The confidence of Ilia Topuria’s team is at an all-time high as they prepare for their first UFC championship fight.
Topuria, training under Climent Club in Alicante, Spain, is wrapping up camp for his featherweight title bout against champion Alexander Volkanovski in the main event of UFC 298, which goes down Feb. 17 at Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif.
Jorge Climent, head coach of the gym along with his brother Agustin Climent, believes they’re catching Volkanovski at his peak, despite a recent knockout loss to Islam Makhachev at 155 pounds, and they’ll have the edge in almost all areas entering UFC 298.
“I don’t see him vulnerable at all. He’s still the No. 1 guy at 145 pounds,” Climent told MMA Junkie in Spanish. “Yes, it’s true that he made a bad decision in taking a short-notice fight against someone with the caliber of Islam Makhachev, but I’m sure he as all the motivation in the world to win this fight.
“I don’t see him vulnerable. What I do see is that I see him inferior to Ilia’s level in all aspects. He does have more experience than Ilia, but I don’t see him better in the striking, in the takedowns or the ground. I think this is a fight where everything is in our favor.”
No one has been able to beat Volkanovski (26-3 MMA, 13-2 UFC) at 145 pounds. His three loses came once at welterweight and twice at lightweight in champion vs. champion fights against Makhachev.
Climent is confident Topuria (14-0 MMA, 6-0 UFC) will get the job done and dethrone Volkanovski. He believes Volkanovski will try to wrestle Topuria in fear of his striking power. But regardless of how the fight plays out, Topuria’s team is ready.
“The focus has been on all dimensions, because we believe we need to be ready for wherever Volkanovski wants to take the fight,” Climent said. “We know that he’s a very complete fighter, but it all depends on the decision he’s going to make in that octagon.
“With all the trainings we’ve done, I think he’s going to be a bit scared of the power that Ilia has in his hands, and he will try to go for the takedown and make the fight dirty. But really, we’ve trained all aspects of Ilia: striking, jiu-jitsu. His jiu-jitsu hasn’t been on full display in the UFC, but if you look at his fights prior to the UFC, we submitted everyone in the first round.”