UFC Saudi Arabia Preview and Prediction: Sergei Pavlovich – Alexander Volkov

Tomorrow in the co-main event of UFC Saudi Arabia, we are going to see an incredible matchup between two of the baddest men on the planet. Russian heavyweights will go head-to-head in a massive matchup as Sergei Pavlovich (18-2) takes on “Drago” Alexander Volkov (37-10).

Back in 2016, Volkov made his way to the UFC as the M1 heavyweight champion. He won his first four fights to get a fight with Derrick Lewis. He was seconds away from winning a decision in that fight which would’ve earned him a title shot. Instead, Lewis pulled off the last second knockout halting all his momentum. Starting with that fight, Volkov would go 4-4 in eight fights.

The last loss came against current interim champion Tom Aspinall. Then, Volkov turned things around. He’s won his last three UFC fights all by finish with no fights seeing the third round. This recent stretch has him back in the title picture and a win tomorrow could put him right in the mix for a shot.

To do that however, he has to beat one of the most terrifying guys in the division. Sergei Pavlovich lost his UFC debut to Alistair Overeem. After that loss, he won six straight fights by first round knockout. His victims included Derrick Lewis, Curtis Blaydes, and Tai Tuivasa. Volkov only went 1-2 against those three with the lone win being Tuivasa.

That stretch led Pavlovich to an interim title fight last November against Tom Aspinall at UFC 295. Both men stood and traded big shots but the technique of Aspinall won out and Pavlovich got knocked out. Now, he’s looking to bounce back and get right back to the title picture.

UFC Saudi Arabia Prediction

I don’t expect this fight to really hit the mat. I think both of these guys will stand and trade with the grappling only coming to play whenever someone gets rocked. In his recent fights, Volkov has used his length perfectly. He’s fought with a ton of forward pressure yet he’s kept things at his range. In that range, he throws nasty kicks and knees up the middle. He’s also very good with his sniping punches.

Pavlovich has very good speed and explosion which we’ve seen throughout his UFC career. He’s going to need to get inside and use his power and speed to rock Volkov. If this matchup stays incredibly technical from the outside, I can see Volkov picking him apart. I know people have pointed to the fact that Volkov’s chin has held up except for the Derrick Lewis fight, but I think Pavlovich might hit even harder than The Black Beast.

I see Pavlovich getting inside late in the first round and landing a bomb. From there, I think he swarms the taller fighter and ends up putting him out cold. I think this is the most motivated I’ve ever seen Sergei Pavlovich and I believe he makes a big statement at UFC Saudi Arabia.

Prediction: Sergei Pavlovich by KO – Round 1

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