The Ultimate Fighting Championship return to American soil after a record-breaking number of pay-per-view buys for UFC 257 in Abu Dhabi. The Fight Island month on Yas Island has been a massive success with plenty-filled drama to match, but now the show must go on. After a week’s rest to gather our thoughts, heavyweight contenders will collide in the main event of UFC’s return show, UFC in Vegas 18, that will take place at the UFC’s Apex Centre in Las Vegas.
Alistair Overeem vs. Alexander Volkov
UFC Heavyweight Bout
Alistair Overeem (47-18-0)
One of the most experienced heavyweights in the UFC heavyweight division ‘Alistair Overeem’ will make his twenty-first walk into a UFC octagon next weekend.
Aged forty, the former kickboxing standout transitioned his skills into mixed martial arts during his early professional years and has not looked back since. He’s now referred to as a legend, future hall of Famer, and one of the most known names in MMA today.
The list of Overeem achievements is endless; recognition gained in organizations like Pride, K-1, Dream, and Strikeforce was all accomplished before ‘The Reem’ even competing in the UFC.
Recent knockout victories over Walt Harris & Augusto Sakai prove that age is nothing but a number and puts an excellent momentum on the legends side. The victor of this contest will surely be in title talks, and perhaps one more run is around the corner.
Alexander Volkov (32-8-0)
Alexander Volkov is another UFC heavyweight contender worthy of some notoriety, much like his opponent (Overeem), Volkov has a vast experience advantage over the majority, but in this case, two veterans will collide.
Volkov made his arrival to the UFC in 2016 and has amassed a 6-2 record since a massive six-foot-seven frame combined with a lifelong pursuit in the martial arts makes Volkov an intimidating presence.
A karate style stance matched with a Tsu Shin Gen background is the reasoning for Volkov’s diverse, sometimes hard-to-read striking style. An underrated ground game with a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu brown belt is also on his resume. Volkov should not be ignored when utilizing his long limbs to finish a fight via submission. With that said, it’s not a strategy we often see during his match
Overeem vs. Volkov Fight Preview
Alistair Overeem has avoided some heavy hitters of late for an athlete holding a large number of technical knockout stoppages during his career. Stoppages over Sakai and Walt Harris respectively was a surprise to some, but we should never doubt the experience advantage.
However, the experience is equal heading into next weekend’s main event, and I anticipate Volkov’s speed and foot movement to be the dictator.
It is no secret that Overeem has a great kickboxing offence, but we cannot ignore that he’s slowed down significantly over the years. And Volkov is not too shabby in striking range either.
Volkov has an incredible cardio output for a heavyweight fighter, watching Overeem struggle versus Sakai gave us an insight into how age can affect a fighter. And I have no doubt the mileage on Overeem’s clock will not tick for much longer, especially when creeping on the top five heavyweights of the division.
The oddsmakers agree, providing a betting line that is favouring the Russian. I believe that when selecting a side, Volkov is the safer choice. Do not get me wrong, a UFC heavyweight bout can end with one punch, but when given a choice between two heavyweight contenders I must side with the speed, movement and youth advantage Volkov will own.
UFC pick: Overeem to win at +150 with Draft Kings