Alexander Volkov made no excuses after losing to Tom Aspinal three months ago. He stated that it was “just his night,” and congratulated his opponent on a job well done. That type of class, underlies an inner confidence that stems from a determination to overcome obstacles and bounce back better than ever. Tonight, against Jairzhino Rozenstruik, in a career defining moment, Volkov did just that. There’s a lot to unpack from tonight’s edition of UFC Fight Night. Without further ado, let’s get into it!
Volkov vs. Rozenstruik
This was a highly anticipated matchup between two of the top ten heavyweights in the UFC. Someone has to fight Francis Ngannou when he returns and the prevailing thought is that the next challenger for the belt may be whoever emerged victorious from tonight’s main event. With that in mind, Alexander Volkov entered the octagon on a mission.
For the first two minutes of this fight, both men relied heavily on calf kicks and tried to stay out-of-range from the other man’s jabs. However, at the three minute mark, both men decided to engage and each landed impressive strikes that caused serious damage. Unfortunately for Rozenstruik, Volkov got the best of the exchange, landing a clean overhand right that landed squarely on Big-Boi’s jaw. This knocked Rozenstruik off balance and during the ensuing combination of punches, his mouth piece went flying across the octagon. Rozenstruik then began to retreat and stopped defending himself, while also failing to respond with punches of his own.
At that point, referee Herb Dean had seen enough. He stopped the fight and Volkov was declared the winner. It was an emphatic statement from Drago, and the kind of victory that can put his career back on the right path. When the new rankings are released early next week, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Volkov listed aamongst the top five contenders in the heavyweight division.
Ige vs. Evloev
Although Dan Ige is one of the most established contenders in the featherweight division, it was clear from the opening bell that Mosvar Evloev was the superior fighter tonight. Evloev was so dominant against the wily veteran, that his performance gave me flashbacks to watching Canelo Alvarez put on a Master Class against Shane Mosley ten years ago. In the first two rounds, Evloev landed a big flying knee that clearly hurt Ige. In each instance, he was able to follow those impactful moments with takedowns that swung the momentum of the match in his favor.
In the final period, Ige was clearly exhausted. Evloev scored two big takedowns and dominated the round with ground control time. For his efforts, he was awarded a unanimous decision victory by the judges. Evloev is now undefeated in six outings as a professional. Prior to tonight’s bout Dan Ige was ranked 10th in the division by the organization. One would have to believe that after tonight’s performance, Evloev will be ranked at least 10th when the new rankings are released, if not higher.
Trizano vs. Almeida
Late in round one, featherweight prospect Mike Trizano, sent Lucas Almeida crashing to the mat with a vicious left hook. To add insult to injury, Trizano snuck in a knee that landed on Almeida’s jaw during the fall. Ultimately, Almeida was able to avoid being knocked out and barely survived round one. At the midway point of round two, Almeida returned the favor and sent Trizano to the mat with a left hook of his own. He was unable to lock in his attempted chokehold, however, and Trizano was able to make it into the final round.
In round three, Almeida again connected with the left strike. However, this time it was enough to affectively end the fight. Once Trizano landed on the mat, Almeida pounced on him and pummeled him with strikes. This rendered Trizano defenseless; the referee had no choice but to stop the fight. This was a dramatic come from behind victory for Almeida. He is a prospect worth keeping an eye on in the featherweight division.
Karine Silva vs. Poliana Botelho
For the first four minutes of her UFC debut, women’s flyweight prospect Karine Silva, barely made contact with Poliana Botelho. The two women took turns stalking one another around the octagon but neither of them was aggressive enough to do any real damage. Then, with one minute left in the round, Silva took matters into her own hands.
Silva landed an overhand right that sent Botelho towards the mat. However, before Botelho could land, Silva speared her and drove her downwards to score a takedown.
Osbourne vs. Adashev
Ode Osbourne showed the world why he is one of the most respected prospects in the flyweight division tonight. He started his bout against Zarrukh Adashev with well-timed counter punches that discouraged Adashev from staying on the attack. After affectively slowing down his opponent, Osbourne landed a right hook that landed on Adashev’s chin and put him down. Osbourne then wisely ceased the moment and pummeled his opponent with a flurry of punches that left the referee with no choice but to stop the fight.
Menifield vs. Mozharov
Light heavyweight prospect, Alonzo Menifield, scored an early takedown against Askar Mozharov in round one. He proceeded to dominate the majority of the next three minutes through ground control time. Eventually, Mozharov fought to his feet; however, he wasn’t standing long before Menifield scored a second takedown. This time, he did not settle for ground control. Instead, he hit Mozharov with repeated elbows that knocked him out cold on the mat. It was a dominant display of power for the former American Football Linebacker, and an impressive victory.Embed from Getty Images
Featherweight prospect, Mosar Evloev, has the potential to become a superstar. It is not just the fact that he now has a record of six wins and zero losses that makes him exciting. It is the fact that he is winning in dominant fashion, and against increasingly difficult opponents. Dan Ige is a respected veteran of the sport and he had absolutely no answer for Evloev tonight. Evloev is already a master grappler; but what sets him apart from other fighters whose styles are heavily influenced by wrestling is that he remains active enough to make the fight entertaining. He has the skillset and the personality to eventually develop a large fanbase. He is a fighter I will definitely keep my eyes on.
Next week, reigning Light Heavyweight Champion, Glover Teixeira, takes on number one contender, Jiri Prochazka, in Singapore at UFC 275. Teixeira is a warrior who has earned his status as a legend. Prochazka is a wild man who is as intimidating a challenger as I have seen in a very long time. You won’t want to miss it! As always, we’ll have all the latest updates about the outcomes of the fights, as well as in depth analysis available right here at World in Sport!