Prior to each UFC card, Jay Primetown takes a close look at debuting fighters. In the latest installment, we look at a lightweight contest between debutant Alex Volkanovski and Yusuke Kasuya at UFC Fight Night 101 in Melbourne, Australia.
Alex “The Hulk” Volkanovski
Weight Class: Lightweight
Camp: Freestyle Fighting Gym / Tiger Muay Thai
Career Record: 13-1
Key Wins: Anton Zafir
Key Losses: None
A former professional rugby player and an Australian national wrestling champion, Alex Volkanovski has been competing in MMA since 2012. Of his 13 career wins, he’s won 11 of them inside the distance.
Good counter striker
Powerful overhand right
Very good offensive wrestler
Times his shots well to work in takedowns
Does well to control from top position
Small for the weight class
Will struggle in prolonged range striking battles
Not a great chin
Matchup against Yusuke Kasuya
A close opening fight for Alex Volkanovski in his UFC debut. Kasuya is most dangerous in the grappling situations with his submission game. That is also where Volkanovski is at his best as he’s been able to take nearly all of his opponents to the mat. If the fight does go to the mat, Volkanovski will be in top control. How much pressure Kasuya can put on his opponent from the bottom remains to be seen. On the feet, I also give the advantage to Volkanovski. He’s got a more developed striking game and has an accurate right hand. I could Volkanovski catching Kasuya on the feet, but I can also see Volkanovski winning on points with volume striking and top control avoiding submissions. Volkanovski has the advantage both in the stand-up exchanges and is the more likely fighter to take his opponent to the mat. The Australian should win this fight more often than not. Kasuya is dangerous enough in the submission game to avoid a bet on this fight.
Alex Volkanovski certainly has a skill set that should be able to find success in the UFC. While that is unlikely at lightweight, I could see him doing well at either featherweight or bantamweight in the future. Volkanovski is strong, athletic, and times his takedowns well. The ingredients are there to be a solid fighter right away in his UFC tenure if he can find his right weightclass.
Check out Alex Volkanovski in his most recent fights:
Alex Volkanovski vs. James Bishop
Alex Volkanovski vs. Jamie Mullarkey