A 29-6 record has Alexander Volkov on the way up in the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s heavyweight division.
After a successful run in organizations like M-1 Global and Bellator MMA, “Drago” has compiled a 3-0 mark inside the Octagon and emerged as a dark horse title contender in a weight class starved for new blood. Volkov will meet Fabricio Werdum in the UFC Fight Night 127 headliner this Saturday at the O2 Arena in London, where the 6-foot-7 Russian can strengthen his position as one of the promotion’s premier big men.
This installment of The Film Room dissects Volkov’s rise to prominence:
Volkov’s match up with Siala-Mou Siliga at Bellator 116 on April 11, 2014 showed that he not only had power in his punches but could put you to sleep with a perfectly timed head kick. “Might Mo” learned that lesson the hard way when Volkov deposited him on the canvas with a crushing left kick to the face. Separated from his senses, Siliga hit the mat 2:44 into the first round of their Bellator Season 10 heavyweight tournament semifinal.
No Country for Old Nelson
UFC on Fox 24 pitted Volkov against former International Fight League champion Roy Nelson on April 15, 2017. Volkov entered the cage on a three-fight winning streak, while “Big Country” had knocked out Antonio Silva some seven months earlier. All three rounds went the Russian’s weigh, as he put his height and reach advantages to effective use. “Drago” swept the scorecards in a unanimous decision, drawing 30-27 marks from all three judges.
Another First-Round Victim
Volkov’s punching power was on display on Aug. 5, 2011, when he dominated Nedyalko Karadjov at a League S-70 event in his native Russia. It took “Drago” less than three minutes to lasso the victory, as he flurried on Karadov with punches and drew the curtain with a stiff left uppercut 2:41 into Round 1. It was the ninth first-round finish of Volkov’s career and part of a 10-fight winning streak that paved his way to Bellator MMA.
Silencing the ‘Skyscraper’
Two towering heavyweight giants rocked UFC Fight Night 115 on Sept. 2, 2017, as Volkov locked horns with Stefan Struve in the main event. An entertaining battle between the 6-foot-7 Volkov and the 6-foot-11 Struve ensued, with the two men exchanging counterattacks for the better part of three rounds. “Drago” saw red in dying minutes of Round 3, where he clipped an exhausted Struve with a four-punch combination. Volkov then buried the “Skyscraper” with punches on the mat, prompting referee Marc Goddard to stop the fight 3:30 into the third round.