Auckland mixed martial arts gym City Kickboxing will end 2019 with two UFC world champions in their stable.
Following in the footsteps is middleweight Israel Adesanya, Alexander Volkanovski has clinched UFC gold with a unanimous decision win over Max Holloway at UFC 245 in Las Vegas.
The Auckland-trained Australian, who shares his time during camps at City Kickboxing and Freestyle Fighting Gym in New South Wales, picked Holloway apart with ferocious leg kicks and outlasted Holloway in a technical, high-level fight. After just three of the five rounds, Holloway had sustained a UFC featherweight record 46 leg strikes, and the damage showed.
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With Volkanovski hacking away at Holloway's lead leg, the Hawaiian was forced to switch to the southpaw stance and looked a lot less comfortable in the change of stance.
Holloway, who went into the fight without a loss at featherweight since 2013, had made a name for himself in his ability to outlast opponents in the later rounds. However, Volkanovski went into the fight boasting about his cardio levels and it showed as he took the fight to his Hawaiian counterpart for the full 25 minutes.
The two had some exciting, strong exchanges, but in the end the judges saw Volkanovski as the clear winner and awarded him the win.
Earlier in the night, City Kickboxing teammate Kai Kara-France lost a close decision to Brandon Moreno in the flyweight division in a high-out put and exciting battle that proved why the division should remain in the promotion.
The former Ultimate Fighter housemates put on a non-stop striking display, with a strong finish proving to be the difference.
France, who boasted the only knockout win in season 24 of the Ultimate Fighter, came out the stronger of the two and showed flashes of his power in the early stages. The Kiwi connected with a number of strong right hands, one sending Moreno scrambling to the deck before quickly recovering.
Asked by his corner to apply more pressure and walk forward more, Moreno obliged and took the fight to Kara-France. While the Mexican was still subject to Kara-France's right hand, he made the most of his ability to string together longer and more meaningful combinations.
The longer fighter, Moreno found success with his jab and drew blood from Kara-France's nose midway through the second round. He also tested Kara-France's defence with head kick and although the Kiwi blocked every one, each one surely took its toll on the Kiwi's arm.
After two rounds, both fighters needed to make their marks in the third to secure the win - and they fought like it. The two threw heavy shots, but Moreno's extended combinations and the damage shown on Kara-France's face saw him edge out the unanimous decision win.
For Kara-France, it was his first loss since joining the UFC last December and ends an eight-fight winning streak - three of which were inside the UFC octagon.