Alexander Volkov and Jairzinho Rozenstruik are both planning to focus on their own strengths – and the other’s weaknesses – when they meet in the main event of UFC Fight Night 207 on Saturday.
Volkov enters the fight as a -160 favorite over Rozenstruik (+140), according to DraftKings Sportsbook.
Two men in search of a big win
Both Rozenstruik and Volkov have come within range of fighting for a title, but neither has actually competed for the heavyweight championship in UFC. Each man has lost two of his last three fights and is coming off a loss. In other words, while these are two well-known names in the division, they both could use a win to remain relevant.
Volkov (34-10) last fought in March, taking a loss via submission to Tom Aspinall. That’s just the latest chapter in an up-and-down run in the UFC for the Russian, who has lost four of his past eight bouts.
Still, Volkov presents a challenge for all but the very best in the heavyweight division. While he doesn’t bring the standard overwhelming knockout power most in the weight class possess, he has proven rangy, technical, and tough to finish.
Volkov says he’ll be relying on his skills to make the difference against the powerful Rozenstruik.
“My opponent is pretty dangerous. He has a lot of power in his hands,” Volkov told reporters. “I believe I’m good on standup, too, so I will try to show my best in this fight. I believe my technical skills are much better than his. Maybe I don’t have some kind of power in my punch, but for sure I’m more technical and for sure I have a lot of power in my kicks. For sure, I feel I have much better wrestling and grappling than him, so I’m feeling it’s a good fight for me.”
Rozenstruik: Volkov won’t strike with me
Meanwhile, Rozenstruik (12-3) has lost three of his past five fights after starting his MMA career with 10 straight wins. Those losses haven’t been bad ones. Francis Ngannou knocked him out in 20 seconds back in 2020, and he has lost decisions to Ciryl Gane and, most recently, to Curtis Blaydes. Those are all respectable defeats, though they might suggest a ceiling for the Surinamese heavyweight.
Rozenstruik could get back on the path towards a title shot with a win over Volkov. He believes there’s a clear path to victory for each of them, and doesn’t buy Volkov’s talk of going toe-to-toe.
“I don’t think he’s going to stand and strike with me,” Rozenstruik told reporters. “I think he’s going to try to take me down, and we’ll see from there…He’s got a lot more reach, but it is what it is. I go in there and bring the problem.”
Since Rozenstruik plans to keep the fight standing, he has a goal in mind for how the bout should finish.
“A win by any means necessary,” Rozenstruik said. “But a knockout is what we’re going for.”