Alexander Volkanovski scored the biggest victory of his career at UFC 237, but had his call for a title shot derailed while traveling home to Australia after being hospitalized in Chile because of a blood infection.
Volkanovski defeated featherweight great Jose Aldo at UFC 237. Though he emerged unscathed from his time in the Octagon, Volkanovski complained of "sore feet, redness of his left foot and feeling sick as he was leaving his hotel in Rio de Janeiro on Monday," according to an ESPN report citing his manager, Rhys Dal Cin.
Volkanovski apparently developed a fever and the swelling of his foot had increased by the time they stopped for a layover in Santiago. At that point, they went to see a doctor at the airport, who advised them to take Volkanovski to the hospital, where he was admitted and is being treated with antibiotics and awaits blood test results.
Dal Cin tweeted an update on Tuesday, saying, "Alex is okay. He is being treated for an infection that developed quickly while on our flight home. We are currently in Chile and will provide updates as (they) come to hand. The medical staff has been fantastic, he is in good hands, and Alex is in good spirits!"
UFC featherweight title picture following Volkanovski's blood infection
After defeating one of the top featherweight fighters of all time in Aldo, Volkanovski made a call for a shot at UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway, whom the UFC had been looking to book in the UFC 240 headliner at the end of July.
“I’m next in line 100-percent,” Volkanovski said. “I’m the only one who’s undefeated in the top three and I should be ranked No. 1. Let’s set it up, I wouldn’t mind being on the same card in Australia. That would be a cracker of a card, let’s make it happen.”
It was certainly a strong claim, as Volkanovski has soared to a 20-1 overall record. He is 6-0 in the Octagon, having defeated the likes of Chad Mendes, Darren Elkins, and Jeremy Kennedy, in addition to Aldo.
Prior to the news of Volkanovski's medical issues, the story broke that Holloway would be facing Frankie Edgar in the UFC 240 main event on July 27 in Edmonton. That is a fight that has been scheduled before, but has been derailed for various reasons.
With Edgar having lost to Brian Ortega and Aldo in two of his last five bouts, it seemed more likely that Volkanovski would get the shot at Holloway, but the news of his blood infection certainly explains why the UFC instead opted to book Holloway vs. Edgar.
(Photo courtesy of UFC)