- Date & Location: Saturday, February 6, 2021 @ UFC Apex, Las Vegas
- Odds: Alistair Overeem (+155) vs. Alexander Volkov (-190) via Bovada
- Prediction: Overeem via decision
On Saturday, the UFC returns to Las Vegas for the first time since December 19. On that day, the promotion holds its UFC Vegas 18 fight card at the UFC Apex.
In the heavyweight main event, two top-10 ranked heavyweights meet. In that matchup, 40-year-old Alistair Overeem looks to stay on the path to what he says will be his last push for a UFC title. Overeem, who has held many titles outside of the UFC, is on a two-fight winning streak. This is his third run of two straight wins since 2017. The last time he won more than two fights in a row was between 2014 and 2016, when a four-fight winning streak earned him a shot at heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic. Miocic won that scrap via first-round knockout. Overeem is 6-3 since that loss.
The 32-year-old Volkov opened his UFC career with a four-fight winning streak. Since that impressive start, the former M-1 Global champion is 2-2. Volkov is coming off an October knockout win over Walt Harris.
The official UFC heavyweight rankings have Overeem at No. 5. Volkov is one spot below him at No. 6.
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OVEREEM vs. VOLKOV ODDS
|1st Fighter||2nd Fighter|
|Alistair Overeem||+155||-190||Alexander Volkov|
OVEREEM vs. VOLKOV PREDICTION & PICK
As Overeem has aged, he has become more susceptible to knockouts. But like the veteran he is, Overeem has adapted his style. Today, he is a much more patient fighter. He operates from distance as often as he can and does his best to not put himself out of position. Yes, his opponents can still find his button, something we saw when Jairzinho Rozenstruik, who was on his way to a decision loss, knocked out Overeem with four seconds left in their 25-minute bout, but more often than not it is Overeem who scores the knockout win. Another thing Overeem has in his back pocket are his takedowns, ground strikes and submission game.
Volkov is an active striker with 21 career knockout wins to his name. Three of his past four wins have come via strikes. He will look to use his power to stop this fight with his hands. The bad thing about Volkov is he does not have good takedown defense. He gave up 14 takedowns to Curtis Blaydes in June. What makes Volkov’s lack of takedown defense worse is that he has underwhelming ground skills as well.
BETTING VALUE WITH OVEREEM
Overeem is going to do his best to frustrate Volkov be fighting at distance. Overeem’s experience allows him to remain calm and patient. I don’t see that changing in this bout. If Overeem gets in trouble with Volkov’s striking, I think he’ll take Volkov down and work his ground game — Overeem has 17 career submission wins. I don’t think an Overeem finish is out of the question, but I see him getting the victory via decision.
With Overeem, you never know if he will get tagged and finished. That’s been a big worry over the past few years and Volkov has the power to win via knockout. That bet comes down to just how you feel about Overeem’s chin vs. Volkov’s ability to get in close and use his striking for the stoppage win.
Prediction: Overeem via decision +154 at Bookmaker.
WHO HAS THE EDGE?
Volkov is favored in this heavyweight bout because of his power. However, outside of that, he doesn’t have any true advantages in this scrap.
Overeem has the advantage in experience, grappling and knowledge. Overeem’s ability to stay at the top of the game after more than 20 years in MMA speaks volumes about his ability.
FIGHT STATS: OVEREEM vs. VOLKOV
|Alistair Overeem||Category||Alexander Volkov|
|3.71||Significant Strikes Landed Per Minute||4.76|
|2.33||Significant Strikes Absorbed Per Minute||2.53|
|1.44||Takedown Average Per 15 Minutes||0.69|
|0.8||Submission Average Per 15 Minutes||0.2|
WHAT’S AT STAKE
Put simply, the winner of this fight stays in the hunt for the UFC heavyweight title and the loser is likely to be relegated to gatekeeper status for his next few fights.