Volkanovski retains UFC belt with thrilling win vs. Ortega

Jeff Bottari / UFC / Getty

Alexander Volkanovski is still the UFC featherweight champion.

Volkanovski defeated Brian Ortega via unanimous decision (49-46, 50-45, 50-44) in the UFC 266 main event Saturday in Las Vegas to retain his belt for the second time.

The championship bout was entertaining from start to finish, with several wild moments.

However, Volkanovski compiled significantly more damage than Ortega throughout 25 minutes, taking control of the fight in the fourth and fifth round.

Ortega's biggest moment of the fight came in the third round when he dropped Volkanovski with a punch and nearly locked in a submission. Volkanovski escaped and brutalized the challenger with ground-and-pound to close the frame.

Ortega said in his postfight interview he heard Volkanovski "gurgling" when he was holding onto the submission.

The challenger was transported to the hospital afterward, the promotion said, according to ESPN's Marc Raimondi.

Volkanovski competed for the first time since July 2020, when he narrowly beat Max Holloway in a rematch for his first title defense. The Australian has now won 10 in a row in the Octagon and is riding a 20-fight winning streak overall.

He joined Anderson Silva, Kamaru Usman, Khabib Nurmagomedov, and Royce Gracie as the only fighters to start their UFC careers with 10 straight victories, according to MMA Junkie's Mike Bohn.

Ortega fought for UFC gold for the second time Saturday, bringing his record to 0-2 in title bouts. "T-City" returned after defeating Chan Sung Jung in a masterclass performance in October 2020.

Volkanovski retains UFC belt with thrilling win vs. Ortega
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