Two of the top-ranked heavyweights in the UFC will face off on Saturday Night, as Ciryl Gane and Alexander Volkov meet in the main event of UFC Fight Night 190 at the Apex facility in Las Vegas.
Gane says he sees the fight as “a real semifinal,” with the winner moving one step closer to taking on Francis Ngannou for the heavyweight title.
Gane sees challenge, opportunity in Volkov fight
The 31-year-old Gane (8-0) has only been in the UFC for two years, but has already begun building an impressive resume. His last two wins – a second-round TKO of Junior dos Santos, followed by a unanimous decision victory over Jairzinho Rozenstruik – quickly moved the Frenchman up to No. 3 in the heavyweight rankings.
Now Gane faces what he says is the biggest challenge of his career so far.
“Volkov, for me, is one of the best of the division,” Gane told MMA Junkie. “[The] more the challenge is big, the more I’m excited about that. Because I’m new to MMA. I want to prove because I really don’t know myself. I want a challenge, and maybe this fight is going to prove a new version of myself, and maybe I’m going to show something new.”
Volkov (33-8) also sees a major opportunity in Saturday’s fight. In fact, he thinks the two could produce a memorable fight, if Gane is game.
“I think it will be one of the best this year because it’s two big, really high-level striking fighters, and it’s going to be a really interesting fight,” Volkov told MMA Junkie. “I want to fight with anybody who uses their striking skills, but not their wrestling or something. That’s why it’s a good fight for me. I hope he will not go to wrestling after some punches hit him, and we will continue this fight in the standup.”
Heavyweights may not produce knockout
Gane comes into the bout as a -155 favorite over Volkov (+125), according to DraftKings Sportsbook. While both men are accomplished strikers, they aren’t pure knockout artists like many of the top heavyweights. They both have defensive capabilities and rely just as much on precision as power. That’s why DraftKings is offering just -106 on the fight to go the distance, almost even with the -125 odds on the bout ending early.
|Ciryl Gane vs. Alexander Volkov Odds (via DraftKings Sportsbook)|
|Ciryl Gane: -155||Alexander Volkov: +125|
|Method of Victory|
|Gane by KO/TKO: +300||Volkov by KO/TKO: +325|
|Gane by Submission: +750||Volkov by Submission: +1400|
|Gane by Decision: +188||Volkov by Decision: +375|
Whoever wins, they’ll find themselves right at the top of the list when it comes to title opportunities, either immediately getting a chance at the championship or perhaps needing just one more win over the likes of a Derrick Lewis to get their shot.
“I think this is a real semifinal,” Gane told the South China Morning Post. “He had a mistake against Derrick Lewis, and so it was a little bit of a shame. But I’m undefeated and the winner of this fight is going to go ahead of the line for a title.”