UFC heavyweight Alexander Volkov has encouraged Ciryl Gane to keep their UFC Vegas 30 main event on the feet.
Volkov will meet the third-ranked Frenchman this weekend in what will be his fifth UFC headliner in just 10 walks to the Octagon. He’ll be hoping his decision loss to Curtis Blaydes remains the only main event defeat on his record come the end of Saturday’s card.
Since his setback against Blaydes, “Drago” has looked back to his best. Two second-round TKO victories over Walt Harris and Alistair Overeem, the latter of which earned him a Performance of the Night bonus, have brought Volkov back into contention.
But Volkov will face a steep test when he comes face to face with Gane in a few days time. “Bon Gamin” is unbeaten in eight professional MMA fights and has recorded wins over Tanner Boser, Junior dos Santos and Jairzinho Rozenstruik on his way to securing a top three spot in the heavyweight division.
Unlike Gane’s last main event, Volkov believes their five rounder could be a memorable thriller if the 31-year-old resists the urge to take the former Bellator Heavyweight Champion down.
Speaking to MMA Junkie at the UFC Vegas 30 media day, Volkov stated that he expects a competitive striking battle if they remain standing.
“This fight, I think it will be one of the best this year because it’s two big, really high-level striking fighters, and it’s going to be a really interesting fight. I’m more excited with it because I look at him, he’s a really good striker, and one time I feel like I (will) meet him anyway. I think it’s a good time for both of us. I want to fight with anybody who uses their striking skills, but not their wrestling or something. That’s why it’s a good fight for me.”
Volkov’s worry is that his opponent will look to grapple once he feels the Russian’s power. He hopes Gane will be willing to keep the fight on the feet in spit of his strikes.
“I hope he will not go to wrestling after some punches hit him, and we will continue this fight in the standup.”
UFC Heavyweight Champion Francis Ngannou is set to defend his title against Derrick Lewis later this year.
With Stipe Miocic set to have the chance to reclaim the gold after, it stands to reason the winner of this weekend’s headliner could be entering the Octagon with the champion beyond that, or at the very least could place themselves in a title eliminator.
Do you think Alexander Volkov will become the first man to defeat Ciryl Gane?