Alexander Volkanovski left little doubt who the best featherweight in the world was as he dominated interim belt holder Yair Rodriguez stopping the Mexican fighter in the third round to defend his championship in the main event of UFC 290 in Las Vegas, Saturday.
Rodriguez started well in the first moving and using his superior height and reach to keep Volkanovski at bay with kicks. But that didn't last long as Volkanovski caught one of his legs and dumped him to the mat. He crowded Rodriguez against the cage and when the taekwondo specialist tried to regain his feet brought him back down and continued to pound on him. Round two was almost a repeat of round one with Rodriguez landing a few kicks until Volkanovski got hold of him and took him down where he mauled him. The third looked like Rodriguez's best round as he kept it standing for the first four minutes until getting cracked by a vicious right hook as he tried to throw a roundhouse kick. Volkanovski followed up with a double leg lifting and throwing Rodriquez down, then pummeling him until the referee stopped the action.
The co-main event saw Alexandre Pantoja take the flyweight title from Brandon Moreno by split decision in an epic five round brawl that left both men bloodied. Pantoja dropped Moreno in the first but the champion recovered to do damage with punches and elbows through the rest of the bout. But whenever it looked like Moreno was gaining momentum, Pantoja would find a takedown to rest back control of the fight and claim the title.