Examining Volkanovski Vs Ortega – How Tight Were Those Submission Attempts?

Alexander Volkanovski advanced in the pound for pound UFC rankings following the tremendous performance he put on against Brian Ortega.

The Macedonian/Australian was winning the whole fight but was still very very close to losing the fight – particularly during two submission attempts a triangle and a mounted guillotine.

“The Great” said the submission attempts were “as deep as it could get” and that he remembers “making f—— weird noises.”

“It was, ‘Oh, f—, I’m about to lose the belt’ deep,” Volkanovski said at the post-fight press conference, according to MMA Fighting. “But the type of human being I am, we talk about me going through adversity and always being prepared and busting my ass and never-give-up attitude and all that shit. That’s just exactly what you (saw).”


Now let’s get into specifics. Credit to Ortega for getting his hand under the jaw right off the bat on this attempt:

But Volkanovski actually was defending the whole time. His concern appeared to be getting Ortega out of the mount.

Volkanovski’s right hand seemed to be combating the mount and not the guillotine while the left is obstructed from view – likely hand fighting. This situation is one where MMA gloves considerably hindered Ortega.

It’s actually the hand fighting that likely saved Volkanovski.

While a lot of the people were paying attention to the erratic leg movements Volkanovski was making – it’s very likely that he was instead trying an erratic looking but effective mount escape. Here’s a good example:


One other contributing factor in this occasion is the fact that Volk now sports a freshly shaved head. And sure if you’ve never done jiu jitsu you might not be aware of it, but a neatly shaved head definitely doesn’t hurt your submission escape game. Volkanovski even went and confirmed as much:


Volkanovski went on to recover half guard and quickly move past the bjj.

And as far as triangle goes:

The triangle definitely looked tighter. Ortega nailed some key details in setting up that one. For one he immediately went for the perpendicular position.
And had they stayed here – it would’ve been a done deal. But Ortega had gone closer to the leg than perhaps ideal and had actually swept Volk. The intricacy of this move being – that if you don’t unlock your legs when sweeping you’re effectively performing the calf slicer submission on yourself. But Ortega didn’t want to unlock so he just ended up pushing Volkanovski to the side and never quite getting on top.
Very quickly Ortega came to a realization that this kind of side positioning wouldn’t work. Which was perhaps rushed. One huge tell when evaluating submissions is the color of your opponents head and the protrusion of veins. Which in this case were telling a particularly compelling story.
But to Volkanovski’s credit here too he didn’t stop fighting. He was actively using the leg that Ortega wasn’t controlling to thwart his attempt.
Scramble found Ortega once again on his side. And this time he wanted top position. But Volkanovski absolutely wasn’t about to be flattened out.
He even turned into a triangle rather than have Ortega finish on top.
And this allowed for him to scramble out.