Alexander Volkanovski has had backstage words with UFC legend Max Holloway after revealing what was said during their weigh-in.
Alexander Volkanovski had a clear message to challenger Max Holloway backstage after the pair again dealt verbal blows ahead of their epic trilogy fight at UFC 276.
Volkanovski was the first fighter to step on the scales on Friday morning [local time] while the Australian made the championship weight ahead.
Volkanovski tipped the scales at 144.5 pounds (65.5 kilograms), exactly the same as Holloway, to capture what will be an intriguing third installment of the pair’s ongoing rivalry.
Watch UFC 276: Adesanya vs Cannonier + Volkanovski vs Holloway LIVE on the Main Event, available on Kayo & Foxtel, Sunday, July 3 from 12pm AEST. ORDER NOW >
Holloway turned fire on Volkanovski during Thursday’s press conference, so this time it was the Australian’s chance to attack early.
Speak with foxsports.com.au backstage after the ceremonial weigh-in, Volkanovski revealed exactly what he said to Holloway — both before they stepped on the scale and right after during an intense look.
“He had things to say yesterday because he was trying to get inside my head, trying to play his games, but like I said, I’m leading the dance now,” Volkanovski said.
“I lead the dance and he doesn’t like it, so that’s what happens.”
Holloway then walked past Volkanovski backstage and the Australian didn’t pass up the chance to leave his rival with a few goodbyes before Saturday’s fight.
“You don’t like it,” he said.
“Just right. I’ll lead the dance and I’ll lead the dance tomorrow. That’s exactly what’s going to happen.”
“That’s what he’s trying to do, so today I was the one who told him today that your brain games weren’t working,” Volkanovski added.
“It woke me up. It backfired on you. You’re trying to use the crowd to get into my head, you’re just giving me more energy and more fire in the gut to get me out. I told him that and he didn’t like it.”
The public continued to give it to Volkanovski, but the 33-year-old warned Holloway that it would be of no benefit to him once the two entered the octagon.
“I said [it] to him before he ran away,” Volkanovski said.
“I said your brain games backfired. You’re sucking up that mob now because they’re not helping you in the cage. [He] might as well take advantage of it now.
‘Be nice, it’s the last time they cheer for you anyway. I knew they would care, it’s home field advantage for Max Holloway.
“Obviously he’s blessed, as I’ve said in many ways with getting the third chance and then twice the home advantage, but it doesn’t matter.
“I knew I was entering enemy territory, but I just use that as fire, I thrive on it. I think I had to warm things up.”
He did, though Holloway said the “joke” was on Volkanovski, telling the crowd at the T-Mobile Arena that he was “the heat”.
“I’ve had 10 rounds with this guy,” Holloway said.
“Like I said, this doesn’t go beyond three.”
And that’s just the co-main event, with Israel Adesanya and Jared Cannonier taking on the UFC middleweight crown in the final fight of the evening.
The two shared an intense 25 second look before Cannonier finally stepped back and told Joe Rogan that he is ready to prove himself against one of the best in the sport.
“It’s not the last challenge,” Cannonier said.
“It’s the next challenge. I am the last challenge. I’m ready to show up, I’m ready to blow up, I’m ready to throw my fist into victory and take my belt home. It’s going down.”
Adesanya, on the other hand, was unimpressed by the talk, telling the audience that this will be “the biggest show of the year” before predicting he would make the fight “easy”.
“King Kong has nothing to do with me,” Adesanya added.
UFC 276 OFFICIAL ROAD RESULTS
Middleweight title fight: Israel Adesanya (183.5) vs Jared Cannonier (184.5)
Featherweight title fight: Alexander Volkanovski (144.5) v Max Holloway (144.5)
Middleweight fight: Sean Strickland (185.5) v Alex Pereira (184.5)
Welterweight fight: Robbie Lawler (171) vs Bryan Barberena (170.5)
Bantamweight fight: Pedro Munhoz (135.5) v Sean O’Malley (135)
Lightweight Combat: Brad Riddell (155.5) v Jalin Turner (155.5)
Welterweight fight: Jim Miller (170.5) vs Donald Cerrone (170.5)
Welterweight fight: Ian Garry (171) vs. Gabe Green (170)
Middleweight fight: Brad Tavares (185.5) vs. Dricus Du Plessis (185)
Middleweight fight: Uriah Hall (186) vs André Muniz (185.5)
Women’s Flyweight Competition: Jessica Eye (126) vs Maycee Barber (126)
Women’s Bantamweight Contest: Jessica-Rose Clark (135.5) v Julija Stoliarenko (136)
Originally published as ‘It Failed’: Aussie UFC Champion Volkanovski .’s Backstage Barb
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