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Ilia Topuria's big day: Headlining fight... and a ticket to a championship belt

The career of the great exponent of mixed martial arts in Spain reaches the moment of truth. Ilia Topuria, the national face of the UFC, is on the verge of becoming something more within one of the most important companies in the world of sport. Because, at last, he is headlining an evening and if he wins, he will be in a position to be a strong candidate for world champion. He has everything on his side. Although the most important thing remains: to extend his unblemished career (13-0-0).

Headlining UFC Fight Night in Jacksonville (around 4 a.m., June 24-25), Topuria will meet the biggest obstacle of his career, Josh Emmett. The number 5 featherweight, with an 18-3 record and with a last loss to Yair Rodriguez when he was fighting for the interim title of his division.

"It's a fight like any other fight. I'm going to finish in the first round, it's doing my job," Topuria (ranked No. 9 featherweight) stresses.

But Emmett is a big man. In addition to his stamina, he has a very powerful striking, which will force the Spaniard to force the fight on the ground. There Topuria is virtually unstoppable.

The prize of the title fight

If Topuria wins, he would be in a position to fulfil his oft-repeated promise of becoming the first Spanish world champion in the UFC.

"I'm the best in the world, I just need the belt to prove it," he says. Because the UFC will raise its ranking within the feather and could be the next candidate for champion since the undisputed monarch, Alex Volkanovski, has been 'cleaning it up' again and again. First, the battle between 'Volk' and Yair Rodriguez will unify the division. After that, it is undeniable that Topuria's candidacy will gain ground if he beats the Arizona fighter.

Because of talent, merit. And because he's a sensible bet for the UFC itself.

"It doesn't appeal to me to fight Max Holloway again. Topuria if he wins would be exciting," said Volkanovski, favorite and king of the division in recent times. That would be the big hurdle. That would be the leap to world champion.

"I want what is mine. After this fight I'm going for the belt. It was only a matter of time before everyone realised that," Topuria said at the Media Day in Miami.

If he wins, nothing can stop a Spaniard from fighting for the world championship belt. The UFC Jacksonville against Emmett, the penultimate step.

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