Brian Ortega was in fact very close to submitting Alexander Volkanovski.
Volkanovski successfully defended his featherweight strap for the second time following a fight of the year candidate with Ortega in the UFC 266 headliner last night.
The craziest moments by far came in the third round where Ortega dropped Volkanovski and sunk in a deep mounted guillotine with the champion struggling for a good few seconds.
However, “The Great” was able to escape and land some ground and pound before Ortega applied a triangle choke which looked equally deep as well.
Once again, though, Volkanovski was able to escape and finish the round strong with brutal ground and pound en route to a lopsided unanimous decision victory.
— Cageside (@cageside_) September 26, 2021
Volkanovski: I Was Making Weird Noises
So was Volkanovski really in trouble? Or was Ortega too hurt at that point to fully execute submissions that have got him numerous wins in the past?
According to the champion, he was in big trouble.
“It was deep, it was, ‘oh f*ck, I’m about to lose the belt deep’,” Volkanovski said in the post-fight press conference. “… That was as deep as it can get, no sh*t, as deep as it could get. I remember, I was making f**** weird noises.”
Luckily for Volkanovski, he was able to get out and still win the round with Ortega laying on the ground well after the bell at which point the champion thought the challenger was broken.
“I thought I was going to break him,” Volkanovski added. “I thought he was broken after the third round, but the ref decided to give him a minute to ask him questions. He wasn’t answering them right, I was looking. … He couldn’t even see where he was going. I was like, ‘that’s it, it’s over.’
“I go in there, start putting pressure, and he’s firing back just like he was like nothing happened. He’s tough, he’s durable, and credit to him.”
You can watch Volkanovski’s full post-fight press conference below: