Ilia Topuria knocks out Alexander Volkanovski for UFC featherweight title in a stunner

Ilia Topuria reacts immediately after his knockout victory over Alexander Volkanovski.
Ilia Topuria reacts immediately after his knockout victory over Alexander Volkanovski to claim the UFC featherweight title at UFC 298 at Honda Center on Saturday night.
(Cooper Neill / Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Ilia Topuria drops Alexander Volkanovski with a big right in the second round, defeating him by knockout to claim the UFC featherweight title in a shocking win.

Alexander Volkanovski’s UFC featherweight title reign came to an end when Ilia Topuria connected with a vicious right that forced Volkanovski to instantly collapse.

Topuria (15-0) immediately followed with a crushing combination of punches on the fallen Volkanovski (26-4), and the fight was called off at the 3:32 mark of the second round.

Topuria — a Georgian now based in Spain — is the UFC’s new 145-pound champion.

The fight headlined UFC 298 at Honda Center in Anaheim in front of 18,186 fans. The event grossed a gate of $7.26 million, making it the highest-grossing MMA event in California history and the highest-grossing live event in the arena’s history.

Ilia Topuria ends Alexander Volkanovski’s reign as UFC featherweight champion

Ilia Topuria celebrates after his knockout victory against Alexander Volkanovski for the UFC featherweight title.
Ilia Topuria celebrates after his knockout victory against Alexander Volkanovski for the UFC featherweight title at UFC 298 on Saturday.
(Chris Unger / Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Unbeaten Ilia Topuria stopped Alexander Volkanovski in the second round to claim the featherweight title at UFC 298 on Saturday night, ending the Australian champion’s four-year reign.

Topuria (15-0), a Georgian who lives and trains in Spain, controlled the first round of his first UFC title fight with sharp striking before he sensationally finished off Volkanovski with more of the same.

Topuria staggered the 35-year-old Volkanovski to the cage with a left-right combination before putting him on the canvas with a perfect right hand followed by a big left. Topuria finished the stunned champion on the ground with 1:28 left, improving to 7-0 since joining the UFC in late 2020.

Ilia Topuria connects with the head of Alexander Volkanovski.
Ilia Topuria, right, connects with the head of Alexander Volkanovski during their featherweight title bout at UFC 298.
(Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

“I feel so happy right now,” Topuria said. “They told me I couldn’t do it. ... Just trust yourself, and anything is possible. Just look at me now.”

Volkanovski (26-4) had made five consecutive successful title defenses since winning his belt in late 2019, but his reign ended with his first featherweight loss in UFC competition. Volkanovski also lost twice in the past year to lightweight champion Islam Makhachev in a failed bid to become a two-division champ, and he didn’t show his usual relentless work rate against Topuria before the fight abruptly ended.

Topuria perfectly seized a moment several years in the making. He had stormed to the top of the list contenders for Volkanovski’s belt with six consecutive UFC victories in less than three years, capped by a blowout decision over Josh Emmett last summer.

Topuria didn’t lack for confidence during the promotion of this fight. He repeatedly spoke of Volkanovski’s reign in the past tense, and he even swiped the title belt off the table in front of Volkanovski at their news conference Thursday.

Volkanovski showed up to that event dressed like an old man, lampooning the notion he was too old to compete with the 27-year-old Topuria.

Billionaire Mark Zuckerberg walked out with Volkanovski and wore the champ’s cornermen’s gear in his front-row seat at the sold-out Honda Center.


Ilia Topuria knocks out Alexander Volkanovski for UFC featherweight title

Round 2: Alexander Volkanovski keeps switching back and forth from southpaw to orthodox stances in what’s unfolded as a highly technical tilt thus far.

Volkanovski cuts the bridge of the nose of Ilia Topuria with a sharp jab. He attempts another and pay for it dearly, as Topuria charges in to connect with a vicious and thunderous counter right hand that instantly drops Volkanovski.

Topuria pounces and piles on with a series of punches, forcing an end to the action. We have a new undefeated UFC featherweight champion, and his name is Ilia Topuria.


Round 1 recap: Alexander Volkanovski and Ilya Topuria underway

Round 1: A feeling-out first frame ensued for the first two minutes until Topuria connected with a right hand and a sweeping leg at the 2:45 mark.

Topuria was the fighter mostly pressing forward. Volkanovski answered with a right-leg kick of his own.

Volkanovski unleashed a perfectly timed left hand from a southpaw stance that didn’t connect flush. The veteran is certainly trying to catch the Topuria coming in.

Intriguing first round. Volkanovski outlanded Topuria 20-15 with 17 of those total strikes coming to the leg and body of Topuria. Topuria landed 9 head shots.


Alexander Volkanovski vs. Ilia Topuria set to start

The main event — Alexander Volkanovski vs. Ilia Topuria is about to start.


Robert Whittaker outlasts Paulo Costa in bloody bout between top middleweights 

The intriguing middleweight matchup between former UFC champion Robert Whittaker and former title challenger Paulo Costa featured plenty of star power.

Although many salivated at the thought of a scintillating finish, a tit-for-tat scrap unfolded and Whittaker was ultimately rewarded for his workmanlike performance with a unanimous decision victory.

Judges scored the slugfest 30-27, 29-28, 29-28 in favor of the technically proficient Whittaker.

Whittaker (26-7) got off to a hot start and outlanded Costa 32 to 20 in the first round. The best sequence of the opening stanza came when Costa connected with a highlight-reel-worthy roundhouse kick to the head of Whittaker. Costa (14-3) quickly pounced, but the horn sounded to end the round.

Costa quickly returned to form in the second and busted Whittaker with a series of kicks to form a crimson mask on the Australian’s face. Whittaker rallied with a picture-perfect right as well as a series of other shots. Although bloodied and bruised, Whittaker certainly was not beaten and was the more active and accurate fighter, outlanding Costa 32 to 20 in the second round.

The action slowed a bit in the third as fatigue started factoring in for both fighters, but Whittaker continued to outwork Costa.

Whittaker finished the fight outlanding Costa 93 to 59 in a clash that never went to the ground.

Both fighters came into the contest having lost two out of their last three fights at 185 pounds; Whittaker is the UFC’s No. 3 ranked fighter, Costa was No. 6.


Ian Garry beats Geoff Neal via split decision in a listless fight 

Ian Garry, right, kicks Geoff Neal during their welterweight bout at UFC 298.
(Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

Undefeated Irish welterweight contender Ian Garry’s showcase fight resulted in a dud but not defeat as a listless performance led to a split decision win over Geoff Neal.

More boos from the crowd than blows between the contestants were exchanged, as restless fans disapproved of the action in the second and third rounds after a compelling first frame.

Two judges scored the milquetoast matchup that took place exclusively standing up 30-27 in favor of Garry (14-0), while a third had it 29-28 in favor of Neal (15-6).

Garry outlanded Neal 67 to 55 in the fight, including a 17-3 edge to the body.

The most intriguing sequence of the fight came at the beginning. The best punch of a razor-thin first round featured a decisive straight left hand from Neal to the jaw of Garry. The 26-year-old Garry returned with a few kicks to the body, but the southpaw Neal closed the frame with another crisp left hand to the face of Garry.

The rest of the fight featured Neal mostly chasing an elusive Garry as Garry infrequently countered and connected with whatever openings he could find.


Merab Dvalishvili dominates Henry Cejudo to score unanimous decision

Merab Dvalishvili, right, punches Henry Cejudo during their bantamweight bout at UFC 298.
(Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

The bantamweight bout between Merab Dvalishvili and Henry Cejudo featured two fighters whose careers were headed in different directions.

Dvalishvili walked into the cage of the crossroads clash on the heels of a nine-fight winning streak. Cejuda — a former simultaneous UFC flyweight and bantamweight champion, and also an Olympic gold medalist wrestler — hinted at another retirement if he lost.

Not only did Cejudo lose, but he did so in a one-sided fashion, dropping a unanimous decision 29-28.

Less than 90 seconds into the fight, Cejudo connected with a countercheck left hook that Dvalishvili acknowledged. The shot seemingly woke up the Georgian, as he immediately scored a takedown and landed a combination of shots. Cejudo got back on his feet and scored a takedown of his own but didn’t do much damage while staying in control. Dvalishvili finished the round outlanding Cejudo 45 to 21, but the judges scored the round in favor of Cejudo.

Merab Dvalishvili, left, celebrates in the closing seconds of his victory over Henry Cejudo.
(Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

Dvalishvili dominated the second round, ending the stanza with a strong chokehold, landing 53 shots to only nine for Cejudo. Cejudo walked back into his corner with a look of defeat and a welt under his right eye.

The highlight of the fight came with less than two minutes remaining in the third when Dvalishvili picked up Cejudo, took several steps across the canvas, and viciously slammed him against the cage.

The picture-perfect move punctuated Dvalishvili’s punishing performance.

Dvalishvili outlanded Cejudo 176 to 35 to finish the fight.

Dvalishvili moves one step closer to a matchup against current bantamweight champion Sean O’Malley.

“Where is the champion? Bring him in right now,” Dvalishvili declared in the cage after the fight. “I’m ready, bring him next. Whoever is the champion.”

O’Malley will be fighting Marlon Vera on March 9 to headline UFC 299.

The loss marked the second in a row for Cejudo, who returned in 2023 after a three-year retirement.


Anthony Hernandez submits Roman Kopylov via rear naked choke

Anthony Hernandez, left, puts a hold on Roman Kopylov during their middleweight fight at UFC 298 on Saturday night.
(Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

A middleweight matchup between Anthony Hernandez and Roman Kopylov kicked off the pay-per-view portion of UFC 298, and it was the 30-year-old Hernandez (12-2), from Dunnigan, Calif., who scored the statement win against Kopylov (12-3) with a second-round submission.

After a mostly even first round, Kopylov came out and connected with a series of thudding left kicks to body. Hernandez stuck his tongue out, seemingly admitting some damage had been done.

But that was the last positive moment the Russian enjoyed.

Seconds later, Hernandez scored a takedown and quickly applied a rear naked choke. As the crowd roared, Hernandez nodded his head in approval and tightened his grip even further, forcing the Russian to end the tussle via tap out at the 3:23 mark.

Hernandez outlanded Kopylov 32 to 23 in the fight.

The win was the fifth in a row for Hernandez, who came into the night ranked No. 15 at middleweight in UFC.


Expert picks for Alexander Volkanovski vs. Ilia Topuria at UFC 298

Alexander Volkanovski, left, and Ilia Topuria face off during the UFC 298 ceremonial weigh-in at Honda Center on Friday.
(Cooper Neill / Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Mixed-martial arts reporters make their picks and predictions for tonight’s Alexander Volkanovski vs. Ilia Topuria fight:

It’s tried and tested versus talented and tough. Saturday’s main event in Anaheim for the UFC featherweight belt presents a terrific match between Volkanovski, a great champion approaching the downside of his career, and Topuria, an ascendant contender who seems extremely comfortable as a future king. Based on their records, the fight shouldn’t be close. Volkanovski owns one of the best resumes in MMA. Topuria’s ledger is much less impressive. But these things generally aren’t decided by what was. I’m buying Topuria as the would-be man at 145 pounds. The question remains: Can that big step up come at the expense of Volkanovski? Even at his best I suspect Volkanovski has a hard time finding answers for Topuria, whose smart and dangerous striking ability combined with a powerful, physical grappling game made him a standout prospect. Unbeaten in 16 fights at featherweight, Volkanovski’s excursion up in weight last year did not go well. He swears there won’t be hangover concerns after losing twice at lightweight to UFC champion Islam Makhachev. One more win for Volkanovski shouldn’t surprise anyone. Pulling it off in dominant fashion, however, would be a heck of a statement. In what sets up as a tight and competitive five-rounder, I predict the younger Topuria fighter wins on points.

Josh Gross, author, “Ali vs. Inoki: The Forgotten Fight That Inspired Mixed Martial Arts and Launched Sports Entertainment”

This is such a difficult matchup to predict. Under ideal circumstances, I feel like Volkanovski is the safe pick. However, he is coming off of a loss and at age 35, he would be the only fighter in UFC history to win a championship bout at 155 pounds or lower. Topuria has been on a roll and absolutely looks the part as an undefeated 27 year old. Even with all of that information, Volkanovski has been so good at featherweight that I cannot, in good conscience, pick against him. Volkanovski winning by decision is the most likely outcome in my mind.

— Aaron Bronsteter, MMA reporter, Sportsnet

Volkanovski vs. Topuria is an age old combat sports story playing out in real time. A young, unstoppable terror rising through the ranks to meet the dominant but aging champion. The story usually has a similar ending – the fresher fighter proves it’s a young man’s game, and we see a shift in eras for the division. The reason why UFC 298’s main event has us all on edge, however, is because Volkanovski might just be the man who’s so good that he can defy age. Despite the fact he’s coming off a knockout defeat, the Australian seems somehow more confident heading into this clash. While there’s already no question of his greatness, should he turn both the hard-hitting Topuria and the doubting tide back once again, Volkanovski cements himself as one of the best to ever do it. Volkanovski by decision.

— Oscar Willis, content manager,

Volkanovski is one of the longest-reigning champions and greatest featherweights in UFC history for a reason. But Topuria is catching him at the best possible time. The fact that Volkanovski was so urgent to get back into the Octagon after a devastating knockout loss to Islam Makhachev is definitely a cause for concern. He should’ve taken at least six months off, especially after stepping into that fight on short notice. If the Topuria matchup was happening in the summer, I’d be a bit more confident in Volkanovski to come through against a surging, confident, and, most importantly, undefeated contender who looks like the division’s future. But that’s not the reality we’re in. Unlike many of Volkanovski’s past challengers, Topuria has no apparent weaknesses (his 92% takedown defense rate could be key). And that’s a big problem for a Volkanovski who might be on the decline. A new era in the featherweight division begins Saturday night and Father Time stays undefeated.

— Nick Baldwin, MMA news editor,

If you asked me a month ago, or even one week ago, I would have said choosing anyone but Volkanovski is a bad idea. But after seeing Topuria over the past few days, my tides are turning. There’s something to be said about the young, hungry fighter looking to make history with two whole countries behind him. The chanting from his friends and family as he weighed in Friday even motivated me to fight. I always put a lot of weight into the mental side of the game, which I think can make or break even the best fighter. Topuria has what feels like the whole world behind him and that kind of confidence happens just once. I think Topuria will strike lightning this weekend and I wouldn’t be surprised if his prophecy of a first-round knockout win becomes reality.

— Amy Kaplan, combat sports editor,

Volkanovski returns to the featherweight division, where he is a legend. Topuria is very talented, vicious, and dangerous, but it might be too much, too soon for him. Volkanovski at 35 is not average. The champion is a complete fighter – he has striking volume, better pace, timing, pressure, and grappling. Topuria has good boxing but questionable wrestling, and he hasn’t faced opponents of the same quality as Volkanovski has in his career. Not even close. Topuria will be a champion in the near future, but not Saturday. Volkanovski by TKO in Round 4.

— Eduard Cauich, LA Times en Español sports editor

Coming off of two losses in his last three fights, Volkanovski’s mantra has been wrecked to the point that the doubters are louder than ever before. The Australian lost twice against Islam Makhachev and will have to do much more than just win against Topuria in order to restore some credibility. He will have to crush his opponent and it won’t be easy. Topuria is as dangerous as it comes and will rely on his boxing and kicking skills to stop Volkanovski, who in return will try to bring the fight to the canvas. But Volkanovski will prevail with a TKO in the third round in a bloody match.

— Jad El Reda, LA Times en Español sports editor


More experts make their UFC 298 picks for Alexander Volkanovski vs. Ilia Topuria

Alexander Volkanovski, left, and Ilia Topuria face off during a news conference at Honda Center on Thursday.
(Chris Unger / Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Mixed-martial arts reporters make their picks and predictions for tonight’s Alexander Volkanovski vs. Ilia Topuria fight:

Volkanovski’s recent results are a perfect demonstration of why weight classes actually matter. He’s a profoundly talented fighter, but he’s also 5-foot-6. He’s built to unleash that relentless physicality on guys his own size, and there’s almost no reason to think he can’t still do it to any featherweight. Topuria is an elite, hardened talent who also fights even bigger than he is. He earned this title shot, but Volkanovski is so versatile and so tough that I can’t pick against the Aussie until somebody punctures that armor at 145 pounds. Volkanovski by decision.

— Greg Beacham, sports reporter, The Associated Press

It’s a genuinely hard fight to predict in terms of a winner. Volkanovski is undeniably more experienced, yet Topuria’s skills, youth and ability both on the feet and on the ground understandably puts him in the frame to become a new champion. We are set for a terrific contest. Can Topuria provide the kryptonite for the champion who has reigned at featherweight since December 2019 and always seems to find a way to win in his natural weight division? I can see an upset from the younger fighter, truly, and if the Georgian comes through, it will be a victory for tenacity and youth. Then the pendulum swings, and you have the sense that the older, wizened champion may prevail. Topuria has fought nowhere near the level of opponents the champ has, yet the control over Josh Emmett perhaps signals something. It’s never wise to pick against Volkanovski, who is a modern MMA marvel, and yet Topuria may just edge this through his youthfulness, desire and not knowing how to lose – it could be a classic, it’s that kind of contest. Topuria by points decision.

— Gareth A. Davies, fight sports correspondent and broadcaster, The Daily Telegraph and Talksport Radio

Topuria has very technical boxing skills, excellent wrestling and he’s a terrific finisher. He has everything it takes to be a champion. But in his first title shot, he’s facing arguably the best featherweight of all time. Volkanovski mixes his game better than just about anyone and he has a great fight IQ. Topuria will have his moments, but Volkanovski is too good and too experienced and I believe he’ll win a unanimous decision.

Kevin Iole, combat sports reporter,

Few have entered a featherweight title defense during Volkanovski’s impressive reign with more hype and clout than unbeaten Topuria. With one-punch power, a patient grappling game and the swagger of a breakout star in waiting, Topuria has gone the lengths of updating his social media bios to portray him, already, as a UFC champion. He has also taken pictures with the title during fight week. The problem is, no one he has faced up to this point has been at the level of Volkanovski. Despite being 35 years old, and entering fresh off a head-kick knockout just four months ago in his lightweight title rematch against Islam Makhachev, Volkanovski has never been beaten at 145 pounds, going 18-0 throughout his career. A master at muting his opponent’s offense, Volkanovski has also proved to be battle-tested enough to avoid particularly vulnerable situations – like Brian Ortega’s deep guillotine attempt – without panic. Until Volkanovski shows up old as a featherweight, he’s simply too adaptive and smart to pick against. Volkanovski via unanimous decision.

Brian Campbell, combat sports writer, CBS Sports

All good things end badly, otherwise they wouldn’t end at all. That’s basically where we’re at with Volkanovski. At age 35, the featherweight champ is already defying Father Time in a way no UFC lightweight champion has before. Unfortunately for him, Topuria is the exact prototype you’d engineer in a lab if you sought a passing-of-the-torch contender. With strong boxing, underrated ringcraft, and dazzling physicality, Topuria’s speed, power, and athleticism may be tops in the whole division; the 27-year-old challenger has the gifts to end Volkanovski’s historic reign. It won’t be as easy as Topuria seems to believe, but featherweight’s next era starts on Saturday night with a Topuria win.

— Shaheen Al-Shatti, Deputy Editor,

I promised myself after Volkanovski beat Max Holloway for the third time that I would not pick against him ever again at featherweight, but this is testing the limits of that commitment. Topuria would be a dangerous opponent regardless of circumstances, but with Volkanovski coming off a knockout loss to Islam Makhachev in a short-notice rematch at lightweight in October, this is a scary situation for Volkanovski, but one where he can yet again showcase his greatness. Volkanovski is one of the most complete fighters in MMA history, and we’ve seen him thrive in so many spots inside the cage. Unless the Makhachev fight compromised his durability, Volkanovski should be able to use pace, pressure and a mixed attack on Topuria over the course of five rounds to defend the belt — again.

— Mike Bohn, senior reporter, USA TODAY’s


UFC 298: Tale of the tape for Ilia Topuria

Ilia Topuria celebrates after defeating Bryce Mitchell at UFC 282 in December 2022.
(John Locher / Associated Press)

Ilia Topuria

Nickname: El Matador

Age: 1/21/1997 (27)

Record: 14-0

Country: Georgia

Height: 5 feet 7 inches

Weight: 144.5 pounds

Stance: Orthodox

Reach: 69 inches

Leg Reach: 37 inches

Significant wins: Josh Emmett, Bryce Mitchell, Ryan Hall

Last Fight: Five-round unanimous decision win against Josh Emmett

Average fight time: 10:17

Wins by KO: 4

Wins by Submission: 8

Wins by Decision: 2

Significant strikes landed per minute: 4.44

Significant strikes absorbed per minute: 3.05

Takedown average per 15 minutes: 2.19

Takedown accuracy: 56%

Takedown defense accuracy: 92%

Submission average per 15 minutes: 1.46


UFC 298: Tale of the tape for Alexander Volkanovski

Alexander Volkanovski, left, punches Max Holloway in a featherweight title bout at UFC 276 in July 2022.
(John Locher / Associated Press)

Alexander Volkanovski

Nickname: The Great

Age: 9/29/1988 (35)

Record: 26-3

Country: Australia

Height: 5 foot 6 inches

Weight: 144.5 pounds

Stance: Orthodox

Reach: 71.5 inches

Leg Reach: 36 inches

Significant wins: Max Holloway (three times), Brian Ortega, Jose Aldo, Yair Rodriguez, Chan Sung Jung, Chad Mendes

Last Fight: First-round knockout loss to UFC lightweight champion Islam Makhachev

Average fight time: 16:18

Wins by KO: 13

Wins by Submission: 3

Wins by Decision: 10

Significant strikes landed per minute: 6.19

Significant strikes absorbed per minute: 3.42

Takedown average per 15 minutes: 1.84

Takedown accuracy: 37%

Takedown defense accuracy: 70%

Submission average per 15 minutes: 0.18


Exclusive interviews with Alexander Volkanovski and Ilia Topuria 

I interviewed UFC featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski and title challenger Ilia Topuria recently to cover all of the major storylines around their main event fight headlining UFC 298. Here’s what they had to say.

Ilia Topuria:

Alexander Volkanovski:


UFC and WWE to each stage at least 3 events in Anaheim through 2028

Honda Center in Anaheim
(Jae C. Hong / Associated Press)

The UFC and WWE is leveraging its events this weekend as a launching pad to announce a slate of shows set to be staged in Southern California for the next five years.

OCVIBE, the $4 billion entertainment district being developed around the Honda Center, announced a deal with UFC and WWE that includes both companies staging at least three events at Honda Center through 2028.

OCVIBE has been previously billed as “L.A. Live on steroids.” The project is being developed across 100 acres by the Samueli family, owners of the Anaheim Ducks.

UFC 298 takes place Saturday at the Honda Center in Anaheim, and WWE Monday Night Raw takes place at the arena two days later, the 64th WWE event at the venue.

UFC has been staging shows in Anaheim since UFC 59 in 2006. Saturday’s show marks the MMA promotional company’s tenth event at the Honda Center, the most of any arena in the United States outside of Las Vegas.

The last two times UFC held events at the Honda Center was UFC 270 in February 2022 and UFC 241 in August 2019. UFC 270’s gate of $5.29 million set a record as the highest-grossing event for the arena.

UFC and WWE merged into one company last year as the Endeavor-owned publicly traded company TKO Group.


UFC 298 betting odds Alexander Volkanovski vs. Ilia Topuria 

DraftKings has Alexander Volkanovski listed as a -125 betting favorite and Ilia Topuria as a +105 underdog.

The over/under the fight is at 3.5 rounds.


How to watch Alexander Volkanovski vs. Ilia Topuria in UFC 298

UFC 298 will take place at the Honda Center in Anaheim on Saturday night.

Doors open to the public at 2:30 p.m. and early prelims begin at 3 p.m. on ESPN+ and UFC Fight Pass. At 5 p.m., the action switches over to ESPN and ESPN+ for the prelim portion of the program.

The pay-per-view show begins at 7 p.m. and the event can be ordered exclusively through ESPN+ — a separate ESPN+ subscription is required in order to purchase the event.

Tickets can be purchased through Ticketmaster if you’re in the Southern California area and want to attend the first UFC event in the region in nearly two years.

The UFC also has a directory on its website which shows all of the bars and restaurants that will be carrying the card around the country.


UFC 298 undercard features intriguing middleweight fight

Robert Whittaker celebrates after defeating Yoel Romero at UFC 225 in June 2018.
(Jim Young / Associated Press)

UFC 298 will feature 12 fights, including a compelling co-main event fight between former UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker (25-7) and former middleweight title challenger Paulo Costa (14-2).

The crossroads clash features a pair of fighters who’ve lost two out of their last three fights and are looking to earn another crack at the crown — Whittaker is the UFC’s No. 3 ranked fighter at 185 pounds, Costa is No. 6.

The main card also features former simultaneous flyweight and bantamweight champion Henry Cejudo (16-3) as he tries to get back into the win column in his second fight back from a three-year retirement against Merab Dvalishvili (16-4).

Here’s how UFC 298 will unfold:

Main Card (7 p.m.)
Main Event: Alexander Volkanovski (26-3) vs Ilia Topuria (14-0)
Co-Main: Robert Whittaker (25-7) vs Paulo Costa (14-2)
Geoff Neal (15-5) vs Ian Garry (13-0)
Merab Dvalishvili (16-4) vs Henry Cejudo (16-3)
Anthony Hernandez (11-2) vs Roman Kopylov (12-2)

Prelims (5 p.m.)
Amanda Lemos (13-3-1) vs Mackenzie Dern (13-4)
Marcos Rogerio de Lima (21-10-1) vs Junior Tafa (7-3)
Rinya Nakamura (8-0) vs Carlos Vera (11-3)
Zhang Mingyang (16-6) vs Brendson Ribeiro (15-5)
Josh Quinlan (6-1) vs Danny Barlow (7-0)

Early Prelims (3:30 p.m.)
Oban Elliott (9-2) vs Val Woodburn (7-1)
Andrea Lee (13-8) vs Miranda Maverick (14-5)