Alexander Volkanovski delivered yet another stellar performance in the main event of UFC 290. The reigning champion, known as 'The Great,' showcased his exceptional wrestling abilities in the initial rounds against his opponent Yair Rodriguez. As the fight progressed, Volkanovski landed a devastating right hand in the third round, resulting in a knockdown. Seizing the opportunity, he followed up with a barrage of brutal ground strikes, prompting the referee to intervene and stop the fight.
Following his loss to Islam Makhachev for the UFC lightweight title in February, Alexander Volkanovski made his highly anticipated return to the octagon at UFC 290. The loss ended the Australian fighter's remarkable 22-fight win streak, during which he successfully defended his featherweight title on four consecutive occasions.
In contrast, Yair Rodriguez entered the title unification bout after an impressive victory over Josh Emmett, securing the interim featherweight championship at UFC 284 in February. Rodriguez had been on a successful run, winning four out of his last five fights, which included notable victories against Brian Ortega, The Korean Zombie, and Jeremy Stephens.
Du Plessis stuns Whittaker while Pantoja comes out ahead in back-and-forth bout
In an enthralling co-main event, Alexandre Pantoja emerged victorious in a closely contested battle against Brandon Moreno, capturing the flyweight title with a split-decision triumph. This win marked Pantoja's third consecutive victory over the two-time champion, having previously defeated Moreno in 2016 and 2018.
Earlier in the event, South African fighter Dricus Du Plessis delivered a stunning upset by securing a TKO victory over former middleweight champion Robert Whittaker. Following the impressive win, Du Plessis engaged in a heated exchange with current titleholder Israel Adesanya. Notably, former US President Donald Trump was present at ringside, observing the action.
In other notable fights of the night, former welterweight champion Robbie Lawler concluded his career on a high note with a first-round knockout of Niko Price. Despite suffering a broken arm, Dan Hooker outpointed Jalin Turner in a hard-fought battle. Additionally, Bo Nickal extended his undefeated record to 5-0 with a fifth first-round finish, knocking out Val Woodburn.