Alexander Volkanovski successfully defended his UFC featherweight title with a third-round TKO against interim champion Yair Rodriguez. Alexandre Pantoja claimed the UFC flyweight title with a split decision victory over Brandon Moreno. Read all the exciting highlights and results from UFC 290.
|Volkanovski vs. Rodriguez||Volkanovski wins by third-round TKO|
|Pantoja vs. Moreno||Pantoja wins by split decision|
|du Plessis vs. Whittaker||du Plessis wins by second-round TKO|
After attempting to become a double champion, Alexander Volkanovski returned to featherweight and successfully defended his UFC featherweight title with a third-round TKO against interim champion Yair Rodriguez at UFC 290 inside of T-Mobile Arena. Volkanovski smothered the crafty striking of Rodriguez with high pressure, ground control and takedowns for the first two rounds before exploding to a finish in the third.
The creative offensive output of Rodriguez was supposed to be difficult for one of the best pound for pound fighters in the world to overcome but the Aussie made it look easy as he nullified Rodriguez the entire fight. After a first round where Volkanovski methodically pressured Rodriguez and controlled him on the ground, the champion dominated the second frame with vicious ground and pound and smothering top control. Rodriguez made an attempt to get his striking game in order at the top of the third round and found some minor success keeping Volkanovski from getting inside. But the champion fired a right hand that caught the Mexican flush, throttled him with heavy punches and threw his foe down with a slam. That sapped whatever energy Rodriguez had left as Volkanovski capped his successful defense off with ground and pound that ended the fight.
With the win, Volkanovski can either challenge lightweight champion Islam Makhachev to a rematch of their February bout that saw Volkanovski suffer his first loss in the UFC or the Australian can defend his 145-pound title. But first, Volkanovski suggests that he’ll need some time off to heal before he makes a decision.
In the co-main event, Alexandre Pantoja proved that he has Brandon Moreno’s number by claiming the UFC flyweight title with a split decision victory. Pantoja is now 3-0 against Moreno with his latest win but needed to gut this fight out by nullifying the Mexican’s high-octane jab with superb grappling and ground control. The first time they met in The Ultimate Fighter in 2016, Pantoja defeated Moreno by submission. They met again two years later and the Brazilian took a unanimous decision. But Moreno’s comeback story saw him ascend to the top of the division and become a world champion in an epic rivalry with Deiveson Figueiredo. There was no doubt that the Moreno that Pantoja was fighting at UFC 290 was far different from the one he first met in a reality show. However, the grappling of Pantoja would again be the reason he would emerge victorious as he used it to keep Moreno’s frantic offense in check. One judge saw the fight in favor of Moreno with a 49-46 score but that was offset by two judges who valued the control and grappling to score the fight 48-47 for the new champion. It was a close fight and it’s possible that a rematch will happen. But, for now, Pantoja is the new king of the flyweights.
Here’s how it all went down in Las Vegas.
UFC 290 Results
|Alexander Volkanovski vs. Yair Rodriguez||Volkanovski wins by third-round TKO|
|Alexandre Pantoja vs. Brandon Moreno||Pantoja wins by split decision|
|Dricus du Plessis vs. Robert Whittaker||Du Plessis wins by second-round TKO|
Volkanovski vs. Rodriguez
Round Three: Yair working the kicks again and grazes Volk with a head kick. Volk lands a right hand that catches Yair. Combination for Yair lands. Nothing big but it has Volk’s attention. Volk lands a combination of his own. Volk working leg kicks now. Clash of heads stops the action. Yair definitely got the worst of it. They restart and Yair misses a head kick. Combination from Yair lands and Volk rocks him with a right hand, left hook massive slam! Volk is all over him now. Pounding on him with everything and it’s OVER!!!!
SN Unofficial Scorecard: —
Round Two: Yair trying for head kicks but coming up short. Yair rushes with punches and kicks but Volk avoids. Yair giving Volk all kinds of different looks with kicks. Volk lands a left hook but catches one in return. Slam from Volk brings it all to a halt. They are back to their feet but Volk leg trips Yair back to the mat. Elbows from Volk. Ground and pound. Yair is up to his feet but Volkanovski is just smothering him. Back to the mat again. Volk clubbing him with punches. and elbows. He’s growing Yair with his top pressure. More pounding from Volkanovski. Both are cut and bleeding. Volk just pounding away as Yair tries to escape. Tough night for Yair.
SN Unofficial Scorecard: 10-9 Volkanovski (20-18 Volkanovski)
Round One: Volk pressuring but not throwing as Yair circles away. Yair misses a head kick. Body kick from Yair but Volk sucks him in for a takedown. Volkanovski banging away at the body inside of Yair’s guard. Short elbows from Volk. It doesn’t look like much but it is sapping the energy and explosiveness from Yair. Yair gets to his feet but is dragged down. More ground and pound from Volkanovski.Volkanovski threatens an arm triangle but releases when he can’t switch to his strong side. More ground and pound. Volk in total control.
SN Unofficial Scorecard: 10-9 Volkanovski
Pantoja vs. Moreno
Round Five: Pantoja lands a combination and Moreno misses with his return. Moreno pressuring with the jab. Moreno goes to the body and lands a trio of left hooks. Short elbow catches Pantoja coming in. Pantoja gets a takedown to finally slow Moreno down. Pantoja backpacks Moreno but Moreno holds against the fence. Pantoja trying to find a way to get a choke in but Moreno is defending well. They stay in this position as the fight comes to a close. Not enough for Pantoja to take the round.
SN Unofficial Scorecard: 10-9 Moreno (48-47 Moreno)
Round Four: Body head combination from Moreno. More jabs. Pantoja lands a combination and gets a takedown. Once again, Moreno gets to his feet. Pantoja drags Moreno down again. Nothing happens for the first time in the fight and the crowd boos. Pantoja swiftly takes Moreno’s back. Pantoja methodically tries to get an arm triangle but Moreno escapes and launches some ground and pound. They are up to their feet and Moreno bounces a combination off Pantoja’s face to close the round.
SN Unofficial Scorecard: 10-9 Moreno (38-38)
Round Three: Pantoja attempts to start the third round off fast but hits Moreno low. The action restarts and Pantoja charges in. They clinch and Pantoja takes Moreno’s back quickly. He’s working in a choke. Moreno is in trouble as Pantoja methodically works the choke. This is not where Moreno wants to be. They scramble and Moreno sweeps. They are back to their feet now. An exchange sees Pantoja land a right hand. Head kick from Moreno. Moreno is a tornado of punches and kicks as Pantoja tries to counter. Another head kick from Moreno and a strong jab. Pantoja trying for a takedown but can’t get it. Pantoja tries again and gets the takedown. Another scramble and Moreno is in top position but Pantoja fires a series of elbows. They are back to their feet again. Insane pace.
SN Unofficial Scorecard: 10-9 Pantoja (29-28 Pantoja)
Round Two: Moreno working the jab but Pantoja is firing with everything. Big left hand from Pantoja lands again. Moreno rocks him with a one two. Left hook from Moreno. Furious action. Moreno storms in with a left and a right. Check hook from Moreno lands flush. Moreno gets Pantoja’s back. He’s working in a choke. Both seem to be resting a bit as Pantoja protects his neck. They scramble and Moreno ends up in side control. Back to the feet. Moreno smacks Pantoja with a left hook and a combination. Moreno’s jab is on fire tonight. Moreno dances his way in with a right hand. Pantoja is slowing down. More jabs from Moreno. Moreno catches a leg and takes Pantoja down as the round ends.
SN Unofficial Scorecard: 10-9 Moreno (19-19)
Round One: Pantoja storms in with strikes but Moreno clinches and puts him on the cage wall. Moreno holding firm while Pantoja attempts to break free. They break and Moreno lands a right hand and a pair of jabs. Pantoja tries a leg trip but fails. Pantoja drops Moreno with a left hand! He’s all over Moreno. Moreno makes his way to his feet after being in trouble. They exchange again and both land. Big left hand from Pantoja. Moreno loops in an overhand left. Brief scramble and Pantoja is on Moreno’s back. The round ends but Pantoja has made his presence felt.
SN Unofficial Scorecard: 10-9 Pantoja
In a night full of upsets, Alexander Volkanovski successfully defended his UFC featherweight title with a third-round TKO against interim champion Yair Rodriguez. Volkanovski’s smothering ground control and high-pressure game nullified Rodriguez’s creative offensive output. In the co-main event, Alexandre Pantoja claimed the UFC flyweight title with a split decision victory over Brandon Moreno, proving that he has Moreno’s number. With these exciting fights, UFC 290 delivered thrilling action for fans.