Morning Report: Coach says Alexander Volkanovski ‘doesn’t have any symptoms’ after Ilia Topuria KO, targets rematch

Alexander Volkanovski is swimming in uncharted waters after back-to-back losses.

The featherweight division has only known phenomenal champions throughout its history. Unfortunately, the time comes for them all to pass the torch, and after five impressive title defenses, Volkanovski has done that — for the time being — with Ilia Topuria.

Topuria’s second-round knockout of “The Great” at UFC 298 two weeks ago put the now-former Australian champion on the first losing streak of his 30-fight career (26-4). After all the success and cementing his place as an all-time great in the division and sport, Volkanovski seems like a no-brainer to get an immediate rematch and his coach at City Kickboxing Eugene Bareman believes it’s the move to make.

“I can’t divulge too much but I’m obviously in the camp that he deserves a rematch,” Bareman told Combat TV (h/t MMA Mania). “I think he’s done everything that he needs to do as a champion, represented himself, his family, his team, and most of all the company well. He’s been a long-standing champion, he’s defended many times, fought through injuries, taken fights on short notice for the company. He checks every box there is in relation to getting an immediate rematch.

“One of the other important boxes he checks: is there a bigger fight to make than that fight in the division? The answer is no, there’s not. So, the team is doing everything we can to secure the rematch, and we’ll do everything in our power to turn that result around.”

Volkanovski, 35, started his reign as champion at UFC 245 when he defeated Max Holloway by unanimous decision in December 2019. The bout led to a similar position Topuria is now in as Volkanovski had to make his first defense against Holloway, which he won via a split decision at UFC 251 in July 2020.

The community isn’t usually too on the fence in most cases of a long-reigning champion losing their title. However, there’s concern with Volkanovski specifically regarding his health and losing via knockout twice in roughly five months — the first against UFC lightweight champion Islam Makhachev. Though when comparing the two, Bareman says these are totally different aftermaths.

“In terms of his symptoms, he doesn’t have any symptoms,” Bareman said. “Which was not the case in the last knockout [against Makhachev]. There’s so many variables when it comes to having a knockout and how much, how many symptoms you suffer, and all of that. I don’t know the science behind it, and I’m not gonna begin to try to understand it, but he seems to not be as affected by this concussion as he was by the last one. I won’t be able to tell you why.

“He definitely needs to rest. He needs to rest his head. But … he needs to be sensible, but he also will be very keen to get that rematch this year.”

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Happy champ.



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I think it’s kind of strange to see all this worry about Volkanovski’s health and head trauma. Fighters have come back early from far worse beatings than he is and has. That doesn’t make it okay, but where was the level of concern in those cases?

Thanks for reading!


Will Alexander Volkanovski get an immediate rematch against Ilia Topuria?

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