UFC FIGHT NIGHT 115: Monsey’s preview and prediction of the Struve-Volkov main event

BY RICK MONSEY, MMATorch Contributor

The UFC comes to Rotterdam, Netherlands for Fight Night 115 on Saturday. The event is being aired exclusively on UFC Fight Pass with the main card starting at 3PM/12PM (ET/PT). The main event is a battle between heavyweights Alexander Volkov and Stefan Struve. The co-main event has Siyar Bahadurzada going up against Rob Wilkinson in the middleweight division.

The four-fight main card also includes Marion Reneau vs. Talita Bernardo in a women’s bantamweight bout, and in the welterweight division Leon Edwards is going against Bryan Barberena.

The early prelims will have eight fights airing on Fight Pass beginning at 11:30AM/8:30AM (ET/PT).


Main Event

Alexander Volkov (28-6) vs. Stefan Struve (32-8) – Heavyweight 265 lbs.

Stefan Struve’s nickname, “Skyscraper” is well earned. Standing at 7 feet tall Struve usually towers over his opponents. Not this time. With Alexander “Drago” Volkov standing in at an imposing 6 foot 7 this is truly a battle of heavyweight giants.

In 2016 Struve put together some impressive wins. In fact, the last time the UFC hosted an event in the Netherlands, Struve knocked out Antônio Silva with a series of vicious elbows in sixteen seconds. Struve followed that victory up by scoring a second round submission over Daniel Omielańczuk. Now, Struve will need to use any hometown advantage he can muster against his new formidable opponent Alexander Volkov.

Volkov is a former Bellator heavyweight champion. Since coming into the UFC he has had two hard fought victories. His first win in the UFC was against Timothy Johnson.  During that fight, in the first round Volkov got into serious trouble after being hit hard by Johnson’s right uppercut. Volkov was able to recover and grind out the split decision.  His next fight against Roy Nelson was a decision win as well but this time it was unanimous.

I’ve been going back and forth as to who will win this fight. A couple days ago I picked Volkov. But after re-watching Struve’s last couple of fights I’m becoming a believer.  Can the “Skyscraper” pull this victory off?

Volkov has had eighteen victories by knockout and three by submission. However, none of those have been in the UFC, yet.  But a positive for him is that for a taller fighter Volkov does use his reach well. Maybe even better then Struve.

Probably the most concerning thing about Struve is his chin; it’s been obliterated multiple times. In fact, after Struve’s knockout loss to Alistair Overeem some were questioning if it was safe for him to continue fighting. He’s only 29, but he’s been through some battles.  When examining Struve’s record closely it seems that he strings together a couple of wins here and there. In his losses, everything seems to be going fine but then Struve gets punched and punched and punched.  When Struve gets knocked out, like at the hands of Travis Brown or Mark Hunt, it is a spectacular, yet sad sight.

Struve’s only recent loss that didn’t involve him getting knocked out was at the hands of Jared Rosholt. Rosholt grinded that victory out and the more I write the more I think Volkov will do the same. Volkov has great takedown defense and likes to throw punches in bunches. Volkov doesn’t need to reach very far to touch that chin of Struve’s, but if nothing else he’ll grind out another decision victory.

Pick: Volkov by Decision

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