Volkov, who is now 3-0 in the UFC and extended his winning streak to five in a row, went toe to toe with “The Skyscraper” from the opening bell to the moment referee Marc Goddard called a halt to the fight.
The exchanges were incredibly close in the first two rounds — Struve possibly won the first round, and Volkov likely took the second. But “Drago” turned things up one notch in the third round. Both men were tired, but Volkov started to land the harder punches. Struve’s chin held up better than usual, but that still wasn’t enough. Volkov landed a devastating combination in the latter half of the third round that caused Struve to fall down to the canvas and cover up. That was all she wrote.
What was the highlight of the fight?
Volkov’s finish was really impressive, as he showed off yet again how technical he was on the feet. But the highlight of the fight for me was Struve finally being able to fight tall, something he’s struggled to do for his entire career. Since working with Henri Hooft in Florida, Struve’s striking has improved and he’s fought better at range, but his striking was better than ever on Saturday afternoon in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.
Where do these two go from here?
Volkov, throughout three Octagon outings, has submerged as a legitimate contender in the heavyweight division. He is No. 7 in the official rankings, and is likely next in line for a current top-five fighter next.
Struve has fought a long time and has taken a lot of damage throughout his veteran career, so it’s difficult to believe he’s yet to reach the age of 30. This isn’t a huge setback because he wasn’t ranked higher than his opponent, but one has to wonder how much longer Struve can take punishment before having to hang his gloves up.
Watch now, later, or never?
This was, somewhat surprisingly, a very entertaining main event. Watch now.