- Joe Lopez says Volkanovski was starting to find his range
- Aussie revealed that he asked him ‘what happened?’ after the knockout
- Said Volkanovski is in a “positive spirit” despite the defeat
Alexander Volkanovski’s former coach Joe Lopez has provided an update on the Australian star after falling to Georgian Ilia Topuria in the main event of UFC 298 on Sunday.
The undefeated Topuria stopped Volkanovski in the second round to claim the featherweight title in Los Angeles, ending ‘The Great’s four-year reign.
‘El Matador’ kept his pre-fight promise to end the fight early and He knocked out Volkanovski with a thunderous right hand with 1.28 left in the round.
A stunned Volkanovski dusted himself off afterwards and shared a moment of respect with the new champion, but called for an immediate rematch.
Speaking exclusively to Daily Mail Australia, Lopez said that despite the loss, Volkanovski is in a “positive spirit.”
Alex Volkanovski’s trainer Joe Lopez says Australian MMA star is in ‘positive spirit’
Topuria stopped Volkanovski in the second round to claim the UFC featherweight title
“Alex was going over the game plan, finding his range and starting to tweak it,” he said.
“(I) was disappointed (with the result), knowing that Alex has a much better skill set.”
The stoppage represented the second straight KO loss for the Wollongong native, who was also knocked unconscious by a kick to the head from Islam Makhachev last October.
López said that the first thing Volkanovski said to him when he regained consciousness was: ‘What happened?’
“We knew coming into this fight that he (Topuria) had a great opportunity to hit, and he landed that hit,” Lopez explained.
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg surprised some UFC fans by appearing in Volkanovski’s strike team for the fight.
Zuckerberg, who trains in mixed martial arts and was scheduled to fight billionaire Elon Musk, was sitting cageside earlier that night before changing into a Team Volkanovski tracksuit before the fight.
Lopez says it didn’t bother him that the billionaire tech genius was part of the team.
López revealed that Volkanovski asked him what happened after he recovered.
Topuria has indicated that he is open to giving Volkanovski a rematch
Lopez says having billionaire tech genius Mark Zuckerberg on the team was ‘no big deal’
“He’s just another person,” Lopez said.
“Anyway, it’s not a big deal to me.”
During his post-fight press conference, Topuria seemed ready to give Volkanovski an immediate rematch.
“He’s a good person and to be honest, at this point I’m like, ‘Okay, I’ll give him a rematch because he’s a good person,'” Topuria said of Volkanovski.
“But at the same time, it’s time to move on, it’s time to clean up the division a little bit. It’s time for the new generation to have new challengers, new faces…
‘I’ll be looking for that, but my job is to fight.
“Whoever they tell me I have to face and fight next, I’ll be there.”