In the main event of UFC Vegas 18, Alexander Volkov and Alistair Overeem traded heavy blows inside the APEX facility. However, midway through the second Volkov’s shots proved too much for Reem to handle.
Throughout the fight Volkov cracked the Dutchmen with punches on the feet, including uppercuts that sliced up and behind his opponent’s guard. Mid way through the second round the Russian managed to drop Overeem with a left hook, which forced the referee to step in and call an end to the contest.
In his post-fight press conference ‘Drago’ spoke about the fight and how he secured the win.
“He punched me really hard, and he touched me with some punches,” said Volkov (ht MMA Fighting). “But I concentrated on my target and did what I wanted to do. The hard thing was that he blocked all my kicks. But he maybe didn’t think about my punches, and I could land punches and jabs to his face.”
Since starting his UFC tenure with four straight wins the former Bellator heavyweight champion has been a tad inconsistent inside the Octagon. His first UFC loss was to Derrick Lewis (by KO) at UFC 229 in 2018. After that he beat Greg Hardy and then lost a decision to Curtis Blaydes.
In the fight prior to beating Overeem, Volkov got back to winning ways with a TKO win over Walter Harris.
With the win Volkov can expect to see himself leapfrog Overeem in the heavyweight rankings into at least the number-five spot. Ahead of him are the two men who beat him in the UFC as well as Jairzinho Rozenstruik, title challenger Francis Ngannou and champion Stipe Miocic.
Blaydes and Lewis have been paired up for February 20 and Rozenstruik is due to meet Ciryl Gane (the fighter directly below Volkov in the rankings) on February 27. Miocic vs. Ngannou 2 goes down on March 3.
On March 4 there should be a clear picture of the next title fight in the heavyweight division. Volkov likely needs another win before he can insert himself in that picture and that’s exactly what he’s hoping for.
Opting not to celebrate the win over Overeem too much, Volkov said; “I’m looking to be a champion. I’m going to concentrate on the next camp [and] the next fight.”