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UFC Vegas 18: Overeem vs. Volkov - Major Fight Preview

Overeem vs. Volkov

Even though he is one of the most experienced players today, I can say that Alistair Overeem (47-18 in MMA, 12-7 in the UFC) has reshaped his style of play in recent years, managing to remain among the top fighters in the division to this day. The "Demolition Man" had passages through many promotions and arrived in the UFC 10 years ago, but ended up becoming a challenger only in 2016, even managing to knockdown champion Stipe Miocic at the opportunity. In a decadent phase, Overeem has been beating less experienced or veteran opponents, but without being able to beat the top athletes in the category and remaining in a position of porter for the top 5. In this condition he helped to consolidate names like Francis Ngannou, Curtis Blaydes and Jairzinho Rozenstruik by there, but barred others who were not prepared, such as Walt Harris and Augusto Sakai.

In striking we have a versatile athlete with skills in practically all strokes that can be thought of standing, especially with kicks. The  clinch Overeem is devastating, with full emphasis on the knees strong that applies in the body and head of his opponents. The ground is of a good level for heavyweight, using this alternative against lay opponents and when it comes into danger, it also has a powerful ground and pound to define fights. The main problems are the well-known porcelain chin and not very reliable conditioning.

Alexander Volkov (31-8 in MMA, 4-2 in the UFC) made a name for himself as a Bellator champion and is currently having a good career, settling in the top 10 of the heavyweights inside the UFC, looking for a wanderer in the top five of the table. As it is new compared to the other heavyweight colleagues, Volkov still sees many fights in the event and, with retirement and medallion layoffs in the future, he should stabilize in the weight elite soon. The last time he entered the UFC octagon, the Russian ended up with Walt Harris, with a kick in the solar plexus that defined the bill. Before that he was tied up by the American Curtis Blaydes.

The “Drago” - clearly referring to Rocky's character - is a striker by preference. Tall, Alexander takes advantage of his stature to get blows in the long distance, mainly jabs and kicks, like the one that led to Harris' knockout. He does not usually knock out with a single stroke, but applies good volume without showing a significant drop in performance. The defenses in the defensive area weigh against the Russian, failing to prevent falls against more qualified opponents. It also doesn't help that he is a bit of a turtle on the ground and quite attainable while standing.

That's what I always write in the previews that I do of Alistair Overeem: the man is angry and owns one of the biggest offensive arsenal of MMA, except that ... the guy usually can't handle a badly fitted blow. Taking into account that Volkov is not the guy with the most footprint in the division and that he is also bumpy in all defensive areas, it is worth the bet on the Dutchman in a similar way to his last fights. Overeem by technical knockout is the guess.