The first fight of the UFC 232 main card in Inglewood, California featured featherweight contender Chad Mendes looking to halt the rise of Australia’s Alex Volkanovski, but after a strong start to round two for Chad, it was Volkanovski who was able to weather the storm and battle back for a big TKO finish through his improved striking and relentless pace. Volkanovski has now won sixteen straight, whereas Mendes has been finished via strikes for the third time in his last four appearances.
It was a mid-range kickboxing match through the early portions of the contest. Volkanovski was looking for the overhand right, but Mendes was able to get in some good shots with quick combination punching and countering. Volkanovski did a lot of feinting and he showed off a slick jab. Mendes changed levels and took Volkanovski down with a minute left in the opening round, but Alex got back to his feet.
Volkanovski was rocked by a hard right hand by Mendes early in round two, and dropped with a left hook as Mendes teed off. Alex bounced back up and was smiling at his foe as he fired back at the former title challenger.A jab-right hand combo buzzed Mendes, and uppercut caught him cleanly. Mendes was able to get a takedown on a bloodied Volkanovski, but again was upright shortly thereafter. Mendes was soon bleeding out of his nose, presumably because of the jabs of Volkanovski. Just as the tide was seemingly turning in Volkanovski’s favor, Mendes took Volkanovski down in the center of the cage and took his back, but Volkanovski escaped to his feet and started teeing off on Mendes and hurting him with heavy strikes. A lethal left hook followed by a right hand caused Mendes to crumble to the canvas, and announcing Volkanovski’s rival as a legitimate contender at featherweight.
Official result: Alex Volkanovski def. Chad Mendes by TKO (strikes) at 4:14 of round 2
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