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Monday Morning Hangover: Will Alexander Volkov ever get over heavyweight hump?

UFC Fight Night: Gane vs. Volkov Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

Another weekend of fisticuffs has come and gone with UFC Vegas 30 going down last weekend (Sat., June 26, 2021) inside UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada. Plenty of fighters were left licking their wounds, including Ovince Saint Preux, who suffered his second straight loss after getting stopped via strikes by Tanner Boser (see it again here).

And Raoni Barcelos, who saw his eight-fight win streak go out the window after losing a majority decision to Timur Valiev (recap here). But, which fighter is suffering from the worst post-fight hangover, now a few days removed from the show?

Alexander Volkov.

Coming into his fifth headlining bout under the UFC banner, “Drago” was in search of his third straight win in hopes of infiltrating the championship conversation. And by defeating Ciryl Gane — the No. 3-ranked fighter at 265 pounds who has yet to taste defeat — there would be no denying the Russian big man at least deserved a title eliminator fight.

Unfortunately for “Drago,” he once again came up short when the stakes were high. For five rounds, the two big men exchanged bombs, though no one really landed cleanly enough to put the other in trouble. That said, Gane got the better of him in the stand up department, using a calm, calculated approach to pick up the unanimous decision win.

And coming up short in a big fight seems to be the story of “Drago’s” UFC career.

Volkov has won some big fights inside the Octagon by defeating the likes of Stefan Struve, Fabricio Werdum and Roy Nelson, three men he took down on his way to winning his first four fights inside the Octagon.

In his attempt to win his fifth straight, Volkov seemed to be in control against Derrick Lewis, putting him in trouble and minutes away from a decision win. But, “Black Beast” hit the turbo button and managed to steal a win in the final 10 seconds of the fight by knocking him out (relive it here). Lewis went on to get a shot at Daniel Cormier’s 265-pound title soon thereafter, ultimately coming up short.

Volkov did bounce back with a win over Greg Hardy, but then came up short against Curtis Blaydes, who smothered him for 15 minutes, once again slowing down his momentum. But like the warrior he is, “Drago” racked up two big wins against Walt Harris and Alistair Overeem, allowing him to hang around the Top 5. His fight against Gane was a big opportunity to get over the hump to prove he can win when all the chips are in, but once again he came up empty handed.

Volkov is talented and skilled, no doubt, but getting a staple win against a fighter in the Top 5 has evaded him for the last five years and without it he won’t be able to score a title fight. And with Jon Jones coming in (eventually) it’s one more big man who will be fighting his way around the crowded trough.

Now, “Drago” will have to go back to the drawing board and start another win streak just to keep his spot at No. 5. As for what could be on the horizon, a hard-hitting showdown against Augusto Sakai (No. 8) is in order. Sakai is coming off a loss to Jairzinho Rozenstruik, his second straight defeat and is in big need of a win, as well.

For complete UFC Vegas 30: “Gane vs. Volkov” results and play-by-play, click HERE.

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