New current champion Ilia Topuria after his victory over Josh Emmet.
New current champion Ilia Topuria after his victory over Josh Emmet.
Photo courtesy of @thefightvaults via Instagram

Ilia Topuria Shocks the World

UFC 298 delivered an electrifying night of fights, but none were as monumental as the main event featuring Alexander Volkanovski and Ilia Topuria battling for the featherweight title. In a stunning upset, the undefeated Ilia Topuria dethroned the long-reigning champion, Alexander Volkanovski, to become the new undisputed featherweight champion of the world.

Ilia Topuria’s ascent to the top of the featherweight division was nothing short of remarkable. When Volkanovski claimed the title in 2018, Topuria had yet to make his UFC debut. In just seven UFC fights, the Spanish fighter climbed to the pinnacle of one of the most competitive divisions in the UFC. Topuria’s confidence was evident both inside and outside the Octagon, and his marketing leading up to the fight captured the attention of UFC fans and sports analysts alike. His winning attitude and pursuit of victory testify to his dominance in the division.

The victory over Volkanovski, a fighter revered as one of the greatest in UFC history, sent shockwaves through the mixed martial arts world. Volkanovski has successfully defended his title five times since becoming champion in December 2018.

Ilia Topuria celebrating his monumental victory over Alexander Volkanovski. (Photo of MMA LATINOAMERICA)

The fight started cautiously, with both fighters employing leg kicks to test each other’s defenses. The first round was a feeling-out process, with Topuria landing a few jabs on the former champion. However, it was in the second round that the fight reached its climax.
After a strategic first round, Topuria unleashed a devastating combination that knocked out Volkanovski, ending his historic reign and signaling the dawn of a new era. While the second-round KO surprised many, Topuria’s unwavering confidence indicated that he had expected nothing less.

Topuria’s victory raises questions about his future in the division. Can he maintain his momentum, or will the pressure of being a champion affect him? Rematches are common for long-reigning champions who lose their titles—could Topuria’s win over Volkanovski be considered a fluke? Who should be his next opponent? Share your thoughts on the new champion in the comments below!

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