Former heavyweight champion Fabricio Werdum faced off with rising prospect Alexander Volkov today (Sat., March 17, 2018) in the O2 Arena in London, England, broadcast live on UFC Fight Pass. Werdum was looking to build momentum for another title shot, while Volkov looked to prove he belonged in the upper echelon at heavyweight. Volkov was riding a 5-fight winning streak, and tonight would make it six with a measured performance to outlast former training partner Werdum.
Werdum looked for that leaping side kick, got a laugh from Volkov, then immediately shot in and got a takedown. Volkov locked him up in full guard, and Werdum wailed away with his free hand, landing shots on Volkov’s face. He postured up and looked to pass for a moment, but Volkov kept him in his guard. Werdum landed some more punches as Volkov looked to control, but showed no urgency to get back to his feet. Finally Volkove landed a nice half-sweep to off balance Werdum and get up. He immediately went to town on a shelled-up Werdum, throwing hard uppercuts. Werdum went down, seemingly off-balance, a couple times, but Volkov didn’t take the bait. Werdum got another takedown, worked from Volkov’s guard again to close out the round.
Werdum opened the next round with a low kick and a slow high kick. Volkov looked to counter Werdum on the way in. Volkov taunted Werdum, who responded by shooting, but this time Volkov stuffed the takedown. Volkov caught a Werdum kick and dumped him, but didn’t bother to follow him to the ground. Werdum shot again and got a takedown this time. Volkov recovered guard and seemed content to hang out there and let Werdum work. Werdum landed a couple heavy elbows, then a flurry of Donkey Kong hammerfists. He stood up and backed away, diving back in to half guard, looking for a kimura from the top. Volkov held on, not giving it away. A couple of those elbows had opened up his forehead.
The third round opened with Werdum looking for a one-two, Volkov countered and Werdum shot, Volkov stuffed, Werdum swept him, and Volkov scrambled back to his feet. He took Werdum down, landed a couple punches and backed away again. He stuffed Werdum’s takedown again, got top position, landed an opportunistic punch. The referee separated them because Volkov evidently grabbed Werdum by the inside of his glove. Volkov landed a combination that ended with a head-turning left hook. Werdum looked for another single-leg, got the sweep off Volkov’s sprawl and momentarily took his back, Volkov shucking off an armbar attempt to get back to his feet. Volkov shrugged off a body kick and landed a combination of short, sharp hooks. He caught a kick, toppling Werdum effortlessly. Werdum clearly wanted the fight on the mat. His face was a bloody mess, those combinations from Volkov taking their toll.
Volkov looked for his lead hook in the third round. He landed a snapping one-two as Werdum kicked. Werdum grabbed a single-leg and rolled underneath, looking for a sweep, but Volkov stayed calm and got top position, sitting in Werdum’s guard. He landed a couple straight corkscrew punches to Werdum’s face, then got up. Werdum went in for a couple sharp hooks and Volkov countered him, put him down with a beautiful uppercut, and a clinical karate-esque ground punch put Werdum out cold! Alexander Volkov announced himself as a contender at heavyweight!
Volkov was serious and a little emotional post-fight. He said it was a great win for him, and he is waiting for a title shot now. He said as a former training partner, he knew Werdum’s jiu-jitsu was very good, so he worked a lot of ground defense. He said it may be Cormier, it may be Miocic, but he is here for the belt. After that performance, he just may be a front-runner for the next title shot.
Official result: Alexander Volkov def. Fabricio Werdum via KO at 1:38 of Round 4
For complete Fight Night 127 results, including play-by-play, click here