A pair of title fights will reportedly headline UFC 272 on March 5.
UFC president Dana White told ESPN's Brett Okamoto that featherweight champion Alex Volkanovski will defend his title in a trilogy fight against former champ Max Holloway. Okamoto added that bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling will face interim champ Petr Yan in the co-main event.
Both title matchups feature unique backstories. Volkanovski is 2-0 against Holloway, with both wins coming by decision. The second victory was particularly scrutinized after Volkanovski was knocked down twice, but by most accounts both fights were very close and could've been scored for either one of them.
When Holloway dropped the title to Volkanovski at UFC 245 in Dec. 2019, it was his first loss at featherweight since 2013 and it snapped a 14-fight win streak in the weight class. Since losing the second fight to the champ, Holloway (23-6) has won his past two matchups against Calvin Kattar and Yair Rodriguez with both bouts earning "Fight of the Night" honors.
Volkanovski (23-1) has fought just once since he last faced Holloway, defeating Brian Ortega by unanimous decision in the main event of UFC 266 this past September in a "Fight of the Year" contender. Volkanovski survived two deep submission attempts by Ortega to earn the victory.
As for Sterling and Yan, the two of them developed a heated rivalry after they fought for the 135-pound title at UFC 259 in March and it ended in highly controversial fashion. Sterling (20-3) was awarded the belt after Yan was disqualified for landing an illegal knee on a grounded fighter. Yan had been dominating the fight prior to his disqualification.
A rematch was originally scheduled for UFC 267 in October, but Sterling withdrew because of a lingering neck injury. Yan (16-2) fought Cory Sandhagen for the interim bantamweight title and won by unanimous decision.