Alexander Volkanovski is set to make a fairly swift return to the Octagon, even if it’s not as early as he had originally hoped. The reigning featherweight champion is slated to defend his title against Ilia Topuria in the UFC 298 headliner event, according to an announcement made by UFC CEO Dana White on Monday. Specific details regarding the date and venue of the event are yet to be released, but it is expected to occur sometime in February.
Volkanovski is making his comeback after a disappointing first-round knockout loss to Islam Makhachev at UFC 294 this past October. The City Kickboxing champion had accepted the match in short order after Makhachev’s original opponent, Charles Oliveira, was forced to withdraw due to a training injury. Afterwards, Volkanovski, obviously dismayed by the defeat, had requested to make a fast comeback; he had hoped for UFC 297 in January. Nonetheless, he will be defending his 145-pound title in February, marking his first defense of the title since his third-round TKO of Yair Rodriguez at UFC 290 in July.
Topuria, on the other hand, has an impressive record of 14 professional wins under his belt, including six at the Las Vegas-based event. Known as “El Matador,” he showcased his prowess in his first headlining match at UFC on ABC 5, outscoring former interim title challenger Josh Emmett on June 24. The 26-year-old Spanish fighter has an impressive record of finishing 12 out of his 14 wins within the distance.