This past Saturday in the co-main event of UFC 293, we saw a battle between two of the best heavyweights in the world. Top ten contenders went toe-to-toe as Australia’s own “Bam Bam” Tai Tuivasa (15-6) took on “Drago” Alexander Volkov (37-10).
Entering the bout, Tuivasa was on a two-fight losing streak while Volkov had won two in a row. The win was much needed for both men. Tuivasa needed to get back on track while Drago needed to continue building his case towards an eventual shot at the heavyweight title.
A lot of this fight was going to come down to range. Tai Tuivasa needed to get inside and he had a helluva time doing so. From the start, Tuivasa tried to chop Volkov down with kicks, but Volkov was incredibly effective from the outside. Brutal straight shots, body kicks, and knees were all landing on Tuivasa.
He nearly finished the fight in the first round. In the second round, Volkov’s leg started to feel the damage, but he started catching the kicks. Eventually, he caught a kick and took the fight to the ground. He immediately went to mount and locked in a rare Ezekiel choke. Tuivasa was forced to tap and Volkov got the massive win at UFC 293.
What’s next after UFC 293?
Alexander Volkov has now won three fights in a row and finished all of them before the start of the third round. He’s on a roll and looks absolutely incredible right now. That said, he’s in a very interesting spot in the division. In November, Jon Jones and Stipe Miocic are fighting for the heavyweight title at UFC 295.
Both men have hinted that this could be their last fight. If they both walk away, my assumption is that Sergei Pavlovich will fight either Ciryl Gane or Tom Aspinall for the vacant title. Pavlovich is the backup fighter for the heavyweight title fight so I’m assuming he will be in the next title fight no matter what.
If Jones and/or Miocic retire, Pavlovich fights one of those two. In that case, whoever doesn’t get the vacant title fight would be an excellent fight for Volkov. Whether it’s a rematch with Gane or a rematch with Aspinall, I think Volkov has earned that spot. Another fight to watch is the November battle between Jailton Almeida and Curtis Blaydes.
I could see the UFC giving the winner of that fight to Volkov. Either way, I think Volkov ends up in a title eliminator or the closest thing to it in his next fight after these three straight finishes.