Alexander Volkanovski and Brian Ortega will finally fight for the UFC Featherweight Championship this Saturday night when the pair meet in the main event of UFC 266.
Volkanovski and Ortega were originally scheduled to fight at UFC 260 but a positive COVID-19 test for Volkanovski led to the fight being postponed until now. Since then, the two featherweight fighters featured as the coaches for the Return of The Ultimate Fighter: Team Volkanovski vs. Team Ortega.
Now, almost six months after the two were initially slated to clash, it’ll be Volkanovski defending his title against Ortega in a five-round main event.
The bookmakers have Volkanovski as the favorite heading into UFC 266, but what do UFC fighters think about the title fight? James Lynch asked fighters for their Volkanovski vs. Ortega prediction before UFC 266 this Saturday and here’s what they had to say.
How to watch UFC 266
Alexander Volkanovski vs. Brian Ortega is this Saturday’s main event at UFC 266. The only way to watch the live PPV event in the United States is by ordering on ESPN+ here.
Existing ESPN+ subscribers can purchase the UFC 266 PPV for $69.99.
New ESPN+ subscribers can purchase the UFC 266 & ESPN+ Bundle for $89.99.
The UFC 266 &
Alex Volkanovski vs. Brian Ortega predictions
“It’s going to be a good fight. Volkanovski is good, he’s not really good at one thing but he’s doing everything well. He’s good on the ground, he’s strong, he has great cardio, and he keeps fighting with the same energy for all five rounds. Ortega was looking great in his last fight and his striking is getting better. Everyone knows he is a great grappler but he looked great in his last fight with Korean Zombie. It’s going to be a great fight, a fun fight, but I really believe that Volkanovski — because of his style — has a little advantage.”
“Ortega. He’s a little more dangerous. He’s got a little more ways to win and he’s super dangerous on the ground. For five rounds, they’re going to tie up at some point and I can see Ortega getting it.”
“I can’t see Volkanovski losing. I think his build is kind of like anti-jump guillotine, not that it’s impossible because Brian Ortega is obviously really, really skilled as a grappler but it’s always really harder to get a hold of the short fire-hydrant kind-of guys, especially if you are going to jump guillotine. And his striking is really good. even if you think he didn’t win the Max fights, it wasn’t by a big margin either way and if you can go toe-to-toe with Max Holloway multiple times then you’re a pretty good striker. Brian Ortega could not do that. It doesn’t mean he can’t win but when you’re looking at it’d be hard to bet against a guy that can look that good against Max Holloway.”
“I’m team Volkanovski for life. I think it’s a tough fight for both guys but I think Volkanovski is going to have such a big speed advantage, he knows how to get inside really well and he’s good with his volume. He’s just an absolute unit. Go back and look at those pictures of him when he was playing rugby, he’s got a solid big bone structure, he’s got a big head on him, he can take a shot, he’s athletic. His speed and his ability to get inside will play a huge role in this fight — I’m taking Volkanovski.”
“It’s kind of hard to bet against Ortega even after that Holloway fight, but you know, we just remember what we’ve most recently seen. As well as Max looked in his last fight, and he looked magical in his last fight, he had an opportunity to do that to Volkanovski twice and he didn’t do it. I’m a big fan of Brian Ortega, I love his game and I love his jiu-jitsu, you know how I’m this big jiu-jitsu mark — I’m always on the side of jiu-jitsu. But after Volkanovski beat Max Holloway twice and then we saw what Max looked like against someone lesser than Volkanovski, you’ve gotta go with the champion.”