Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns to action later today (Sat., June 26, 2021) for UFC Vegas 30 in Las Vegas, Nevada. In the main event of the evening, Ciryl Gane will face Alexander Volkov in what is sure-to-be a hard-hitting Heavyweight affair. In the co-main event of the evening, Tanner Boser will face Ovince Saint Preux, also at 265-pounds.
In just five fights with UFC, Ciryl Gane has managed to fight his way up to the No. 3 spot on the official rankings. During his two-year stint with the promotion, Gane has racked up five straight wins, including two big victories over former 265-pound champion Junior dos Santos and his hard-hitting colleague, Jairzinho Rozenstruik. Up next for the French-born big man is another tough challenge in the form of Alexander Volkov, owner of back-to-back knockout wins over Alistair Overeem and Walt Harris.
For “Drago,” picking up big wins hasn’t been an issue, it’s getting enough of them consecutively to put him over the top and closer to a shot at the title. While he did start off his UFC career with four straight wins, including a huge victory over Fabricio Werdum, Volkov was subsequently knocked out by against Derrick Lewis in a fight he was winning and would have likely earned him a title shot. After bouncing back nicely against Greg Hardy, his roll was once again slowed down, this time by Curtis Blaydes. Now, the Russian big man is looking for his third straight win in an effort to cut the championship line.
Volkov will once again have the height advantage but the edge in power clearly goes to Gane. The man hits like a truck and can sleep a baby elephant if he connects on the button. At the end of the day, though, Gane is still fairly new to the MMA game, competing professionally for just three years, making the jump over from Muay Thai in 2018. As for Volkov, he has faced the best of the best and will be too much for Gane here. He will finally be able to get over the hump here and by taking out the undefeated Gane, he could be one more win away from a shot at the title.
Okay, so it’s not a must-see card, but UFC 264 is right around the corner so there is no sense in complaining here since we are just two more weeks away from one of the biggest trilogy fights the promotion has put on when Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier collide for a third and possibly final time.
Original Card vs Actual Card:
Ed Herman was forced out of his scheduled bout against Danilo Marques and was ultimately replaced by Kennedy Nzechukwu, winner of two straight. Marques is in search of his fifth straight win, third inside the Octagon. Ramazan Emeev bowed out of his scheduled scrap against Warlley Alves and was replaced by UFC newcomer Jeremiah Wells. Visa issues forced Maxim Grishin from his scheduled Heavyweight bout against Ovince Saint Preux, who will now face Tanner Boser at 265-pounds. This will be “OSP’s” second fight in the land of the big men after coming up short against Ben Rothwell in his first attempt in May 2020.
Sergey Khandozhko suffered an undisclosed injury and was forced out of his fight against Nicolas Dalby, who is 2-0-1 since returning to UFC in 2019. As a result, Dalby will now face Tim Means. “Dirty Bird” is currently enjoying a two-fight win streak and was last seen dominating Mike Perry at UFC 256 in Nov. 2020. Also, Su Mudaerji was forced out of his Flyweight bout against Tim Elliott after hurting his knee which ultimately required surgery.
After nearly a decade of fighting on the regional circuit, Jeremiah Wells will finally get his chance to show off his stuff on the biggest MMA stage of them all. Winner of two in a row and five of six overall, Wells will take on longtime veteran Warlley Alves, who is coming off a big win over Mounir Lazzez. Wells got his opportunity by agreeing to step up on short notice after Ramazan Emeev bowed out of the fight.
How The ‘Prelims’ Look:
Raoni Barcelos will look to collect consecutive win number 10 — sixth inside the Octagon — when he takes on Timur Valiev. This is a battle of two surging 145-pounders because Valiev has also been on fire, winning seven of his last eight fights. Barcelos is as exciting as they come while Valiev doesn’t back down from anyone. The winner of this fight has a good chance of breaking into the Top 15.
Since 2014, Charles Rosa has alternated wins and losses in a streak spanning nine fights, all of them taking place inside the Octagon. While that is okay for job security, it isn’t doing him any favors when trying to climb the ranks. He is coming off a loss to Darrick Minner so if history holds true he should come out on top when he faces Justin Jaynes, right? Maybe, maybe not, but one thing is for certain and that is Jaynes needing a win to avoid a pink slip since he has dropped his last three.
After starting off her UFC career with two straight wins, Julia Avila had her four fight win streak snapped by Sijara Eubanks in Sept. 2020. Though her momentum did slow a bit, her reputation of being a fearsome brawler hasn’t. Avila brings it each and every time and she will need to keep that same energy when taking on Julija Stoliarenko, who lost in her UFC debut against Yana Kunitskaya.
Ike Villanueva has one motto: Kill or be killed. That’s evident by the result of his last seven fights, winning five by way of knockout and losing two via strikes. He is looking to capitalize on his massive knockout win over Vinicius Moreira, whom he finished with one well-placed punch earlier this year. Villanueva will face Marcin Prachnio, who is in search of his first back-to-back wins inside the Octagon after starting off his UFC career with three straight losses before bouncing back with a victory over Khalil Rountree at UFC 257.
Michel Prazeres will take on Shavkat Rakhmonov in what should be a highly-competitive contest. Shavkat is undefeated at 13-0, making a splash in his UFC debut against Alex Oliveira in Oct. 2020. Prior to that, “Nomad” was dominating M-1. As for Prazeres, he is 10-3 so far inside the Octagon and was riding an impressive eight fight win streak including a win over Gilbert Burns before running into Ismail Naurdiev in his last bout.
Who Needs A Win Badly:
Yancy Medeiros never quite got over the hump for title contention despite having some impressive outings inside the Octagon. Now, the Hawaiian-born scrapper is simply trying to hang on to his spot on the UFC roster. After dropping three fights in a row to Donald Cerrone, Gregor Gillespie and more recently to Lando Vannata 16 months ago, Medeiros could be at risk of getting cut should he drop his fourth straight when he takes on Damir Hadzovic. By the way, it’s not like Hadzovic has been lighting the MMA world on fire as of late, either, losing two straight fights, which means this could very well be a loser leaves town fight.
Interest Level: 5 of 10
While not the most stacked fight night event, the card should provide enough fireworks to fulfill your early afternoon craving of face-punching which could produce a potential contender for the 265-pound title.
One of the other two main card bouts that we have yet to discuss is a Featherweight bout between Andre Fili and Daniel Pineda. Fili is looking to bounce back after losing to Bryce Mitchell in Nov. 2020. The 15-fight UFC veteran hasn’t been able to garner much momentum during his eight year run with the promotion, but a win over Pineda could be what gets him going. Pineda is coming off a knockout loss to Cub Swanson at UFC 256 in Dec. 2020. Prior to that setback, Pineda had gone an impressive 5-0-2.
Renato Moicano was once considered a legit threat at 145 pounds, but now the Brazilian bomber is simply trying to dig himself out of a hole and secure a much-needed win. Coming off a first-round knockout loss to Rafael Fiziev, Moicano has lost three of his last four bouts inside the Octagon. He will be taking on Jai Herbert, who came up short in his UFC debut against Francisco Trinaldo, snapping his six fight win streak in the process.
Enjoy the fights!
Full Fight Card:
UFC Vegas 30 Main Event On ESPN+:
265 lbs.: Ciryl Gane vs. Alexander Volkov
UFC Vegas 30 Main Card On ESPN+ (4 p.m. ET):
265 lbs.: Tanner Boser vs. Ovince Saint Preux
135 lbs.: Raoni Barcelos vs. Timur Valiev
145 lbs.: Andre Fili vs. Daniel Pineda
170 lbs.: Nicolas Dalby vs. Tim Means
155 lbs.: Jai Herbert vs. Renato Moicano
UFC Vegas 30 Prelims Card On ESPN+ (1 p.m. ET):
205 lbs.: Danilo Marques vs Kennedy Nzechukwu
170 lbs.: Michel Prazeres vs. Shavkat Rakhmonov
205 lbs.: Marcin Prachnio vs. Ike Villanueva
135 lbs.: Julia Avila vs. Julija Stoliarenko
145 lbs.: Justin Jaynes vs. Charles Rosa
155 lbs.: Damir Hadzovic vs. Yancy Medeiros
170 lbs.: Warlley Alves vs. Jeremiah Wells
*Fight card, bout order and number of fights remain subject to change due to COVID-19.*
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Vegas 30 fight card right here, starting with the ESPN+ “Prelims” matches, which are scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. ET, then the remaining main card balance on ESPN+ at 4 p.m. ET.