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UFC 290: Alexander Volkanovski stops Yair Rodriguez on wild night of fights

Alexander Volkanovski continued his dominant run atop the UFC featherweight division on Saturday, stopping interim champion Yair Rodriguez to unify the titles.

Volkanovski controlled the Mexican on the mat for most of the first two rounds, and just when Rodriguez began to flicker into life in the striking exchanges, Volkanovski fired back with a hard right hook to set up a ground-and-pound finish in Round 3.

With the result at Las Vegas’s T-Mobile Arena, the Australian not only retained his featherweight title but bounced back from a narrow loss to Islam Makhachev – Volkanovski’s first defeat in 10 years, and one that occurred when the 34-year-old challenged for the lightweight belt in February.

In the co-main event, Alexandre Pantoja won a thrilling, back-and-forth battle with Brandon Moreno, taking the flyweight title from the Mexican with a split-decision win. The victory also saw the Brazilian move to 3-0 against two-time champion Moreno, whom Pantoja also beat in 2016 and 2018.

Earlier in the night, South Africa’s Dricus Du Plessis stunned Robert Whittaker, beating the ex-middleweight champion via TKO before facing off with reigning title holder Israel Adesanya in a heated exchange. All the while, ex-US president Donald Trump watched on from ringside.

Also, former welterweight champion Robbie Lawler won his retirement fight by knocking out Niko Price inside the first minute, Dan Hooker outpointed Jalin Turner despite suffering a broken arm, and Bo Nickal knocked out Val Woodburn to move to 5-0 with a fifth first-round finish.

Full UFC 290 results

Alexandre Pantoja won the flyweight title by outpointing Brandon Moreno (Getty Images)
Alexandre Pantoja won the flyweight title by outpointing Brandon Moreno (Getty Images)

Main card

Alexander Volkanovski def. Yair Rodriguez via third-round TKO (4:19)

Alexandre Pantoja def. Brandon Moreno via split decision (46-49, 48-47, 48-47)

Dricus Du Plessis def. Robert Whittaker via second-round TKO (punches, 2:23)

Dan Hooker def. Jalin Turner via split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)

Bo Nickal def. Val Woodburn via first-round TKO (punches, 0:38)

Prelims

Robbie Lawler celebrates winning his final ever fight with an early knockout (Getty Images)
Robbie Lawler celebrates winning his final ever fight with an early knockout (Getty Images)

Robbie Lawler def. Niko Price via first-round KO (punches, 0:38)

Tatsuro Taira def. Edgar Chairez via unanimous decision (29-27, 29-27, 29-27)

Denise Gomes def. Yazmin Jauregui via first-round TKO (punches, 0:20)

Alonzo Menifield def. Jimmy Crute via second-round submission (guillotine choke, 1:55)

Early prelims

Vitor Petrino def. Marcin Prachnio via third-round submission (arm triangle, 3:42)

Cameron Saaiman def. Terrence Mitchell via first-round TKO (3:10)

Jesus Aguilar def. Shannon Ross via first-round KO (0:17)

Esteban Ribovics def. Kamuela Kirk via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

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