UFC Fight Night 184: Alistair Overeem vs. Alexander Volkov
Saturday, February 6 – UFC Apex, Las Vegas
We are back in Las Vegas on Saturday after a trio of events from Fight Island as Alistair Overeem and Alexander Volkov headline an interesting looking card in Sin City. It is a bout that sees the No. 5 ranked fighter in Overeem take on the man one place below him in the rankings in Volkov (sixth) with the winner looking to move up and become a serious challenger to the strap currently held by Stipe Miocic.
This is a fight that was originally supposed to happen almost two years ago. Overeem (47-18 MMA, 12-7 UFC) and Volkov (32-8 MMA, 6-2 UFC) are both fighters with bags of experience and their ability to study opponents and use that wealth of prior knowledge to create a solid attacking game plan should make this one very interesting to watch.
There have only been 10 heavyweights in history to pick up 12 or more UFC wins and the deadly striking Overeem is one of those fighters. He has the highest accuracy rate when striking of anyone in company history – he lands 74.8% of his blows – and as a result of his accurate (and heavy) hands, he has picked up 42 of his 47 career wins by stoppage.
Volkov – a former Bellator heavyweight champion – is someone who gets better the longer a bout goes as his conditioning tends to be better than that of his opponents. He averages a fight time of 15:09 in UFC heavyweight figihts, the second-longest such mark in the history of the division. He is also an accurate striker – landing significant strikes at 58.5% – but you worry about his grappling game as it is something that Volkov has clearly struggled with since entering the UFC. This may be his downfall against the seemingly more well rounded Overeem.
I really like Overeem here in an upset at 1.51 with BetXChange. Volkov’s best wins were against a couple of guys that Overeem has also beaten in Walk Harris and Fabricio Werdum, and the combination of Overeem’s ability to wrestle when he needs to and the sheer volume of strikes he lands is going to be too much for his younger opponent.
The best bet on the undercard – in terms of respectable value and a potential parlay – is Alexandre Pantoja at 0.75 to beat Octagon newcomer Manel Kape. Kape – who rolled through his Rizin opponents with ease thanks to his striking game – comes up against a nasty and rounded fighter in Pantoja who will look to make this a nasty fight by getting into Kape’s body. Pantoja is a submission master and unless Kape has improved dramatically since facing “Ulka” Sasaki – another specialist of the grappling game – then he could be in for a long evening of trying to fight out of holds and attacks.
Cory Sandhagen – the No. 2 ranked fighter at 135 pounds – should have way too much for 39-year-old veteran Frankie Edgar, who is fighting at the weigh for just the second time. Edgar is talking up the fight as a No. 1 contender’s battle for the belt held by Petr Yan but it is hard to look past the 28-year-old Sandhagen even with the No. 4 ranked Edgar finally seems to be fighting at his natural weight.