Major UFC title shakeup is bad news for Canadian fans

There was great news for Toronto UFC fans yesterday, now there's none.

By: Nate Wilcox | 2 months ago
Major UFC title shakeup is bad news for Canadian fans
IMAGO | USA TODAY by Corey Perrine

Just yesterday we were excitedly working on a post about the UFC’s reported return to Toronto with a featherweight title fight lined up between Ilia Topuria and champ Alexander Volkanovski.

For many years, Toronto was one of the UFC’s favorite cities in which to hold events. They kicked off with a bang with UFC 83: GSP vs Serra 2 in April 2008 and returned another six times over the next decade, including three Jon Jones title bouts.

But for various reasons (some covid-related), the hasn’t been back to Toronto since 2018 when Max Holloway beat Brian Ortega at UFC 231. Those who remember UFC 231 will recall what an exceedingly brutal fight that was (seriously if you forgot, check out the HLs).

The UFC is considering a return and were deep into talks for a fan pleasing title fight to headline. Alas Charles Oliviera dropping off the UFC 294 card has made those plans go awry.

Ilia Topuria announced now unlikely Volkanovski UFC title fight

Spanish-Georgian fighter Ilia Topuria dramatically raised his profile when he beat Josh Emmett to become a top contender. That win created major buzz around a Topuria challenge to featherweight king Alexander Volkankovski.

In a recent appearance on Spanish television show El Hormiguero (The Anthill), Topuria revealed that he is well into talks with the UFC to fight for the featherweight title against champion Alexander Volkanovski on January 20th in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

“On January 20th, in Canada, the fight between Ilia Topuria and Alexander Volkanovski will take place,” the El Hormiguero social media account announced.

Other fights expected for the card include, featherweights Arnold Allen vs. Movsar Evloev, bantamweights Brad Katona vs. Garrett Armfield, women’s strawweights Gillian Robertson vs. Polyana Viana and bantamweights Serhiy Sidey vs. Ramon Taveras.

Volkanovski is getting his hoped for the Makhachev rematch instead

Last year at UFC 284, Volkanovski moved up to fight Islam Makhachev and lost a close fight by unanimous decision.

Even with a fresh top contender in Ilia Topuria seemingly ready and waiting, in a recent interview Volkanovski still sounded like his sights were firmly set on getting to a rematch with the Dagestani.

“You got the Ilia fight that’s always going to be there,” Volkanovski told reporters during a media scrum at UFC 293. “You got that rematch that I want (vs. Makhachev). I want to be active. Obviously, Islam and Charles (Oliveira) are going at it soon, so I don’t want to be waiting around,” he added, noting that he felt a rematch with Makhachev at UFC 300 “would be perfect.”

Might Max Holloway step into the breach?

Looks like Vokanovski is going to get his wish. The question is what will become of Topuria? He’s only the #5 ranked contender at featherweight. If Volkanvoski beats Makhachev for the lightweight title, there will presumably be an interim title fight in the 145 pound division.

This creates an opportunity for the #1 ranked featherweight contender Max Holloway, coming off a win last month over The Korean Zombie. Holloway hasn’t lost to anyone except Volkanovski at 145 pounds since his 2013 loss to Conor McGregor.

Will we see Topouria vs Holloway at UFC 297 in Toronto? It remains to be seen but stay tuned to Bloody Elbow for all the latest.

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About the author
Nate Wilcox
Nate Wilcox

Nate Wilcox is the founding editor of As such he has hired every editor and writer to work for the site. Wilcox’s writing for BE is known for its emphasis on MMA history, the evolution of fighting techniques and strong opinions. Wilcox developed the SBN MMA consensus rankings which were featured in USA Today from 2009 to 2011. Before founding BE, Wilcox was a political operative working for such figures as Senators John Kerry and Mark Warner and an early political blogger. He is the co-author of Netroots Rising, a history of the political blogosphere from 2003 to 2007. Wilcox also hosts the Let It Roll podcast on music history for the Pantheon Podcast Network.

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