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Monday Morning Hangover: What’s next for Alexander Volkov after loss to Curtis Blaydes at UFC on ESPN 11?

Another weekend of fisticuffs has come and gone as UFC on ESPN 11, which took place inside UFC APEX this past weekend (Sat., June 20, 2020) in Las Vegas, Nevada, delivered some memorable (and not-so memorable) mixed martial arts (MMA) action.

Plenty of fighters were left licking their wounds, including Marion Reneau, who lost her third straight after getting dominated by Raquel Pennington. And Oskar Piechota, who suffered his fourth straight loss after being knocked out by Marc-Andre Barriault (see it).

But, which fighter is suffering from the worst post-fight hangover a few days removed from the show?

Alexander Volkov.

Coming into his headlining bout opposite Curtis Blaydes, Volkov had won five of his first six fights inside the Octagon, with his lone defeat coming at the hands of Derrick Lewis. It’s a bout Volkov was in full control of before “Black Beast” landed a home run shot in the fifth and final round (watch highlights). Despite the defeat, “Drago” had established himself as a legit title contender.

Unfortunately for the Russian big man, wrestling proved to be his Achilles heel, as Blaydes simply had his way with him in that department over the course of 25 minutes. Sure, “Drago” had a late surge against a gassed Blaydes in the final round, but the damage had already been done and the scores were already tallied up, as Volkov didn’t have enough to do what Lewis did to him and land a Hail Mary in the last round.

As a result of being taken down a whopping 14 times, Volkov found himself on the wrong end of a unanimous decision defeat, giving him his second loss in three fights. It’s a tough blow for “Drago” because the Heavyweight division is wide open at the moment, with only Francis Ngannou being a clear-cut title contender. And since Daniel Cormier will retire this year, it opens up a top spot for another willing and capable big man.

Still, Volkov failed to rise to the occasion in his latest big step inside the Octagon. The label of being unable to win the big fight is not one any fighter wants to be tagged with, but after losing to top contenders Lewis and Blaydes, the whispers have already started on Volkov.

As for what could be next for “Drago,” perhaps a fight against Walt Harris is in order. “Big Ticket” is coming off a tough loss to Alistair Overeem at UFC on ESPN 8 a little more than one month ago, snapping his three-fight win streak. Both men need a big win to prevent falling further down the 265-pound totem pole, and both have the power to help them accomplish that over the other.

In facing Harris, Volkov won’t have to worry too much about getting out-wrestled again, though it wouldn’t hurt for him to brush up his grappling skills moving forward, regardless if he’s lined up to face a fellow striker or not. Anyway, that’s my ideal match up for Volkov ... what’s yours?

For complete UFC on ESPN 11 results and coverage click here.

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