Going into the bout, most pundits, fighters and fans felt that Volkmann would effectively deploy his incredibly persistent top control game to grind Sass into exhaustion. He'd done it to five of his seven UFC opponents before and his losses had all come at welterweight. Volkmann looked to be perhaps the most difficult match-up possible for Sass to employ his excellent Luta Livre-based submission grappling skills and lo, Sass surprised us all.
After a clinch up on the cage, Sass pulled guard and immediately tried to work an omoplata shoulder lock. Volkmann made a controlled escape and worked back to the guard. After a brief moment where Volkmann stood in the guard, they returned to the classic guard/punch dynamic and Sass sneakily established a high guard.
As Volkmann went to pick up his right fist to punch, Sass snapped his left leg behind Volkmann's head and cinched on a triangle, while simultaneously pulling on the left arm in an armbar. Volkmann briefly resisted, but had to tap or risk a broken arm or going to sleep.
What was the high spot of this fight?
Sass snapping on the triangle in lightning fast fashion. It is his ninth victory by triangle on the professional level and shows just how dangerous this Englishman's submission grappling is. Another such victory should have him in the serious discussions over who has the best guard in the LW division.
Where do these guys go from here?
Sass moves on up the LW ladder. Matt Wiman might be a good bout - provided that Wiman is recovered from the injury. No matter who the opponent is, they will be within the top 25 ranked LWs and Sass is going to have to dramatically up his striking game in order to compete with them.
Now that Volkmann had his five fight winning streak derailed, he probably will get the chance to show one of the new TUF guys just what it means to be in the UFC LW division before mounting his charge back up the lists.
Watch it now, later or never?
Now. The Sassangle is a thing of beauty to behold and his technique was impeccable. His super humble post-fight interview was also a feel good moment.
After the jump, all the related UFC 146 links you could want.