In his first title defense since winning the belt at UFC 245, Alexander Volkanovski will reportedly run it back with former champion Max Holloway.
ESPN’s Ariel Helwani was first to report that the fight is being targeted for UFC 251, although the contracts have not been signed yet. The fight was originally scheduled to take place this summer in Australia, but those plans were shut down to the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic.
Back in December of 2019, Volkanovski beat Holloway by unanimous decision, extending his winning streak to 18 wins in a row, his UFC run to 8-0, with notable wins over Holloway, former champion Jose Aldo, and former title challenger Chad Mendes. Following his title capture, Volkanovski underwent hand surgery but is now ready to return for his first title defense.
Helwani’s report also adds that the UFC is possibly looking at adding two more title fights to the card at UFC 251. In addition to the featherweight title matchup, the UFC is reportedly looking to add a welterweight title fight between champion Kamaru Usman and top-contender Gilbert Burns who most recently defeated former champion Tyron Woodley.
The third title fight under consideration for the promotion is a bantamweight title fight between Petr Yan and Jose Aldo for the vacant title. None of the reported fights have been signed for, but they are all in the plans for the UFC 251 PPV card according to ESPN.
In addition to their booking plans, the location plan for UFC 251 is for it to take place on ‘Fight Island’ which was reported this past weekend to be located in Abu Dhabi.
The original plan for the welterweight title fight was for Usman to take on ‘BMF’ champion Jorge Masvidal but due to contraction negotiations not going well between Masvidal and the UFC, they are looking to replace him with Burns who has compiled a six-fight winning streak and has wins over Woodley and Demian Maia since moving up to the welterweight division.
With Henry Cejudo retired, it vacated the bantamweight title and Dana White quickly looked to book a title matchup with Petr Yan and someone, and that someone became former featherweight champion Jose Aldo. In his bantamweight debut Aldo lost a controversial and close fight to former title challenger Marlon Moraes, and with plenty of contenders in the division, the plan is for Aldo and Yan to battle it out first for the title.
Cejudo did tell TMZ recently that he would only come out of retirement if he was able to face Alexander Volkanovski in his attempt to win a third title, which would make him the first fighter in UFC history to do so, but it appears the UFC is set on the Volkanovski-Holloway rematch.
Which of the reported three title fights at UFC 251 are you most excited to see?
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 6/8/2020