Alexander Volkanovski
Alexander Volkanovski of Australia looks on before his UFC featherweight championship fight against Chan Sung Jung of South Korea during the UFC 273 event at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena on April 09, 2022 in Jacksonville, Florida. James Gilbert/Getty Images


  • A unified featherweight champion will arise between Alexander Volkanovski and Yair Rodrigez at
  • Brandon Moreno faces a familiar foe in his defense of the UFC flyweight championship
  • UFC 290 takes place on July 9 to conclude the International Fight Week

UFC featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski entrenched himself in the minds of many mixed martial arts (MMA) fans when he ended Max Holloway's reign with the title and subsequently beat him twice by decision to cement his place atop the division.

With four successful title defenses under his belt which also featured wins against Chang-sung Jung and Brian Ortega, Volkanovski will have a chance to prove that he is the true king of the division when he faces interim champ Yair Rodriguez at UFC 290 during UFC International Fight Week to unify the belts.

Fans last saw the No. 2 men's pound-for-pound fighter step inside the cage as a lightweight when he challenged Islam Makhachev for the division's title in February at UFC 284.

The wrestling-based Russian champion was able to successfully fend off Volkanovski's pursuit and kept the title around his waist via unanimous decision in a five-round war that was awarded the Fight of the Night.

As to how Rodriguez came to carry the interim strap, the UFC revealed in mid-November that "El Pantera" will be taking on Josh Emmett at the aforementioned UFC 284 to ensure that the featherweight division keeps rolling regardless of whether Volkanovski's outcome against Makhachev.

That decision appears to have paid off for the UFC attraction-wise as unification bouts usually draw a ton of attention from the community regardless of weight class.

Also on the card will be two-time UFC flyweight champion Brandon Moreno defending his title against the No. 2-ranked Alexandre Pantoja.

Moreno made UFC history in 2021 as the first-ever Mexican champion after finishing then-titleholder Deiveson Figueiredo via rear-naked choke.

He did lose the title in the rematch before putting him away in the trilogy fight as interim champion to finally be the undisputed UFC flyweight champion once again.

MMA afficionados will remember that "The Cannibal" and "The Assassin Baby" have met under the UFC's banner twice–first in 2016 during The Ultimate Fighter: Tournament of Champions and the second in 2018 at UFC Fight Night 129.

Pantoja claimed victory on both occasions, beating Moreno via rear-naked choke and unanimous decision respectively.

However, it has been five years since the pair last faced each other and the trilogy bout appears to be another one filled with heavy striking and grappling excellence on both sides.

Aside from the marquee bouts, UFC 290 also features two must-watch bouts in the form of former UFC middleweight king and current No. 2-ranked Robert Whittaker takes on No. 6-ranked Dricus Du Plessis in a potential title eliminator alongside top middleweight prospect Bo Nickal fighting "The Ultimate Fighter" veteran Tresean Gore.

Other fights on the card are as follows:

  • Jalin Turner vs. Dan Hooker (lightweight)
  • Sean Brady vs. Jack Della Maddalena (welterweight)
  • Yazmin Jauregui vs. Denise Gomes (women's strawweight)
  • Robbie Lawler vs. Niko Price (welterweight)

UFC 290 takes place at the T-Mobile Arena on July 9 to close out the International Fight Week that features the 2023 UFC Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on July 6 and the interactive two-day fan experience of UFC X at the Las Vegas Convention Center on July 7 and 8.

Brandon Moreno
Brandon Moreno ended his rivalry with Deiveson Figueiredo with an exclamation point following a technical knockout over the latter to become the undisputed flyweight champion in the co-main event of UFC 283. UFC