The much-anticipated trilogy between featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski and Max Holloway seems set for this summer.
US outlet MMA Junkie confirmed late on Thursday that verbal agreements are in place for the bout at UFC 276 on July 2, following an initial report from prominent journalist Ariel Helwani. MMA Junkie said, though, that contracts have still to be issued.
On Thursday, Volkanovski tweeted that he was "back in fight camp", with Holloway following on the social media platform to suggest the bout was booked.
Volkanovski, who is 24-1 in professional MMA and unbeaten in all 11 UFC appearances, was slated to face former champion Holloway in March, but the latter withdrew through injury. The pair met first in December 2019, when Volkanovski defeated the Hawaiian by unanimous decision at UFC 245 in Las Vegas to secure the title.
Volkanovski then successfully defended the belt at UFC 251 during the inaugural Fight Island in Abu Dhabi in July 2020, coming through the back-and-forth encounter at Du Arena via split decision. The Australian has since gone on to twice defend the title, first against Brian Ortega and then with a stellar fourth-round stoppage win against Chan Sung Jung two months ago. “The Korean Zombie” was a late replacement for Holloway.
Holloway, meanwhile, rebounded brilliantly from that second straight championship loss to Volkanovski, winning back-to-back clashes against Kalvin Kattar in January last year – that bout also took place in Abu Dhabi – and most recently against Yair Rodriguez, in November. Both bouts were awarded Fight of the Night bonuses. Holloway’s pro MMA record reads 23-6 (19-6 UFC).
Although not yet confirmed by the promotion, UFC 276 is scheduled for International Fight Week and is to be staged at T-Mobile Arena. The card is understood to also feature among other bouts Lauren Murphy versus Miesha Tate and Sean O’Malley against Pedro Munhoz.