Alexander “Drago” Volkov is not one of the most famous fighters in the UFC; not yet anyway. He has quietly climbed his way to the eighth spot in the heavyweight rankings after just three fights in the octagon. Volkov has a massive opportunity in front of him this Saturday night when he will take on former champion and third ranked contender, Fabricio Werdum. With a win over Werdum, Volkov could put himself in line for a future title shot.
A perfect start
It took 36 fights for Alexander Volkov (29-6) to get to the UFC. He is the former heavyweight champion of both Bellator and M-1 and undefeated in the UFC. Volkov’s power was seen right away when he ended his first two professional fights in a combined 1:40. With 19 of his 26 wins coming by knockout or TKO, Volkov has proven that he has some of the best standup in the entire UFC heavyweight division.
Once he gained entrance into the UFC in 2016, Volkov wasted no time making a name for himself. The UFC threw him to the dogs immediately but Volkov gained a split decision victory over Timothy Johnson in his debut. He followed it up with a unanimous decision win over Roy Nelson. That victory earned him his first ever main event spot against fellow giant, Stefan Struve. The 6 foot 7 inch Volkov TKO’d the seven foot Struve in the third round of the main event. The win showed not only Volkov’s powerful and precise striking, but his versatility. “Drago” actually took Struve down and laid damage on him from the top. While he may be fairly new to the UFC, Alexander Volkov is an experienced fighter and ready for anything.
Taking on a legend
Although he defeated Stefan Struve, Roy Nelson, and Blagoy Ivanov, most of Volkov’s professional resume is filled with relative unknowns. Fabricio Werdum is by far the biggest name he has ever fought against. If he is to beat the former champion, he could skip the line to title contention. Stipe Miocic will defend against Daniel Cormier this summer, but after that, the division is a toss-up. Curtis Blaydes and Derrick Lewis are the only fighters ahead of him not coming off a loss. A convincing win over Werdum could throw Volkov’s name right into a date with Miocic or Cormier.
A convincing win over Fabricio Werdum likely means a knockout. A decision will not be enough to raise Volkov’s stock to top contention and going for a submission is a death sentence. Werdum is a world champion jiu-jitsu practitioner and can submit anyone in the world. Volkov has seen two losses come by submission but none since 2010. His experience has kept him out of trouble on the ground but Werdum is obviously a different animal on the ground. If Volkov can keep this match standing, he has a good chance of walking away with the win. He went five rounds under pressure earlier in his career to become the Bellator Champion and he could need to do it again this Saturday night.
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