Ex-Bellator Titlist Alexander Volkov to Vie for M-1 Challenge Belt on Feb. 19

By Sherdog.com Staff Dec 15, 2015

Onetime Bellator MMA heavyweight champion Alexander Volkov is set to return to the ring where he got his start.

Russian organization M-1 Global on Tuesday announced that it has signed the 27-year-old, 6-foot-7 fighter to “an exclusive promotional contract.” Specifics of the deal were not disclosed.

Volkov will be thrust straight into the title picture at Feb. 19’s M-1 Challenge 64, where “Drago” will fight Denis Smoldarev for the company’s vacant heavyweight championship. The belt was recently vacated by Polish prospect Marcin Tybura, who is reportedly pursuing a contract with the UFC.

Volkov recorded a 6-3 record during his time with Bellator, earning wins against the likes of Blagoy Ivanov and Brett Rogers during a three-year stint. The Moscow native was released by the organization in October following back-to-back losses against Cheick Kongo and Tony Johnson. Volkov began his career competing for M-1 and went 8-3 under the banner between 2009 and 2011.

Like his opponent, Smoldarev also stands 6-foot-7, though the Estonian is two years younger than Volkov. The only blemish on Smoldarev’s 12-fight professional ledger came in November 2014, when he was denied by Tybura in his first bid to capture M-1 gold.


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