UFC fighters react to Ilia Topuria's surprise knockout of Alexander Volkanovski at UFC 298

  • Ilia Topuria is the new featherweight champion
  • He knocked out the long standing champion, Alexander Volkanovski
  • He is the first Georgian champion

UFC 298: Volkanovski v Topuria
UFC 298: Volkanovski v Topuria / Sean M. Haffey/GettyImages
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Ilia Topuria defeated Alexander Volkanovski via KO (strikes), Round 2 - 3:32 at UFC 298 on Saturday, Feb. 17, 2024, live from Honda Center in Anaheim, CA.

"I feel so happy. They are going to tell you that you can't do it. They are going to doubt you but if you believe, you can do it... I work so hard for this... It doesn't matter where you come from when you know where you are going," said Topuria, who called for a UFC fight in Spain. "He Conor McGregor, if you've got any balls."

"Well done to him, he fooled me. He got me. He is a hard hitter. Credit to him. I have been the champion of this division for a long time. He keeps mentioning Spain, maybe we will do a rematch there," said Volkanovski.

Volkanovski opened the first round operating on the outside attempting high and low kicks. Topuria answered with a pair of powerful leg kicks and then rocked him an overhand right. Volkanovski was forced to switch stances due to the damage from the calf kicks.

Topuria landed a two punch combination in the early part of the second round that snapped Volkanovski's head back. The two fighters continued to trade jabs and calf kicks. Volkanovski looked as though he was starting to figure out the timing, as he was starting to put punches together in numbers. However, the fight came to a sudden finish. Topuria landed a shot to the body and then went upstairs with a three punch combination that he finished with a powerful right hook that dropped Volkanovski. Topuria jumped on top and landed a few more punches before referee Jason Herzog could rush in and stop the fight.

Fighters reacted on social media to the title change. Fighters were complimentary of both Volkanovski and Topuria. While other fighters immediately called for a title fight against the new champion.