UFC 298: Alexander Volkanovski vs Ilia Topuria preview, undercard, fight start time and how to watch

MMA and UFC fighter Alexander Volkanovski

The State of Play

Long-serving UFC featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski will attempt to recover from the first knockout defeat of his 12-year professional career when he faces brash Spaniard Ilia Topuria at UFC 298 in California on Saturday.

The pair had been scheduled to meet at UFC 297 in January but that was put back by a month when Volkanovski instead challenged Islam Makhachev for the lightweight title in October.

Volkanovski, Topuria records before UFC 298

Volkanovski has won 26 and lost three of his 29 professional bouts, prevailing in all of his first 12 UFC fights, including six successful defences of the featherweight belt he won in 2019.

The 35-year-old initially lost to Makhachev by decision in February 2023 and was beaten more decisively when he was stopped in the first round by the same opponent.

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Topuria has a perfect 14-fight professional record, recording six wins since joining the UFC, including three by knockout and one by submission.

In his most recent bout, the Germany-born 27-year-old, who spent part of his childhood in Georgia, took part in a Fight of the Night with Josh Emmett in June, winning by unanimous decision in Florida.

Volkanovski vs. Topuria Undercard

There are two middleweight fights on the undercard: Robert Whittaker vs. Paulo Costa is the chief support, with Anthony Hernandez vs. Roman Kopylov also scheduled.

In the welterweight division, Geoff Neal vs. Ian Machado Garry pits the more experienced Neal against an unbeaten opponent. Merab Dvalishvili vs. Henry Cejudo is also on the card in a bantamweight bout.

Volkanovski vs. Topuria: What they Said

Volkanovski paid Topuria a backhanded compliment when he said that being “delusional and cocky” was “okay” if his adversary had been putting in the necessary work.

“He hasn’t been beaten yet,” the champion acknowledged. “He is confident. He’s backing his skills, as he needs to. I’m going to be teaching him a lesson and I’m looking forward to going out there and putting on a show. I don’t think he’s as good as he says he is, but we’ll see.”

Topuria feels Volkanovski is “not at 100%” following his brutal second defeat to Makhachev. “I’m ready,” the challenger told TNT Sports. “I’m hungry and this is my dream.

“I don’t know what it feels like to lose but I’m guessing it’s not nice. He’s going to go in there doubting himself, and you can’t doubt yourself for one second against me because you will lose. I’m going to have my hand raised and the belt is coming to Spain. It has to happen, it’s inevitable and I’m ready for it.”

When, where and how to watch UFC 298

UFC 298 starts on Saturday, February 17. The early prelims will begin at around 23:00 GMT, followed by the prelims at 01:00 GMT on Sunday, the main card at 03:00 and main event walks at 05:00. All timings are approximate.

The action is available on TNT Sports Box Office in the UK.

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