Alexander (“The Great”) Volkanovski, born on September 29th, 1988, in New South Wales, Australia is a professional, mixed martial artist, and 2-time former Australian Fighting Championship Featherweight champion.
The 33 year-old is now the reigning UFC Featherweight Champion, and ranked No.2 in the UFC Men’s Pound-for-Pound category, along with garnering accolades as; No.1 Current Best MMA Featherweight Fighter, 33rd Greatest MMA Fighter of All Time, 48th Greatest MMA Striker of All Time and 24th Top Fan Favorite MMA Fighter.
He won the World MMA Award, 2019-July 2020, for the Upset of the Year vs. Max Holloway.
Alexander trained in Greco-Roman wrestling and won a national title at the age of just 12. Though playing rugby remained his childhood love, he would often rent UFC VHS tapes to bolster his mindset and later make a career for himself in rugby league as a front-rower.
Throughout his teenage years, he also worked in concreting at various construction sites.
At 23, he decided to quit rugby to pursue a professional career in mixed martial arts in the second half of 2011. He quickly earned a reputation of being a good counter-striker with a solid right hand along with a blisteringly offensive mindset!
He initially competed in multiple amateur fights and adjusted his rugby weight to 97kg before turning professional.
Volkanovski states his views on professional MMA; “There are no excuses in fighting. You can be playing a team sport and have a good game, and you can lose. In fighting, it’s all on me. If I go out there and lose, then it’s my fault. I like that. So, I know if I fight well, I’m going to win.”
He made his UFC debut in 2016 and went on to score a scintillating, undefeated, 10-0 clean sweep. He regularly competes in training camps at Tiger Muay Thai in Phuket and City Kickboxing in Auckland with fellow UFC fighters Israel Adesanya, Dan Hooker, and Kai Kara-France.
Okay, so now that you’ve got some of “The Great’s” backstory down, let’s dive right in on Alexander Volkanovski’s Top 5 MMA Finishes! (in descending order)
5. Vs. James Bishop – Australian FC 13 (June 14, 2015)
Alex was dubbed as “the next big thing” in pro MMA thanks to his relentless fighting style and techniques which rewarded him with a 7-straight win streak.
To start, with a quick jab at Bishop’s midsection, Alex went straight in for the clinch. Alex coiled his right leg underneath his opponent’s knee and pushed James back, into a takedown.
Alex proceeded to land heavy right hands and hammer fists on the back side of his opponent’s head, never allowing James to recover from his deadly gallows.
The referee stepped in to call the finish at 1:31 of round 1. Alex had won the match via TKO punches and won the Australian FC Featherweight Championship.
4. Vs. Jamie Mullarkey – Australian FC 15 (May 19, 2016)
Alex came into this fight with an undefeated streak of 8 victories and looked sharp as he took on Jamie at the Australian FC.
Soon into the match, Alex, after trading power-packed leg kicks leaped off the canvas like a tiger ready to put Jamie in a stranglehold with relentless takedown offense.
Pushing himself over Mullarkey, Alex levies hard-hitting knees to Jamie’s midsection at 1:03 into round 1, in addition to landing a brutal, lightning punch straight to Jamie’s face.
Alex got the takedown, and taking full control, ransacked Jamie with ruthless punches.
Jamie got up somehow only to instantly end up going ‘to sleep’ by way of a skull-crushing right hand to his face. He lay unconscious inside the octagon, as the referee intervened at 3:23 of round 1 to call game over. Alexander had won the match via KO punch.
3. Vs. Jeremy Kennedy – UFC 221 (Feb. 11, 2018)
Alexander by this point was on a roll with an impressive streak of 13 victories and zero losses in his entire pro-MMA career.
He was about to lock horns with Jeremy Kennedy who was similarly riding high on his own incredible 11-win streak.
At 1.20 into round 1, Alex went in for a clinch, and pivoted his legs for a quick takedown.
He then went berserk with heavy hands pinpointed at his opponent’s face. Kennedy was blown away and completely taken in by this round 1 storm.
In round 2, Volkanovski started off from where he finished in the last round. Kennedy was definitely not up to par against “The Great”, resorting to a takedown of his own but instead got trapped in his maneuver as Alex blasted him off with heavy elbows and punches.
Having seen enough, the referee Marc Goddard, stepped in at 4:57 of round 2 to call the bout. Alexander had won the match via TKO punches and elbows.
2. Vs. Chad Mendes – UFC 232 (Dec. 29, 2018)
From the outset, Mendes stalked Volkanovski, backing him into the corner of the octagon.
Then, to reassert distance, Volkanovski threw two high kicks that pushed Chad Mendes away to start occupying the center.
The brawl gained pace as Volkanovski caught Chad with a hard-hitting right hand at 1:30 into round 1. Mendes retaliated with a combination of quick right hands as Alexander looked to impose himself afresh with clenched fists.
Mendes struck Alexander with an uppercut, and a left-hand snuck into the intense rivalry which was visibly now brewing.
At the start of round 2, Mendes got the upper hand. Chad mercilessly landed a huge right hand to the face of Volkanovski at the one minute mark, with Alexander now visibly hurt!
Alex moved back quickly as Chad came flying towards him with a flurry of ruthless strikes that got him reeling, and dropping to the canvas. Would this be the end…?
Alex quickly got to his feet, and rapidly regained his composure. Chad smelled the leather of a Volkanovski left and by now the octagon was spilling blood. The uproar and dominance of Chad was broken.
Chad attempted a takedown, but to no avail. Volkanovski turned the tables with a brutal knee to Chad’s stomach.
Alexander then finished his opponent off with brutal, left-right punches at 4:14 of round 2 as the referee Mark Smith hurriedly steps in to separate Volkanovski.
This match was UFC 232’s Fight of the Night, ranking 39th Best MMA Fight of the Year for 2018, and 88th Greatest Featherweight MMA Fight of All Time.
In a post-fight interview, Alexander said; “I have got six weeks to train for my next fight, and I just can’t wait to see what New Year brings!”
1. Vs. Max Holloway – UFC 251 (July 12, 2020)
The UFC Featherweight Championship was on the line here as the champion Alexander Volkanovski locked up with challenger, Max Holloway.
To start, Alexander smashed a right-hook on Holloway, as Holloway marched towards “The Great”. Holloway carried on with excellent composure to later execute a furious right hand of his own at 3:40 into round 1. Holloway then mocked Alex with an in-ring collapsing gimmick that was hilarious for the audience.
Then Volkanovski doubled up an inside leg kick on Holloway who instantly traded a furious kick to his opponent’s left knee. Holloway looked sharp and used his height advantage to score more points.
The stakes were rising with each passing second. The margin of error was infinitesimal as the slightest slip up could cost either of these two stars the match.
The brawl started heating up in the last 90 seconds of round 2. Holloway used high kicks and punches to sweet poison his opponent to gain an upper hand on the points table. Holloway then cracked a massive, gunshot-like leg strike onto the temple of the champion at 4:35 of round 2.
A resilient Alexander punished Holloway back with a hook and a low kick. Holloway hurls a massive combination of an upper cut and jab setting up for a knockout scenario, whereupon Alexander moves back to safety.
In the final moments of the last round, both fighters were, by now seriously exhausted, however a still relentless Volkanovski attempted and pulled off his most successful move of the match. Taking Holloway into a takedown he pounded down on him with powerful blows as the bell sounded.
This was a definitive final effort as it tilted things in his favour, Alexander Volkanovski won the match via round 5 decision.
This match is ranked the 84th Greatest MMA Featherweight Fight of All Time, and 37th Best MMA Fight of the Year for 2020.
In a post-fight interview, Alexander said; “Holloway is a tough fighter, we both worked hard but I have got the job done.”
(Note: Max Holloway withdrew from the UFC 272 trilogy fight which was scheduled for this March 2022 vs. Alexander Volkanovski. According to ESPN, Holloway had re-aggravated a prior injury.)