Holloway had won 14 consecutive featherweight fights after his loss long ago to Conor McGregor. The only other blip on his radar was a defeat at the hands of Dustin Poirier in a battle for the interim UFC lightweight championship.
He rebounded from the loss to Poirier with a dominant decision over former lightweight champion Frankie Edgar.
Holloway’s rebound was short-lived, however, as Volkanovski put the perfect game plan to immediate and continuous effect throughout their UFC 245 co-main event bout.
Holloway tried to get his jab going early, but had some trouble finding a home for it, as Volkanovski darted in and out, landing low leg kicks throughout the opening round. Volkanovski was trying to set up big power punches throughout the round, but the low kicks were his best weapon, as he chopped at the champion’s legs.
It was a strategy that the Australian used throughout the fight, which lasted the full five championship frames.
Volkanovski kept his attack on point throughout the fight, relentlessly attacking Holloway’s lead leg, forcing him to eventually switch stances.
Holloway tried throughout the fight to get his jab going. He certainly had his moments where he would land a stinging combination, but not with the frenetic pace and astounding variety to which we have become accustomed seeing from him.
After five rounds, the three judges all saw it in favor of Volkanovski, issuing scores of 48-47, 48-47, and 50-45, as the Aussie dethroned one of the greatest featherweight champions of all time.
There was no animosity between Holloway and Volkanovski before or after the fight.
“He’s a great champion, nothing but respect. He’s one of the GOATs. I’ve taken out two of the GOATs now,” said Volkanovski, referring to Holloway and former champion Jose Aldo, who lost his bantamweight debut earlier in the evening.
Having taken the belt from one of the greats, Volkanovski doesn’t intend for the Blessed Era to be rekindled any time soon.
“Mate, this is what we do. This is what we always look forward too. We’ve had great champions in this division… Aldo was a great champion, Max was a great champion, I promise to be a great champion too,” he said.
“I’m so composed, I’ve got the good fight IQ… I’m gonna stay champion for a long time.”