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Sights and sounds from Dunedin as Blue Jays arrive for first day of spring training

Thursday morning marked the opening of spring training for the Toronto Blue Jays with pitchers and catchers officially reporting for camp.

The UFC 298 main event between featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski and undefeated challenger Ilia Topuria has everything you could ask for in a title fight, both narratively and from a meritocracy standpoint.

An all-time great champion, arguably the best the division has ever seen, attempting to overcome adversity and prove he’s still the top dog. Volkanovski has felled some of the sport’s greatest talents, however he is 35 and the metrics are no longer in his favour. He is preparing for an encounter with a fighter boasting an unblemished record for the first time during his championship reign. 

This fight is a potential changing of the guard at 145 pounds and the challenger is the one with the momentum. 

Volkanovski is coming off a devastating knockout loss to reigning lightweight champion and No. 1-ranked pound-for-pound fighter Islam Makhachev at UFC 294 in October. Volkanovski took that fight on less than two weeks’ notice and later admitted he had been drinking every day for several weeks prior to receiving the call to accept the rematch – Makhachev also defeated Volkanovski in a thrilling and competitive back-and-forth decision 12 months ago in the UFC 284 main event.

Eugene Bareman, Volkanovski’s trainer, has since admitted he advised his fighter not to take the rematch with Makhachev on short notice the way he did.

The champ has used that loss and his lack of preparedness as fuel to ensure he is back to being his usual dominant self as he heads back down to his natural weight class where he has never lost.

Volkanovski is a perfect 16-0 when he competes at featherweight, and if you remember it was merely seven months ago MMA fans witnessed him put on an absolute clinic against dangerous challenger Yair Rodriguez at UFC 290.