Alexander Volkov and Alistair Overeem have both been around the MMA block more than once. But they also remain relevant heavyweights, which adds intrigue to their main event clash at UFC Fight Night 184 from the Apex on Saturday.
Volkov comes in as a -196 favorite against Overeem (+164), according to FanDuel Sportsbook.
Volkov Certain of Championship Future
Both men have been champions in other promotions, and have earned solid rankings in the UFC. Saturday’s fight provides an opportunity for the winner to become a factor in the heavyweight title picture.
The No. 6 ranked Volkov (32-8) last fought in October, finishing Walt Harris just 75 seconds into the second round at UFC 254. The win threw the Russian back into the spotlight, and at 32, Volkov still has plenty of time to mold himself into a championship threat.
|UFC Fight Night 184 Odds (via FanDuel Sportsbook)|
|Alistair Overeem: +164||Alexander Volkov: -196|
|Cory Sandhagen: -420||Frankie Edgar: +330|
|Michael Johnson: -230||Clay Guida: +190|
|Alexandre Pantoja: -120||Manel Kape: +102|
|Cody Stamann: -500||Askar Askar: +385|
|Carlos Diego Ferreira: -116||Beneil Dariush: -102|
“For sure I will be champion in the future,” Volkov told MMA Junkie. “I’m feeling just that I’m getting better and better, and going for the belt. It doesn’t matter if it happens this year, the next, or in two years. I’m going for this, and I’m [giving] everything in myself to get there.”
Unlike Volkov, Overeem (47-18) fought for the UFC title before, losing to Stipe Miocic for the belt in 2016. Since then, the 40-year-old Dutchman has gone 6-3 in the Octagon, beating up on second-tier opponents, but losing to the likes of Francis Ngannou, Curtis Blaydes, and Jairzinho Rozenstruik. The Rozenstruik loss especially stung: Overeem controlled the fight for most of its five rounds before Rozenstruik knocked him out with just four seconds remaining in the bout.
Despite Reputations, Knockout Likely in Heavyweight Clash
Despite his age and his up-and-down results in recent years, Overeem has never fallen out of the ranks of UFC contenders. And while he’s moving toward the end of his career, the veteran still believes there’s a path to the heavyweight title for him.
“Absolutely,” Overeem told Yahoo Sports when asked if he thinks he’s part of the UFC heavyweight title picture. “We have now a winning streak and, if not for the Rozenstruik fluke, it would be a really long winning streak. I don’t know, though. But we have to be thankful and we have to be grateful for what we have. Things have gone well and we’re coming off a winning streak, and looking to add Volkov to the list.”
Conventional wisdom supposes that this fight could go the distance, as both Overeem and Volkov typically aim to outlast opponents rather than looking for one-punch knockouts. But, Overeem’s last seven fights have all ended in finishes, as have four of Volkov’s last six bouts. Someone will likely find a way to inflict enough damage to end the fight at some point in the later rounds, with FanDuel offering just -230 odds on the fight ending in a KO or TKO.
Also on a deep main card, Cory Sandhagen (-420) takes on Frankie Edgar (+330) in a bantamweight co-main event, while Michael Johnson (-230) battles Clay Guida (+190) in lightweight action.