Ilia Topuria Explains Why Alexander Volkanovski Will Be One of His 'Easier Fights'

UFC
February 15, 2024
To say that Ilia Topuria is confident going into his first Ultimate Fighting Championship title fight against reigning champion Alexander Volkanovski at UFC 298 would be an understatement.

“El Matador” has repeatedly claimed that Volkanovski will be one of his easiest fights, updated his mixed martial arts record on his social media to 15-0 and is shooting a movie that will document his journey to claiming the UFC featherweight title.

Much has been made of the Spaniard’s exuberance going into his first title shot, especially his belief that Volkanovski will be one of his easier matchups inside the Octagon.

Responding to criticism from fans who believe Topuria may be taking Volkanovski too lightly, the Spaniard recently offered some reasoning behind his bold prediction in an interview with ESPN.

“[It will be one of my easier fights] at the moment he is right now,” Topuria said. “Because he lost his last fight. He talked about his mental problems. I feel like he is not at his 100% right now. And me myself too, I feel I am way better than him anywhere, so…”

Topuria’s assessment might have some merit considering Volkanovski’s recent Round 1 knockout loss to lightweight king Islam Makhachev at UFC 294 in October.

As for any “mental problems,” Volkanovski made it a point to assure fans that he’s in a good place mentally following his comments at the UFC 294 post-fight press conference.

Meanwhile, Topuria is coming off a one-sided unanimous decision victory against Josh Emmett in June last year, is undefeated and is eight years younger than “The Great.”

On top of all these advantages that he has going into his meeting with Volkanovski, Topuria believes his calculated style will allow him to walk out of the Octagon at UFC 298 with gold around his waist.

“The strategy I bring to the fight, he won’t be able to solve it,” Topuria said. “A lot of fighters are punching hard, grappling hard, all that type of stuff, but no one has a strategy. No one comes in with the strategy that I have. That’s what separates me from rest of the fighters... I'm going to create opportunities. Of course, I'm going to wait for the right moment to create those opportunities, but I’m going to open spaces that I will be able to take advantage of.”

UFC 298 is set to go down at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California, on Saturday. Other matchups on the card include a middleweight clash between former champion Robert Whittaker and Paulo Costa; a welterweight bout pitting Ian Garry against Geoff Neal and Henry Cejudo vs. Merab Davilshvili at bantamweight.

Reference: https://www.sherdog.com/news/news/Ilia-Topuria-Explains-Why-Alexander-Volkanovski-Will-Be-One-of-His-Easier-Fights-192618

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