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Alexander Volkov Explains Post-Fight Altercation with Sergei Pavlovich



Tensions flared between Alexander Volkov and Sergei Pavlovich following their heavyweight bout on Saturday.

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Volkov picked Pavlovich apart from the outside to score a unanimous decision win in the co-main event at UFC on ABC 6 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. When Volkov walked up to his opponent to shake hands after the fight, Pavlovich shoved his fellow countryman and former sparring partner. Volkov subsequently revealed that Pavlovich cursed at him, which was out of character for the heavyweight. Volkov believes it is Pavlovich who has a problem with him and should be the one to initiate a resolution.

“To be honest this is the first time really that I ever heard Sergei curse because he kind of told me to, well I’m not sure what he said. But basically, I once in a while allow myself to curse, but this is the first time I heard him maliciously use curse words in my direction,” Volkov said at Saturday’s post-fight press conference. “So, I mean if he’s got a problem, I think it’s probably on his side because I let the situation go. And if he’s got a problem, he should be the one to initiate the resolution.”

Volkov vs. Pavlovich initially seemed unlikely to come to fruition because the former sparring partners did not appear to be willing to fight each other. However, the consensus between both parties appeared to be that one wouldn’t back down if the other accepted the matchup. While the booking was suddenly finalized, no one confirmed who accepted the fight first until they came head-to-head at the face-offs. Things appeared to suddenly get heated between the otherwise quiet fighters, with both parties accusing each other of accepting the booking first. Volkov has now denied having any knowledge of the booking at all before it was officially announced by Dana White.

“I’m gonna try and explain it without sarcasm as it was,” Volkov said. “When the fight was announced, I found out about the fight from my American coach Ronny [Markes], who was sitting next to Ali Abdelaziz and they were talking about the fight. All three of us, Ronny, Ali and me, we found out about the fight from the announcement made by Dana White.”

It wouldn’t be the first time the UFC has used such matchmaking tactics. The promotion allegedly tried to similarly promote fights such Dustin Poirier vs Benoit St. Denis at UFC 299 and Robert Whittaker vs. Paulo Costa at UFC 298 without the fighters having officially accepted the bouts. While Abdelaziz tried to dissuade him from taking the fight, “Drago” by then already believed that the opposite camp had accepted.

“When my coach got in touch with Sergei’s team, which was the next evening it seemed as though, from the words of Sergei, that this fight was already offered to him,” Volkov said. “That’s what my coach understood. And Sergei said that, ‘If Volkov says yes then I’ll also not back out.’ And UFC came up to me and said, ‘Sergei has said yes if you will.’ Then Ali was trying to approach me and ask me to not agree to the fight but from what I understand, from their side there was already an agreement. And I don’t think that that’s denying the fight or dropping the fight.”
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