Morning Report: Alexander Volkanovski believes he’s going to ‘break’ Brian Ortega


Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

For the last year, the UFC featherweight title has been held up by the ongoing rivalry between current champion Alexander Volkanovski and former champion Max Holloway. In October though, former title challenger Brian Ortega outclassed Chan Sung Jung, inserting himself into the title conversation once again. It was a performance that surprised and impressed the featherweight champion.

“It took me by surprise because I didn’t expect him to fight, I wouldn’t say fight smart, but his shot selection, a couple of things that I just didn’t expect,” Volkanovski told SCMP MMA (h/t The Body Lock). “I thought he would just be looking for the finish, that’s what he does.

“… But there, he showed patience, shot selection, fakes — a lot of things that we work on. Whether he took some notes out of our book, I don’t know, but he’s obviously stepped it up and he looked good.”

The performance from Ortega was an excellent one and showed a great deal of improvement since his loss to Holloway. Plus, given that Volkanovski already has two wins over Holloway, albeit the second one controversially, Ortega appears to be next up for the featherweight champion. It’s something Volkanovski has been asking for since winning the belt – new challengers – and it’s an opportunity he is ready for.

“It’s exciting for me but at the same time, I really do believe I’m just on a whole other level and I’m so well-rounded, I can take the fight wherever it is,” Volkanovski said. “I’m the guy that never quits. With me, it’s so easy to say I’m well-rounded but it goes so much deeper than that. There are so many little things that I just have down to a tee and I work so hard to make sure that I am such a complete fighter that if someone gives me trouble somewhere, I can always take it somewhere else. . .

“I believe I’m going to break him. The way that Max did, I believe that’s somewhere I can go with. Especially with my pressuring style. This is a fun fight for me because I get to put the pressure on. I get to be in his face which is fun and people want to see that.”

Volkanovski didn’t just stop there, though. The featherweight champion went on to explain, given how successful he is in the training gym against the current middleweight champion, Israel Adesanya, that Ortega will be a simple task to handle.

“… There’s levels to this,” Volkanovski said. “I believe my pressure, when I use it, my pressure’s on a whole ‘nother level that not many people in the world have felt. Izzy, Israel Adesanya said himself that I’m half his size and when we’re sparring, he realizes this guy is pressuring me, getting me on the backfoot. ‘Wait a minute, this guy is half my size, I can’t let that happen.’ So he stands his ground. Before he knows it, he’s on the backfoot worrying about what I’m doing. … That’s something that you don’t understand until I’m standing in front of you.”

The the fight is not official yet, Volkanovksi vs. Ortega is expected to be made for early this year.


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VIDEO STEW

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LISTEN UP

On to the Next One. A 2021 predictions extravaganza.


SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE

Necesarry.

Beef.

Matchmaking.

Gray Maynard on his contracts with the UFC.

Staying busy.

Lol.

Mike Perry having a normal one.


FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENTS

Dalcha Lungiambula (10-2) vs. Markus Perez (12-4); UFC Fight Night, Jan. 20.

Dan Hooker (20-9) vs. Michael Chandler (21-5); UFC 257, Jan. 23.


FINAL THOUGHTS

Welcome to 2021, you hooligans. Let’s hope it’s better than last year.

Thanks for reading and see y’all tomorrow.


EXIT POLL


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