UFC Fight Night 127 saw friends Fabrício Werdum and Alexander Volkov face off inside a packed O2 Arena in London, England, in a heavyweight bout that would have ramifications for the division.
Since joining the UFC in November 2016, Russian powerhouse Alexander Volkov (29-6 before this fight) has been making waves and came into this one with a perfect 3-0 record inside the Octagon.
The former Bellator heavyweight champ admitted that he was ‘really nervous’ when he made his UFC debut but now he felt as though he belonged in the promotion.
“My first fight in the UFC, I was really nervous,” Volkov said during a pre-fight interview. “But now I feel really comfortable. I feel like I’m in my own place, so I will enjoy how the big [the event] is. I’ve been waiting for this all my career.”
Having trained with Werdum in the past, Volkov said that the pair had become ‘kind of friends’ and he held his Brazilian counterpart in the highest regard but when it came down to it, all of that would be put aside.
“Really, we’re kind of friends, but both of us have something to prove to everybody,” Volkov said. “For me, Fabricio is the best heavyweight fighter in the UFC. But I can prove something to everybody [by winning], and I’ve come to use this chance.
Former UFC heavyweight champ Fabrício Werdum was making his return to England, the country where his professional career began, all the way back in 2002.
The submission specialist reciprocated the respect that his opponent had shown him before the fight.
“I know he’s a very nice guy,” he said. “I’ve had good training with him. I’ve helped him, and he’s helped me, but I never comment about the training. You never say bad things about your friends, and this is the same thing.
“I know it’s a tough fight, but it’s a very important fight for me, for the next step. My focus is on Volkov, but my big goal is [to get] the belt again.”
With Werdum ranked 3rd and Volkov ranked 8th, the winner of this one could reasonably expect to be next in line for a shot at the heavyweight title (depending on what happened between Stipe Miocic and Daniel Cormier at UFC 226, of course).
The bookmakers installed Werdum as the favourite at $1.48 while Volkov was paying $2.65 to record his fourth consecutive win inside the Octagon.
The first round was dominated by Werdum who quickly took Volkov to the ground and controlled him from top position. In the later moments of the round, Volkov landed a strike to the right eye of Werdum, causing it to instantly swell up.
Both men managed to land take downs during the second round, but a flurry of punches from Volkov including an uppercut which snapped Werdum’s head back had the former champion looking a little worse for wear.
Werdum had his moments on the ground throughout the fight, but Volkov managed to break out of any real concerns forcing the fight back to the feet.
In the fourth round, Werdum decided to have his last roll of the dice, deciding to trade strike for strike, before Volkov knocked him to the ground and finished him up with a punch that put him to sleep.
See the finish here:
— Louise Green (@LouiseGreenMMA) March 17, 2018