In the co-main event of UFC 293 in the capital of the 2000 Olympics Russian Alexander Volkov defeated the dangerous Australian Tai Tuivasa ahead of schedule and went on a series of three early victories. Sport correspondent – about the cool performance of a fighter from Moscow and the high-profile change of champion in the main MMA promotion of the world.
Title run again Volkov, the main Russian heavyweight of recent years, lost his prestigious status in 2022 to Sergei Pavlovich, who is on a streak of six victories by knockout in the first round and is awaiting a title fight in the UFC.
But do not rush to seat Drago on the bench, because he has again begun to make his way to the top. And this time the trip for gold may be the last.
- In 2018, Volkov upsetly lost to Derrick Lewis from the USA after four victories in four fights in the Dana White League. That fight was a challenger;
- Then there were losses to Curtis Blaydes, Cyril Gun and Tom Aspinall. Disappointing management 4-3 in seven fights after the ill-fated meeting in Lusom.
But then Alexander again showed himself in all his glory: not only did he defeat the Surinamese Jairzinho Rozenstruik, but he also left no chance for Alexander Romanov from Moldova. Next in line is the Australian Tai Tuivasa, who came to the wheelhouse against Drago with two early defeats, but a better position in the UFC heavyweight rankings (Bam-Bam is sixth, Volkov is seventh).
Hopelessness for Bam-Bam In the Australian's hometown, the Russian started like a master. Volkov, who is more than 13 centimeters taller than Tuivasa, worked his legs on the body and repeatedly punched Bam-Bam's block with his hands. Several times Tai was close to a knockout, but time and control came to the rescue. Undoubtedly, the break saved him, because at the end of the first round Sasha scored his opponent at the net.
However, it was not possible to avoid defeat, Tai was only postponing his third loss in a row.
Few could have imagined that the fight between two high-class knockout fighters (37 TKO/KO for two) would end in submission. However, it was the choke hold that brought the Muscovite victory. And what a rare suffocating one! Going into full mount, Volkov beat poor Tai (statistics: 105-5 in accentuated hits to the head), after which he threw “Ezekiel”, which during the MMA career of Aleynik Oleynik was the main technique in Uncle Lesha’s arsenal.
K The Russian turned to him during an Octagon interview, scoring a three-match win streak.
Two rematches to choose from In the updated ranking of the best heavyweights, Volkov will swap places with Tuivasa. But what next? Now the “five” contenders for Jon Jones’s gold look like this:
It is difficult to imagine a battle with compatriot Pavlovich at this stage. Miocic, who will soon meet with Jones and, apparently, retire, is also missed. We are also not considering Blaydes for now: he has a confrontation with Gailton Almeida ahead. There remain two re-fights with Gan and Aspinall – the hardest but necessary test on the path to the title.
Or take a step back and meet someone lower rated.
How are things going in the main fight of UFC 293? And there’s a real fire there! Middleweight belt holder Israel Adesanya entered the octagon with Sean Strickland as a total favorite, but everything went from bad to worse for the New Zealander from the first round. He, like Tuivasa, was almost scored before the break. And then for 20 minutes Izzy acted as number two or ran from the American, who had the best fight of his career.
There is no explanation yet for Adesanya’s disastrous performance in front of Qudos Bank’s almost home arena. However, let's be honest: with such a defense and a 1-2 record in the last three fights, the ex-champion definitely does not deserve immediate revenge… But, most likely, he will get it. One of the main MMA stars of our time, after all.
For his convincing performance in the main event, the judges gave Sean four rounds out of five. We have already received the main sensation of the year!
After such a show, it’s worth reading the text about the new (definitely the most talkative) UFC champion.