Crowd turns on Aussie UFC star ahead of trilogy

Alexander Volkanovski isn’t used to being the bad guy – but he’s more than happy to play the part.

The Australian featherweight world champion was booed by rowdy fans in Las Vegas, ahead of his third fight against American Max Holloway – Volkanovski won each fight narrowly, leaving many Holloway fans miffed both times.

The pair verbally jousted as Holloway, a proud Hawaiian, urged the ‘ninth island’ to jeer his opponent.

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Volkanovski couldn’t have cared less.

“I just wanna say – the boos, everything, the energy in here – I love it,” he said as the noise amplified.

“Thank you.”

It will be the third fight between the two, with Volkanovski looking to make it a clean sweep of the trilogy.

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“It’s a legacy fight, one hundred per cent,” Holloway said the day before.

“We’re on the higher end of the pound-for-pound ranks, and these [fights] don’t happen in the past decade – only one’s come to mind, and that’s DC [Daniel Cormier] and [Jon] Jones.

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“This is a legacy fight, it’s huge in every way. People are calling us the main event of this card, and that’s saying a lot.”

Instead, the pair will have to settle for co-main event status, with Israel Adesanya defending his middleweight title against Jared Cannonier.

When is UFC 276?

The main card of UFC 276 kicks off at 12pm (AEST) in Las Vegas, Nevada – on average, you’d expect Volkanovski to walk to the ring at about 1.30pm, and Adesanya’s fight to be at around 2pm.

Will Alexander Volkanovski win?

Holloway is one of the greatest fighters of all time, but he’s already lost to Volkanovski twice and will go in as the outsider once again – although both bouts were closed, particularly the second which went to a split decision, the Australian has earned the right to be favourite.

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“With 11 straight wins behind him Volkanovski should bring up the dozen on Sunday,” said Sportsbet’s Sean Ormerod -whose book has Volkanovski as roughly a $1.50 favourite.

Will Israel Adesanya win?

Adesanya has made light work of every middleweight he’s faced, and this Sunday is expected to be no exception.

He’s a very short favorite to beat Cannonier, who is at juicy odds of $4.75 to spring an upset.

How can I watch UFC 276?

The card will be shown at plenty of pubs around Australia – but If you’re stuck inside or want to have some mates over instead, it’s a $54.95 PPV through either Foxtel’s Main Event channel or the Kayo Sports app.

Why aren’t they fighting in Australia or New Zealand?

The UFC hasn’t returned to Australia since the pandemic, due to the logistical issues at play – and UFC vice-president Peter Kloczko said last week that a card of this magnitude deserved to be in the fight capital of the world, while also hinting that the company would return to Australia in early 2023.

Who else is fighting on Sunday?

A stacked card will also feature Sean Strickland against Alex Pereira, Robbie Lawler taking on Bryan Barberena and Pedro Munhoz against Sean O’Malley on the main card.

In the preliminaries, Australia’s Jessica-Rose Clark fights Lithuania’s Julija Stoliarenko, and Kiwi Brad Riddell goes up against Jalin Turner.

Riddell is coming off a long lay-off, and is looking to surge up the lightweight rankings – but after seven months was tired of waiting for a higher-ranked opponent.

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“I just said that if no one’s available who’s ranked, I’ll fight anybody,” he told reporters yesterday.

“I want to fight. I’m a fighter’s fighter … he’s doing really well, he’s had some good wins, a couple of good stoppages, but I’m a different caliber of fighter.

“I believe I’m well above the skill level of him, and this is going to be a very, very hard test for him.”

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