Prior to each UFC card, Jay Primetown takes a close look at debuting fighters. In the latest installment, we look at former Bellator heavyweight champion Alexander Volkov making his UFC debut against American Timothy Johnson at UFC Fight Night 99. Alexander Volkov Hometown: Moscow, Russia Age: 28 Height: 6’7” Reach: 81” Weight Class: Heavyweight Camp: Team Strela Career Record: 26-6 Key Wins: Blagoy Ivanov, Brett Rogers Key Losses: Cheick Kongo, Vitaly Minakov Background The former Bellator heavyweight champion had a nice stint in M1 after leaving Bellator in 2015. He’s one of the longest heavyweight fighters in MMA standing 6’7 with an 81 inch reach. Volkov has one of the better heavyweight resumes of a fighter making his UFC debut in some time. Strengths

  • Pretty decent technical striker
  • Very good kicking game
  • Decent work in the clinch
  • At his best from range and given space to strike
  • Lacks one punch knockout power

Weaknesses

  • Doesn’t make the best use of his reach when it comes to boxing
  • Decent chin
  • Struggles with big, physical fighters
  • Can be taken down and controlled on the mat

 

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  Matchup against Timothy Johnson In a battle of contrasting styles, Timothy Johnson welcomes Russian Alexander Volkov to the UFC. Volkov is a long, thin striker that is at his best striking from range and using his technique to pick apart his opponents. Johnson is a big, physical heavyweight that prefers to push the fight against the cage using his power and wrestling to rough up his opponent. This is a tough matchup for Volkov given Johnson’s shear weight and power advantage. I expect Johnson to look for the takedown in this bout and from top control he has ruthless ground and pound. It’s even possible that Johnson finishes Volkov from top position in this bout. From a style standpoint, I think there’s a clear advantage for the American and he should win this bout. Timothy Johnson Moneyline (-130) is worth a bet as is Johnson by KO / TKO (+475). Johnson has heavy hands and is absolutely capable of a ground and pound stoppage win. UFC Ceiling Alexander Volkov is the type of heavyweight that is important for the UFC to add to its roster. He’s still relatively young and has a skill set that puts him above most of the fighters entering the UFC at this point. The UFC has added too many low level fighters to its heavyweight ranks diluting its product. Volkov certainly has the technical skill set to be competitive right away. His takedown defense will be the ultimate factor in how much success he has in the UFC long term. Fight Film Check out Alexander Volkov in some of his most recent fights:   Alexander Volkov vs. Vitaly Minakov Alexander Volkov vs. Denis Smoldarev


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