A pair of anticipated championship bouts have been scheduled for UFC 272 with rivals Max Holloway and Alexander Volkanovski slated to cap their trilogy for the featherweight championship.
Aljamain Sterling, meanwhile, will defend his bantamweight belt against interim champion Petr Yan in a rematch of their controversial UFC 259 fight that saw Yan disqualified for an illegal knee. UFC president Dana White announced the fights to network partner ESPN on Wednesday. The March 5 event is likely to take place in Las Vegas, ESPN's Brett Okamoto reports.
Volkanovski (23-1) has twice defeated Holloway (23-6) in close bouts, with their rematch at UFC 251 in July 2020 a narrow split decision. Volkanovski previously defeated Holloway in a unanimous decision at UFC 245 to secure the belt. He's since defended it against Brian Ortega at UFC 266 in September.
Holloway has consecutive wins over Calvin Kattar and Yair Rodriguez since losing the rematch. He's the division's No. 1 contender and UFC's No. 7 pound-for-pound fighter. Volkanovski is No. 2 in the pound-for-pound rankings. He slyly applauded Holloway's effort against Kattar while teasing the trilogy fight last January.
— Alex Volkanovski (@alexvolkanovski) January 17, 2021
Almost a year later, the highly anticipated trilogy bout is now set.
Sterling, meanwhile, will mount his first title defense since his controversial victory over Yan (16-2) in March. Sterling (20-3) won the belt from Yan after Yan was disqualified for this illegal knee to Sterling's head in the fourth round:
You can’t do that.
Aljamain Sterling is the new Bantamweight Champion pic.twitter.com/cbhbbaaXI1
— BetMGM 🦁 (@BetMGM) March 7, 2021
Yan was up 29-28 on two judges' scorecards while Sterling was up 29-28 on the third at the time of the disqualification. The pair were slated for a rematch in October at UFC 267, but Sterling pulled out of the fight with a neck injury. Yan went on to defeat Cory Sandhagen for the interim title. Yan is the division's No. 1 contender and UFC's 11th-ranked pound-for-pound fighter.