Alexander Volkanovski makes no excuses for UFC 298 knockout loss to Ilia Topuria: ‘That was a clean right hand’

Alexander Volkanovski has a clear explanation for how he lost his featherweight title: He just got beat.

The UFC 298 main event saw a changing of the guard as Ilia Topuria left Volkanovski lying after landing a knockout blow against the fence, a result that made Topuria the new UFC champion at 145 pounds. Volkanovski was attempting to defend his title for a sixth consecutive time, but instead suffered his first-ever loss competing at featherweight.

Volkanovski has kept a busy schedule in recent years, including a pair of high-profile title fight losses to lightweight champion Islam Makhachev, who knocked Volkanovski out with a head kick this past October. At the evening’s post-event press conference, Volkanovski refused to blame his loss on his frequency of fights.

“You can’t take anything away from Topuria,” Volkanovski said. “If he puts a hand on you like that, you’re going to go down. I don’t care, that’s just that.

“That was a clean right hand and I think no matter who you are, you let one of those land on your chin while you’re caught there, you’re probably going down. Don’t let him catch you, that’s what that was. He caught me, so I won’t take nothing away from him. I’m not going to sit there and say it was this or it was that. I felt great. Camp was great. I felt good in there.”

Following his second loss to Makhachev, Volkanovski was visibly emotional and he opened up about his struggles with mental health speaking to the media after his fight. Specifically, he spoke about how difficult it is to maintain a balanced lifestyle in between fight bookings.

Volkanovski was in good humor in the days leading up to Saturday’s event, playing up his “Old Man Volk” character that had become a hit on social media. Afterwards, he refused to beat himself up over the loss.

“That was totally different,” Volkanovski said referring to his comments after the knockout loss to Makhachev. “This one, I was high spirits the whole way, I’m still in high spirits. He caught me, that’s that.

“I felt good in there, I felt like I’d seen everything early, but he ended up catching me. I was pretty comfortable in the first round and then we started being like, alright we’ll start to do more. I was just about to do more and he caught me, so that’s just the game. I’m pretty confident we were probably up until then, but that’s just the game.”

According to the official scorecards, Volkanovski was actually up on the scorecards after one round. It didn’t make a difference in the end as Topuria found a finish to end Volkanovski’s five-year reign as featherweight champion.

Volkanovski called for an immediate rematch several times during his post-fight comments and should he get one, he promises the outcome won’t be the same.

“We knew he would be fast,” Volkanovski said. “We knew he would be powerful, obviously. We knew not to be on the cage there and let him catch us there, so again, he did a great job there, so there’s not much I can say other than congrats to him.

“Obviously, I’ve been a champ for a long time and I want that rematch, so that’s something that needs to happen. I’ve been reigning champ for how long? I’ve been a bit of a company man. Went back up on short notice, I fought Max [Holloway] three times, you name it, I’ve done it individually for a long time so I think I deserve that and I it’s going to be different next time.”

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