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By Matt ten-Hoeve on 2/20/2024 8:57 AM

UFC 298 Takeaways, Tidbits, and News

UFC 298 is in the books and what a night it was! As I mentioned in my preview last week, a lot of people needed to make sure to watch this show for both the fun fights and to see how things would start to shape the future. We definitely got both of those things. Below, I will talk about some takeaways, tidbits, and news that came out of PPV after we take a quick look at the results…

UFC 298 Results

Ilia Topuria def. Alexander Volkanovski (c) via second-round knockout (punch)

Robert Whittaker def. Paulo Costa via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)

Ian Machado Garry def. Geoff Neal via split decision (30-27, 28-29, 30-27)

Merab Dvalishvili def. Henry Cejudo via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

Anthony Hernandez def. Roman Kopylov via second-round submission (rear-naked choke)

Amanda Lemos def. Mackenzie Dern via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

Marcos Rogerio de Lima def. Junior Tafa via second-round TKO (kicks, punches)

Rinya Nakamura def. Carlos Vera via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

Zhang Mingyang def. Brendson Ribiero via first-round TKO (punches)

Danny Barlow def. Josh Quinlan via third-round TKO (punches)

Oban Elliott def. Val Woodburn via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)

Miranda Maverick def. Andrea Lee via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)

Ilia Topuria made good on his promises. He took a big risk in talking a big game leading up to his fight with Alexander Volkanovski. From calling Volkanovski old to already calling himself a champion to calling out future contenders, Topuria set himself up to either make jaws drop or put his foot in his mouth. As it turns out, he dropped many jaws, including the one attached to Alexander Volkanovski. Topuria made good on his smack talk by connecting with a hard punch and taking the title away from Volkanovski. Topuria’s career has certainly been on the rise and this solidifies him as a star in the UFC. Dana White, at the post-fight press conference, was already salivating over bringing Topuria’s first title defense to Spain (where he fights out of), which will open up a whole new market for the company. 

What is next for Alexander Volkanovski? For the first time in over four years, Volkanovski will not have a belt around his waist. He had pretty much cleaned out the Featherweight Division - leaving many people wondering what would be next if he retained the title. With Volkanovski’s loss, though, the division now opens up. There are fighters who probably didn’t deserve another shot at Volkanovski, but a matchup against Topuria would be interesting. There are also some upcoming fights that could determine who would be a worthy contender against Topuria. While Volkanovski did throw out the potential of a rematch, and even offered to do it in Spain, Dana White did not seem overly thrilled with the idea at the post-fight press conference and Ilia Topuria said it was time to move on. Either way, Volkanovski is the consummate professional and will be game for either a rematch or a fight to attempt to show his ability to get back on track.

The prelims are necessary viewing. I will never claim that all the preliminary fights sound sexy. Sure, the Fight Night prelims, especially on some of the Apex shows, have a “Who are these people?” vibe. However, these men and women tend to be willing to put it all out there and try to earn respect and notoriety. There may be some stinkers, as will happen in this sport, but I have been really enjoying the prelims lately. UFC 298 was no different. Maverick and Lee opened the night with a fun fight. Oban Elliott made his debut, which was not phenomenal, but it was a feel good moment. Danny Barlow looked like a scary future contender. Zhang Mingyang had a highlight reel knockout. Mackenzie Dern continued to show people how much of a dog she has in her in her loss to Amanda Lemos. The seats around cageside might not be full and you may not know all of the names, but don’t sleep on the prelims! They are usually fun.

Robert Whittaker is back. Paulo Costa is made of solid brick and Robert Whittaker took his hardest punches, kicks, and roundhouse heels. In doing so, he put on a heck of a performance to let people know that he is not ready to drop in the rankings any time soon. This performance may land him a title shot, which would be quite the redemption story and a heck of a rematch from last year’s contender fight against the now champion, Dricus du Plessis. If a title shot is not next, though, then we will probably get a very interesting contender fight with Sean Strickland. Either way, things are looking up for Robert Whittaker again.

Ian Machado Garry keeps chugging along. Garry got his win against Geoff Neal. The crowd was not happy, but Garry did what he had to do to squeeze out a win and continue his journey towards a title fight. Ian came off a bit more mature and composed with this fight. Known for his gift of gab, with the ability to back it up, he was a lot more respectful leading up to and during this fight with Neal. If he gets what he wants for his next fight, we will see if the current respect level stays intact. If Colby Covington answers Garry’s callout, then the war of words may be brutal.

Wanderlai Silva is going into the Hall of Fame. As he should be! What is interesting is that Dana White, in his post-fight press conference, said he didn’t remember “Pete Rose-ing” Wanderlai, so I guess the boss having a short memory worked out for Silva in this case. It’s been a tumultuous relationship between Silva and the UFC over the years, but it’s great to see Wanderlai get the respect he deserves. In his press conference, Wanderlai was all smiles, which was great to see after years of being terrified by him.

Oban Elliott is someone to root for. Listen, his fight wasn’t super impressive, but he got the win. What was impressive, though, was his story leading up to his fight and the fun that he is having in his journey. If you haven’t watched his interview with Ariel Helwani on the MMA Hour last week, do yourself a favor and check it out. It is heartfelt and funny - from stories of idolizing Chael Sonnen to crying over a video sent in by Chael Sonnen to stories about his WWE fandom and plans to possibly become a sports entertainer…it’s a great interview that made me an instant fan. His post-fight press conference was refreshing, as well. He gushed over getting questions from media members he grew up watching and seemed to be enjoying his first experience under the bright lights.  If Oban can learn from his UFC 298 fight and put some things together, he can have a really fun career.

Bruce Buffer makes the right call…we hope. Jim Miller had one request for his upcoming historical UFC 300 fight: to be introduced as Jim “Fucking” Miller. Bruce Buffer initially said that he wouldn’t announce it that way, which made many fans roll their eyes. Good news, though: at the UFC 300 Q and A on Friday, before the UFC 298 ceremonial weigh-ins, Jim Miller said that Bruce Buffer seems to have changed his mind and will be giving the fighter his wish. It’s the small things in life…

The UFC 300 main event is finally set. Oh yeah…speaking of that big show in April, Dana White finally announced the main event of UFC 300: Alex Pereira vs. Jamahal Hill for the Light Heavyweight Championship. And man, the crowd went WILD!…with frustration. After much speculation and many rumors, we get a fight that very few people are in favor of main eventing the big 300. I plan to discuss how I feel about it soon - right here on PWInsider!

I truly love MMA. You never know what you’re going to see at an MMA show. This weekend was no different. We had Justin Tafa pull out of his fight at, almost, the last second - only to be replaced by JUNIOR TAFA, his brother. What are the chances? A few fights later, Merab Dvalishvili was shouting in unison with Mark Zuckerberg (yes, that Mark Zuckerberg) while having Henry Cejudo in a chokehold. And a few fights after that, that Mark Zuckerberg (again) walked Alexander Volkanovski to the cage. The weird stuff keeps me tuning in almost as much as the great fights.

Other Random Things:

  • Roman Kopylov had a chance to make a big leap in his division and didn’t come through. Anthony Hernandez outworked him and forced Kopylov’s spotlight to turn off for the time being. 

  • Merab Dvalishvili can be a big problem for whoever wins between Sean O’Malley and Marlon Vera next month. His big win also raises the question of what is next for Henry Cejudo…

  • Leon Edwards is a company guy. Dana White stated in the post-fight press conference that Leon Edwards agreed to all three fights that were presented to him for UFC 300. While a potential main event that included him did not get a ton of people excited, the fact that he was willing to fight whoever and whenever shows just how big of a badass he is.

Reviewing my picks. Let’s take a look at who I picked to win last week:

Alexander Volkanovski

Robert Whittaker

Ian Machado Garry

Merab Dvalishvili

Roman Kopylov

Mackenzie Dern

Justin Tafa

Rinya Nakamura

Zhang Mingyang

Danny Barlow

Oban Elliott

Miranda Maverick

I ended up changing my pick from Tafa to de Lima due to the change to the fight. I kept all my other picks the same and went 9 for 12 (was wrong in picking Volkanovski and taking a chance on two underdogs: Dern and Kopylov). Not too shabby. 

What did you think of UFC 298? Let me know at

I’ll be back in a few days to discuss UFC 300 and to preview the two shows on Saturday from PFL and UFC. See you then!