes answered “Kansas City Chiefs” when asked, “Who wins Super Bowl LVIII?” The Chiefs defeated the 49ers 25-22 with three seconds left in overtime.

Thursday: 63% of 419 total votes answered “No” when asked, “Do you believe Colby Covington’s injury claims?”

Wednesday: 74% of 527 total votes answered “Tony Ferguson” when asked, “Who of the three that he mentioned interests you most for Kevin Lee?”

Tuesday: 55% of 679 total votes answered “Winner of Geoff Neal vs. Ian Machado Garry” when asked, “Who should Colby Covington fight next?”

Monday: 57% of 368 total votes answered “Yes” when asked, “Is Sean O’Malley vs. Marlon ‘Chito’ Vera the biggest fight in the UFC bantamweight division?”

Today’s exit poll:


Who wins this weekend?

  • 70%

    Alexander Volkanovski

    (39 votes)

55 votes total

Vote Now

If you find something you’d like to see in the Morning Report, hit up @DrakeRiggs_ on Twitter and let him know about it. Also, follow MMAFighting on Instagram and like us on Facebook.

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