ALEXANDER VOLKOV re-affirmed his title credentials, as he stopped former UFC heavyweight champion Fabricio Werdum in the fourth round at the O2 Arena in London. With the win “Drago” could well be next in line for a shot at the winner of Stipe Miocic and Daniel Cormier’s clash in July.
It was hardly a barnburner, as neither seemed to want to commit to the other’s world, however a sluggish Werdum was caught with a hard right hand which scrambled his senses, before he was dropped and finished by another vicious right hand to end matters.
With those right hands, Werdum’s ambitions at a run to reclaim heavyweight gold have been well and truly diverted, as Volkov catapults himself into contention. The Brazilian put Volkov down early, but was unable to transition past the Russian’s long reach to put himself into a finishing situation on the ground.
“Vai Cavalo” tried to tempt Volkov to take him on on the mat, however Volkov, having survived the first ordeal, had no intention of joining him. Werdum cut “Drago” open in the second with a nasty elbow, however his eye was swelling and eventually busted open in the third, contributing to his eventual demise.
Werdum tired, whereas Volkov appeared to keep enough in the tank to not let the opportunity pass him by in the fourth. He will almost certainly have an eye on the Miocic-Cormier clash in Las Vegas in July.
The chief support wasn’t greeted with much excitement when a light-heavyweight clash between Jimi Manuwa and Jan Blachowicz was announced. It was a rematch from a unanimous decision in Poland for Manuwa, who went the distance for the only time in his career on that night back in 2015.
Blachowicz had the home advantage that night and he was out for revenge and nearly got it in stunning fashion in the first, when he dropped Manuwa, who was the home fighter this time around, and almost got him out of there.
The Londoner recovered but he was hesitant from that point, pressing forward but not letting his hands go enough, as Blachowicz worked behind a solid jab to defeat him. It was the rematch no one really wanted, but ended up being the trilogy fight we all want to see, rightly earning both men a Fight of the Night bonus.
Tom Duquesnoy bounced back from defeat last time out with a unanimous decision victory over Terrion Ware, however the French bantamweight didn’t have it all his own way. Ware took everything Duquesnoy threw his way, but it was the sharper blows, especially the leg kicks, that edged it for “Fire Kid”.
Birmingham welterweight Leon Edwards crashed the top 15 recently and put his name in the history books as he stopped Peter Sobotta in their welterweight clash with a second left in the contest. It was tight until then, but Edwards stepped up a gear in the third to earn the stoppage. He proceeded to call out fellow British welterweight Darren Till, who was cageside, and challenged him to a clash in Liverpool on May 27.
Edwards holds the record of latest stoppage in a three round fight with Paul Craig, who achieved the same feat earlier in the night. Craig was on his way to a third straight loss, before he snapped in a triangle choke off his back to submit Magomed Ankalaev in their light-heavyweight clash. It was an unforgettable comeback for the “Bearjew”.
Welterweight Danny Roberts wasn’t about to waste any time, as he flattened Oliver Enkamp in the first round with a monstrous left hand that folded his Swedish foe like a piece of origami. He will now be targeting a quick turnaround so he can fight in his hometown of Liverpool on May 27th.
Featherweight Danny Henry had even less time to waste, as he submitted Hakeem Dawodu in just 39 seconds with a guillotine choke. Henry almost wrenched the Canadian’s head off, after dropping him with a hard right hand and refused to let up until he felt the tap.
John Phillips succumbed to defeat in his UFC debut at middleweight, losing to American Charles Byrd, who forced him to tap in the first round via a rear naked choke. Phillips was taken down in the first 10 seconds and couldn’t shake off Byrd, who was excellent.
It was a bad night for lightweight Stevie Ray and heavyweight Mark Godbeer, as they lost out to Kajan Johnson and Dmitry Sosnovskiy respectively. Ray lost via a tight split decision which could have gone either way, whilst Godbeer was submitted by his Russian opponent in the second via a rear naked choke.