UFC 298: Ilia Topuria and Alex Volkanovski to fight for the featherweight championship in California

The Spaniard is looking to win the champion belt for the first time in his career, while the Australian looks to defend his title.

Almost 20,000 spectators will witness at the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif., Saturday night, one of the most anticipated fights of the year and even of the 21st century UFC 298 will feature a bout between Ilia Topuria and Alex Volkanovski in the octagon to be crowned featherweight champion. Apart the lucky fans who will sew the fight live at the venue, millions will follow on pay-per-view.

At UFC 298, Topuria aspires to triumph for the first time and be the fifth winner of the 145-pound class in history, while Volkanovski seeks to defend his championship belt.

UFC 298: How long will the fight last?

UFC 298 is a mixed martial arts (MMA) event bringing together several of the best-known fighting techniques: jiu-jitsu, boxing, kickboxing, judo, muay thai, karate, taekwondo and wrestling.

There are several ways to win a UFC fight. Specifically four. The first is by knockout (KO), which is when a fighter hits his rival and leaves him unconscious. The second is by technical knockout (TKO), which differs from a KO in that the defeated fighter, without being unconscious, cannot defend himself and the referee calls the end of the fight. The third is by submission, which consists of one of the fighters forcing his opponent to surrender, causing him as much damage as possible. Finally is by decision. In this way, the judges assess who is the winner after the time limit for the duration of the fight has expired. In each of the rounds, the judges give 10 points to the winner, while the loser receives nine points or fewer.

This type of fight usually lasts a total of about 15 minutes spread over three rounds, plus the minute of rest in between. This is in phases where there is no title at stake. In UFC 298, the maximum time in the octagon is extended to 25 minutes spread over five rounds, with a one-minute break between each round as in the previous case.

There are also some actions that are not allowed in combat, as defined by UFC regulations. Some examples are biting, pressing the opponent's eyes, stepping on the opponent's head or neck when they are on the ground, grabbing the opponent’s hair, spitting, or headbutting. Nor can fighters disobey the referees, insult or throw in the towel in the middle of the fight. Any foul committed intentionally results in the end of the fight, unless an action that affects the integrity of the opponent does not lead to his withdrawal. In the latter case, the fight is resumed and the offender is penalized by subtracting points.

Ilia Topuria: The undefeated contender

Topuria was born on Jan, 21, 1997, in Germany, and raised in Georgia, his parents' native country. Since the age of 15, he became a resident of Alicante, a city located on the east coast of Spain. His brother Aleksandre is also an MMA fighter. These are the origins of Ilia Topuria, known as “El Matador.” From a very young age, he was interested in the world of martial arts, beginning to practice wrestling in Georgia during his school days. When he moved to Spain, he ventured to try more fighting techniques and, on an amateur level, won some championships and was runner-up in others.

His professional featherweight debut came on April 4, 2015, at the West Coast Warriors event. On that occasion, he defeated the Venezuelan fighter Francisco Javier Asprilla by submission. Five years later, he landed in the UFC. His first fight was on Oct. 10 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Topuria won by decision against Moroccan fighter Youssef Zalal.

In the nine years he has been on the professional circuit, Topuria has never seen defeat: 14 victories in 14 fights. The last one took place on June 24, 2023, in Jacksonville, Fla., in which American Josh Emmett won by decision.

Alex Volkanovski to defend his title

On Sept. 29, 1988, Alexander Volkanovski was born in New South Wales, Australia. His father was originally from the former Yugoslavia, from a town located in what is now the Republic of North Macedonia, while his mother is Greek. Like Topuria, he became interested in martial arts from a very young age, specifically wrestling. This practice served him for what initially was his true vocation, rugby. It helped him gain muscle and agility.

He later decided to get more involved in martial arts and focus his career on these practices. For a few years, he competed as an amateur and in some combat organized by smaller circuits until, in 2016, he signed with the UFC. His debut took place on Nov. 26 against Japanese fighter Yusuke Kasuya with a victory by technical knockout. From there, he only added victories until Russian fighter Islam Makhachev defeated him at UFC 284 in the lightweight category. He tried again against the same opponent at UFC 294 in the same category and, again, lost.


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However, at featherweight, he has not been beaten since 2019. There were five challengers, all unsuccessful. Throughout his professional career, he has fought 29 times, suffering only three defeats.

The UFC continues to be just another sporting spectacle. It requires technique, concentration and strength. This event will be a spectacle between Topuria and Volkanovski in California.