Alexander Volkanovski more than likely just earned his shot at UFC gold.
On Saturday night in Rio de Janeiro, Volkanovski picked up a statement win against former champion Jose Aldo to remain undefeated in the UFC and cement his place as the No. 1 contender in the featherweight division where he hopes to face champion Max Holloway later this year.
It was a patient performance from Volkanovski throughout the fight as he stayed at distance but then began peppering away at Aldo with leg kicks on the inside and out as soon as the opening round got started.
While he’s well known for being a prolific brawler, the former rugby player was methodical in his attacks while trying to bait Aldo into a big exchange where he could show off his fight ending power.
In return, Aldo used his reach advantage to tag the Australian with a series of long, straight punches going to the head and the body on several occasions.
Still throughout the first two rounds it was Volkanovski who was landing with more volume and better regularity with his combinations.
Even when he got the chance to press Aldo against the cage, Volkanovski was controlled with his strikes as he battered the former champion’s lead leg with a barrage of knees.
While Aldo had his moments, he was definitely getting frustrated during some of those exchanges with Volkanovski was executing a picture-perfect strategy through the first 10 minutes.
The third round saw more of the same with Volkanovski putting pressure on Aldo much to the chagrin of an angry Brazilian audience. Volkanovski began working from the clinch more and more as time passed while pushing Aldo against the cage and then flurrying with punches.
Volkanovski was staying busy enough to remain in the clinch position while kneeing Aldo to the legs and then going back up top with punches to the head.
When the final horn sounded, Volkanoski put his hand up to signify the victory after the most important performance of his career to this point as he got the job done against one of the greatest champions in UFC history.
The judges all agreed with 30-27 scorecards across the board as Volkanovski got the unanimous decision win against Aldo.
Immediately after getting the win, Volkanovski turned his attention towards featherweight champion Max Holloway after solidifying his position as the No. 1 contender in the division.
— UFC (@ufc) May 12, 2019
“I’m next in line 100-percent,” Volkanovski said. “I’m the only one who’s undefeated in the top three and I should be ranked No. 1. Let’s set it up, I wouldn’t mind being on the same card in Australia. That would be a cracker of a card, let’s make it happen.”