Brian Ortega: ‘Alexander Volkanovski is a decision fighter’ | Video

No. 2 ranked featherweight contender Brian Ortega faces champion Alexander Volkanovski at UFC 266 on Sept. 26 after coaching opposite him on The Ultimate Fighter 29.

Ortega (15-1, 1 NC) is coming off a one-sided decision win over “The Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung in his last outing. He’s faced former titleholder Max Holloway prior to the Jung bout and learned a lesson in defeated about what it takes to compete at the top of the division.

Volkanvoski captured the title by defeating Holloway at UFC 245 in December 2019. He edged out “Blessed” in a rematch at UFC 251 in July 2020 by split decision. Watching the two bouts between Holloway and Volkanovski, Ortega saw some things that might help him defeat the champion when the two meet this fall.

“I took things from both sides. I look at Max, how he kind of kept the same pace and that routine that he always has. Then I looked a Volkanovki and the different strategies that he did in terms of how to win the rounds, how to manipulate judges’ right decisions when it comes to being in there,” Ortega told MMAWeekly.

“How do you win rounds? That’s something that hasn’t been really a big factor for neither Max’s or my career. We are two people who fight for the finish. Then when you take a guy like Volkanovski, who is a decision fighter, then you go okay, this guy is looking for the decision. If he gets a finish, he’ll take it, but that’s not his go-to.”

Ortega admitted that he’s had to change is mental approach and try to suppress his natural tendency to slug it out.

“I don’t play the decision game. I go in there and I get in your face and I want to bang it out and see which man’s will breaks. But there’s levels to this game. You have to realize you have to dance according to the music, and that’s who you’re fighting,” he said.

“Sometimes, it’s possible that you don’t get a finish because you have to fight so smart. It’s such a high-level chess game that you can’t bring that side out of you.”

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