UFC Fighters React to Ilia Topuria’s KO Win Over Alexander Volkanovski at UFC 298

Ilia Topuria and Alexander Volkanovski at UFC 298.

Getty Ilia Topuria and Alexander Volkanovski at UFC 298.

Ilia Topuria’s second-round knockout win Saturday, February 17 at the UFC 298 event inside the Honda Center in Anaheim, California, was arguably the most stunning moment of the night.

Topuria didn’t even need to finish his punch combination to render the champ Alexander Volkanovski unconscious, formally ending a lengthy featherweight reign as king at 135 pounds.

With victory, the 28-year-old perhaps establishes a new era.

Immediate reaction Octagonside shows fellow UFC fighters were left gobsmacked at the result.

Clapping his hands ferociously over and over, the former UFC light heavyweight champion Jamahal Hill, who fights for the title again at UFC 300 in a main event spot against Alex Pereira, can be heard saying “that’s crazy” and “wow.”

Watch the aftermath right here:

Fighters Expressed Their Shock on Social Media

Big-name fighters like Islam Makhachev, Aljamain Sterling, and Belal Muhammad, amongst others, provided their instant reaction on X, the site formerly known as Twitter.

Muhammad, who has been linked with a UFC welterweight title match against Leon Edwards, said: “Ilia fought a great calculated fight.”

Makhachev, a dominant UFC champion at lightweight, said: “Alex is undeniably one of the greatest champions in the featherweight division.

“Keep your head up,” he added, “and come back strong.”

Makhachev finished by saluting Topuria: “Congrats to the new champ,” he said.

Sterling, a 27-fight veteran who returns to the Octagon for a featherweight match against Calvin Kattar at UFC 300 in Las Vegas, said: “A new king on the throne!

“Congrats to Ilia, Merab, and the country of Georgia and Spain!”


A former champion in One Championship and Bellator MMA, Ben Askren lauded Topuria’s power

“Wow — Topuria’s power is something else,” Askren said.

The Volkanovski knockout was Topuria’s fifth in 15 wins. He also has eight submissions and two decisions. He remains unbeaten.

“He hits so hard,” Askren finished.

The former UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman, meanwhile, said: “Damn! I told y’all he’s the real deal.”

Dana White Said Topuria ‘Couldn’t Have Looked Any Better’

The UFC boss Dana White was full of praise for Topuria, who, at age 27, is now the youngest champion on the UFC roster.

White told reporters at the post-fight UFC press conference that there were “a lot of questions going into this thing, never been in a main event like this, feeling the heat or pressure, [and] he couldn’t have looked any better against Volk who looked really good, too.”

He said: “Topuria looked solid, man. Very solid.”

White later said that Topuria and Sean O’Malley, a 29-year-old who is the current UFC bantamweight champion, are the next generation of MMA superstars.

He called Topuria “special.”

Earlier in the night, Topuria said on the live ESPN broadcast: “I feel so happy,” adding: “They’re going to tell you, you can’t do it. They’re going to knock you down. Just trust yourself. Work tirelessly, have faith and everything is possible. Look at me now.

“I knew one day I would become a UFC world champion. It doesn’t matter where you come from, if you know where you’re going. It’s much more important what’s in front of you than what’s behind you.”

UFC heads to Mexico City next for a Fight Night event on February 24, before returning to Las Vegas the following week.

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