Volkanovski defeated Aldo by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27) in Aldo's adopted hometown of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Saturday night on the UFC 237 main card. "The Great" then called for a title shot against the champion Holloway, one that will be hard to deny him considering his résumé.
"I'm next in line, 100 percent," Volkanovski said. "I'm the only one who's undefeated in the top three now. I should be No. 1. Let's set it up."
Volkanovski's volume was the difference against Aldo. He was busier in every round, landed more consistently, hit with combinations and controlled Aldo against the cage. Aldo, who seemed to not agree with the decision, was never able to get off his vaunted offense and do any significant damage over the course of the 15 minutes.
Volkanovski (20-1) has never lost in the UFC in seven fights and his most recent defeat came in 2013. The Australia native is tied for second among UFC featherweight winning streaks at five with Arnold Allen and Zabit Magomedsharipov. Volkanovski, 30, is on a 17-fight winning streak overall.
Aldo (28-5) had his two-fight winning streak snapped. This was the first decision loss for the Brazilian. Aldo, 32, has talked recently about retirement in the near future, but he is still regarded as one of the best featherweight fighters in MMA history. "Junior" is a former two-time UFC featherweight champion and went undefeated between 2006 and 2015, before falling by knockout to McGregor.
A 'Star' is born in Staropoli
Laureano Staropoli has a signature win in just his second UFC fight.
The Argentina native, who trains in Brazil, defeated longtime veteran Thiago Alves by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28) in a solid performance. Staropoli showed off some flashy, dynamic offense and kept Alves on his heels for most of the bout. Kicks to the body and legs were significant. Alves had his moments, including a big takedown in the second round. But Staropoli did the most damage in all three rounds.
Staropoli (8-1) now has won seven straight bouts. He won his UFC debut over Hector Aldana by unanimous decision at UFC Buenos Aires last November. Staropoli, 26, looks like a key up-and-comer in the UFC's stacked welterweight division.
Alves (23-14) now has lost three of four. The Brazilian was competing in his UFC-record 25th welterweight fight Saturday night. Alves, 35, is 2-5 in his past seven bouts.
Aldana armbars Correia, picks up third straight win
It was a weird finish to a back-and-forth fight. But Irene Aldana will certainly take it.
With Bethe Correia seemingly gaining momentum in the third round, Aldana reversed a Correia takedown attempt, took her back and snagged a belly-down armbar. Correia had her arm bent awkwardly and tapped out at 3:24 of the third. Correia clearly had her arm tweaked in an unconventional way -- she wouldn't let the referee touch it while the result was read afterward.
Aldana (10-4) has now won three in a row in the UFC after starting her run at 0-2. This is her third career submission victory. Aldana, a 31-year-old Mexico native, is tied for third among the longest winning streaks in the women's bantamweight division with Germaine de Randamie. Only champion Amanda Nunes (seven) and Ketlen Vieira (four) have more.
Correia (10-4-1) missed weight by 5 pounds Friday at weigh-ins. The Brazil native, a former bantamweight title challenger, was coming off a layoff of 11 months. Correia, 35, has not won since 2016.
Two years ago, Spann didn't want to ever fight again after losing in 15 seconds on Dana White's Tuesday Night Contender Series. On Saturday night, the Texas resident took out a legend.
Spann knocked out Nogueira at 2:07 of the first round, stopping "Lil' Nog" in his home country of Brazil in a fight that Spann and his Fortis MMA team sought. Spann's power and speed were too much for the 42-year-old Nogueira. A right cross-left uppercut combination from Spann finished off the veteran.
Spann (16-5) now has won six in a row, five of which have come by finish. The 27-year-old Texas resident is looking like a prospect to watch in the light heavyweight division. Nogueira (23-9) has lost two of three, and three of his past four losses have come via knockout.
Moises picked up his first career UFC win in dominant fashion in his home country. The Brazilian beat Holobaugh in a complete effort by unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26, 29-27), gaining the edge in both striking and grappling. Moises (12-3), just 24 years old, is regarded as a prospect coming off Dana White's Tuesday Night Contender Series. Holobaugh (17-7) has lost three straight and is winless in four straight bouts.
For two-plus rounds, Alves chopped away at Moraes' lead leg. With that appendage completely tenderized in the third, Alves went in for the kill.
Alves smashed Moraes' leg with a kick, came in with a jumping knee and then landed a massive uppercut that put his Brazilian countryman down for good at the 4:13 mark of the third round. The 28-year-old Alves (13-3), who has won three of four, outlanded Moraes 72-20, including 26 leg strikes in a dominant performance. Moraes (14-5-1) is on a two-fight losing skid at age 36.
Penn got off to a good start, making many believe that perhaps we could be seeing the Penn of old. In fact, it just ended up being an old Penn.
Guida picked up the unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-27) after dropping the first round, using his pressure and clinch game to suffocate any hope of a Penn surprise victory. Penn, 40, seemed gassed at the end of the second round and Guida's leg kicks really added up in the second and third. Guida rocked Penn several times with big overhand rights in the third.
Guida (34-18), at age 37, has won three of his past four fights since returning to lightweight. Penn (16-14-2), one of the most decorated and popular fighters of all time, has dropped seven straight, a UFC record. Penn, a former UFC champion at lightweight and welterweight, has not won since beating fellow Hall of Famer Matt Hughes in 2010.
Cachoeira has a knack for durability and survival. But not for winning fights in the UFC at this point. Carolina won a complete performance by unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26, 29-27) to emerge victorious in her promotional debut. In the second round of what was a sloppy yet entertaining brawl, Carolina dropped her Brazilian countrywoman with a head kick and nearly finished with an inverted triangle choke, but Cachoeira held on. The 25-year-old Carolina (6-1), who earned this spot by winning last year on White's Tuesday Night Contender Series, has won six straight. The 30-year-old Cachoeira (8-3) has lost all three of her UFC fights after starting her career 8-0.
Barcelos played Huachin's game in the first round, standing and boxing. When things got to the ground in the second, after Barcelos dropped Huachin with a right hand, it was complete domination. Barcelos, the biggest betting favorite of the year in the UFC (-1100), nearly snared a ninja choke and then minutes later finished via TKO at 4:49. Barcelos (14-1), a Brazil native, has won seven straight, and all three of his UFC wins have come via finish. Huachin, a 22-year-old prospect from Lima, Peru, was making his UFC debut. He's now 10-4-2.
Fighting two weight classes up on short notice, Araujo looked excellent in her UFC debut. The former Queen of Pancrase befuddled Bernardo with her speed for the better part of the fight, culminating in a monstrous overhand right that knocked Bernardo out at 48 seconds of the third round. Araujo (7-1) said afterward that she's headed back to strawweight, and the 32-year-old certainly will be someone to watch at 115 pounds.
Bernardo, 32, fell to 5-4 with the defeat.