The headliner for this weekend’s UFC Fight Night features 240 kilos of twisted steel and ferocity as Alistair Overeem and Alexander Volkov square off in a heavyweight blockbuster. For veteran Overeem, it may be his last opportunity to make a run at the UFC belt.
Overeem debuted in the UFC in 2011 – after 12 years fighting under other promotions – via a first-round TKO of Brock Lesnar. The Brit’s career record stands at 47-18 (1NC), including 25 wins by knockout. Moscow brute Volkov joined the UFC in 2016 and has crafted a 32-8 career record with 21 knockout victories.
Volkov heads in as a $1.52 favourite in the clash of the kickboxing specialists.
— Cage Chat (@CageChatMMA) January 29, 2021
‘Demolition Man’s’ still got it
Overeem was at a crossroads after consecutive KO/TKO losses to Francis Ngannou at UFC 218 and Curtis Blaydes at UFC 225. But the ‘Demolition Man’ has proved he still has plenty to offer, clawing back up the heavyweight rankings by winning four of five fights in the two and a half years since.
His only loss was a last-second knockout at the hands of Jairzinho Roezenstruik in December 2019 – a fight he was arguably set to win if it went to a decision. Overeem responded with a Round 2 TKO of Walt Harris the day before his 40th birthday in May last year.
Less than four months later, he stopped Augusto Sakai early in the fifth round with elbows and punches. The latter fight saw Overeem utilise his underrated ground game, which will be a key weapon if he’s to upset Volkov.
— UFC (@ufc) February 3, 2021
Volkov has recorded two wins and two losses since October 2018. He was knocked out by Derrick Lewis, won a decision against Greg Hardy, lost a decision to Curtis Blaydes and scored a TKO victory over Harris in October last year.
Legend’s last title run chance
Overeem has fought for the UFC Heavyweight Championship once, losing via Round 1 knockout to current champion Stipe Miocic at UFC 203 in 2016. He knocked Miocic down one minute in and rocked him on another couple of occasions but couldn’t capitalise.
It was an agonising missed opportunity Overeem hasn’t given up on making up for.
Miocic defends his belt against top-ranked contender Ngannou next month.
Ranked fifth among the UFC’s heavyweight contenders, Overeem has expressed his desire to make one last run at a title shot. But it has to start here against the sixth-ranked, 32-year-old Volkov.
Overeem may seem ageless – but time is not exactly on the 40-year-old’s side.
— MMA Junkie (@MMAjunkie) January 31, 2021
Only one of Overeem’s last 12 fights has gone the distance. He’s won twice and lost twice by first-round KO/TKO during that time. This showdown seems destined to be decided without the judges’ assistance.
Both hard-hitting fighters can take a shot but they aren’t renowned for having the strongest chins.
A living legend 🔨
— UFC (@ufc) February 2, 2021
There’s huge value in a knockout victory for $2.55 underdog Overeem. The Round & Method markets, in particular, provide a potential bounty for UFC punters who think the ‘Demolition Man’ can overpower his Russian opponent.