Volkanovski defeated Holloway by split decision to capture the 145-pound championship at UFC 245 in December 2019. He narrowly defeated Holloway in the rematch at UFC 251 by split decision in a fight many believed Holloway won.
The opening minute of the fight was leg kick heavy for both men. Volkanovski connected with right hands. He taunted Holloway and began putting together combinations. A left hand wobbled Holloway at the midway mark of the round. The pace picked up in the finale minute with both fighters landing.
They wasted no time mixing it up in the second frame. Holloway pressed forward but Volkanovski was beating the former champion to the punch. Holloway continued to pressure Volkanovski. Volkanovski closed the distance and engaged the clinch. He was unable to take Holloway down and Holloway circled free. A right hand opened up a nasty cut over Holloway’s left eye.
Holloway continued to pressure Volkanovski and began utilizing more kicks. Volkanovski’s hand speed was on display through the first three frames landing multiple punch combinations. Volkanovski tied Holloway up along the cage but quickly separated. Every time Holloway closed the distance, Volkanovski met him with a flurry of punches. The round ended with Holloway connecting with a clean right hand.
Volkanovski continued to land regularly in the fourth frame. Holloway targeted Volkanovski’s body with kicks. Holloway changed levels and looked to get the fight to the ground but Volkanovski stuffed the takedown attempt. The remainder of the round played out at distance with Volkanovski landing his jab and Holloway employing kicks.
Heading into the final round, it looked as if Holloway needed a finish to win. Holloway looked to get the fight to the ground in the early going of the round, but Volkanovski’s takedown defense proved too much. Holloway attempted another takedown midway through the frame, but again Volkanovski shook off the attempt. Volkanovski continued to connect with combinations and outclassed Holloway.
The fight went the distance but Volkanovski left no doubt about who was the better fighter. His third win over Holloway was a dominating performance. All three judges scored the fight 50-45 for the champion.
During his post-fight interview with commentator Joe Rogan, Volkanovski announced his plans to move up to the lightweight division to try and become a double champion.
“I just proved to you that I want to be in this octagon as much as possible. I want to be busy. I don’t think this division (featherweight) itself can keep me busy. I want to move up and become double champ and I’ll keep two divisions busy,” Volkanovski said.