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Alexander Volkov vs. Tom Aspinall full fight preview | UFC London

UFC Fight Night: Morono v Zawada Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Heavyweight sluggers Alexander Volkov and Tom Aspinall will clash TODAY (Sat., March 19, 2022) at UFC London inside O2 Arena in London, England.

Since joining UFC’s roster in 2016, former Bellator and M-1 kingpin Volkov has cemented himself as a Top 10 talent. However, the title shot continues to elude him, and 13 years into his professional career, it’s unclear if he’ll ever be able to clear the hurdle. Nevertheless, “Drago” currently serves a great role in testing highly talented up-and-comers like Aspinall. The English prospect, meanwhile, has ran through the majority of his competition, stopping each and every one of his victories. He’s yet to face anyone quite like Volkov, however, which makes for an intriguing and relevant Heavyweight main event.

Let’s take a closer look at the keys to victory for each man:

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Bantamweight Battle! Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns to UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Sat., May 21, 2022, with a must-watch women’s Bantamweight contenders’ bout between former champion and No. 2-ranked contender, Holly Holm, taking on No. 5-seeded Ketlen Vieira. In UFC Vegas 55’s co-main event, No. 14-ranked Santiago Ponzinibbio will lock horns with Michel Pereira in an absolute Welterweight firecracker.

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Alexander Volkov

Record: 34-9
Key Wins: Alistair Overeem (UFC Vegas 18), Fabricio Werdum (UFC 229), Marcin Tybura (UFC 267), Walt Harris (UFC 254), Stefan Struve (UFC Fight Night 115), Blagoy Ivanov (Bellator 120)
Keys Losses: Ciryl Gane (UFC Vegas 30), Curtis Blaydes (UFC on ESPN 11), Derrick Lewis (UFC 229), Vitaly Minakov (Bellator 108)
Keys to Victory: Volkov has always been a rangy kickboxer who breaks down his opponents with volume and distance strikes. In recent years, there’s been a focus on building mass and improving his boxing, which has helped him punch with greater impact.

One way or another, he’s stopped 22 foes via strikes.

Volkov has to stretch this fight out beyond the first round. Aspinall is a terrific finisher, powerful, quick and able to almost immediately find his range at the start of fights. He likes to press his opponents early and look to overwhelm them, and Volkov doesn’t necessarily have the pocket defense to trade in that range.

Front kicks and clinch work are a solid answer to that early barrage. Digs to the body will test Aspinall’s gas tank, and focusing on wrapping him up before he gets flowing will help extend the fight. It really doesn’t matter if Volkov plays it safe and loses the first round, not when there’s 20 more minutes to work.

Volkov has so much more experience and cage time than his opponent, so making sure all that comes into play is vital.


Tom Aspinall

Record: 11-2
Key Wins: Andrei Arlovski (UFC Vegas 36), Sergei Spivac (UFC Vegas 19), Jake Collier (UFC Fight Island 3), Alan Baudot (UFC Fight Island 5)
Keys Losses: None
Keys to Victory: There’s a reason Aspinall has finished all 11 of his victories quickly. The Englishman is a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt with fast, powerful hands, and he generally wastes very little time in putting his right hand through his opponents’ jaws.

There are two real ways Aspinall wins this fight. The most likely involves blowing Volkov out of the water, either way a quick combination of punches or perhaps a surprise takedown and strangle. If that early finish doesn’t materialize, Aspinall has to land hard enough that Volkov grows hesitant to engage, at which point the volume battle will be less of a problem.

One way or another, Aspinall has to do damage early, and his best range to do so is close quarters. He’s nasty from the pocket, and better yet, has scored half of his UFC finishes off the clinch. If he presses Volkov into the fence early, it’s going to be difficult for the taller man to avoid the ranges that Aspinall is most deadly in.

From that point forward, Aspinall has to be wary of how hard he pushes the pace/searches for a finish, but that hand speed advantage is going to be gigantic.


Bottom Line

Only one man leaves the cage as a title threat.

Volkov does not want to be relegated to the gatekeeper role. He’s a young Heavyweight himself at 33 years of age, so that future is not set in stone. If he can turn away a top-notch prospect like Aspinall and extend his win streak to two — as well as four of his last five — that should be enough to get Volkov a match up vs. a higher ranked foe next time out.

The stakes are obviously huge for Aspinall. If victorious, the English fighter will significantly jump up the ladder. Volkov would be by far the biggest scalp of his career, one that really confirms his status as a top contender and, likely, a future champion. Only elite Heavyweights have beaten Volkov in recent years, and Aspinall can add his own name to that group.

At UFC London, Alexander Volkov and Tom Aspinall will go to war in the main event. Which man will earn the victory?


Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC London fight card right here, starting with the ESPN+ “Prelims” matches, which are scheduled to begin at 1:30 p.m. ET, then the remaining main card balance (also on ESPN+) at 4 p.m. ET.

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