LAS VEGAS — It’s already been a great 2023 for UFC Featherweight Champion Alexander Volkanovski — despite the fact that he’s officially 0-1 this year.
Volkanovski (25-2) is looking to defend his 145-pound championship against interim titleholder Yair Rodriguez (15-3) in the main fight of the famous UFC 290 International Fight Week event at T-Mobile Arena tonight. Volkanovski goes head-to-head with lightweight champion Islam Makhachev as ESPN’s top-ranked pound-for-pound fighter in the world.
The Australian champions failed in their attempt to dethrone Makhachev at UFC 284 in Australia earlier this year. Although Volkanovski lost to Makhachev by decision, the fight was extremely hard fought – far more than some pundits had predicted. At the moment he is a prime contender for Fight of the Year and Volkanovski is eyeing a potential rematch against Makhachev later this year.
However, he faces a difficult task with Rodriguez, who won the interim title by assisting Josh Emmett in February.
It could be a massive night for Mexican MMA as Rodriguez defeats world No. 1 fighter and flyweight champion Brandon Moreno (21-6-2) defends his title against Alexandre Pantoja (25-5).
Also on the card are middleweights Robert Whittaker (24-6) and Dricus Du Plessis (19-2), who will look to secure a future title shot in a high-profile fight, and much-vaunted contender Bo Nickal (4-0) will try to add to the growing hype surrounding his early career.
Watch Brett Okamoto, Marc Raimondi and Jeff Wagenheim recap all the action, or Watch the fights live on ESPN+ pay-per-view.