It was a bad night for mixed martial arts legends on Saturday at Apex in UFC Vegas 18.
Moments after Cory Sandhagen obliterated the legendary Frankie Edgar with a flying knee knockout in just 28 seconds, heavyweight Alexander Volkov went out in the main event and handily took care of another future Hall of Famer.
Volkov’s striking was at its best Saturday as he battered Alistair Overeem from the opening bell until he stopped him at 2:06 of the second round. Overeem, one of the great strikers in MMA history, never was in the fight.
He was backing away from the start and without the threat of a takedown from Overeem, Volkov was able to put his striking on display. He stalked the former K1 World Grand Prix champion from the opening moments, using a hard jab to bust through the guard and then following up with a hook.
It was the hook that ended the fight. Overeem was bleeding from his nose and mouth and was in bad shape from a series of Volkov shots. Overeem turtled and Volkov fired a chopping left hook.
Overeem went down to a knee and referee Jason Herzog had seen enough. He stopped the bout and gave Volkov the biggest win of his career. He was ranked No. 6 entering the bout, and his win over No. 5 Overeem should get him into the top five at worst.
“I feel really excited and I’m feeling this is my time to go for the belt,” Volkov said.
Champion Stipe Miocic will defend the belt next month at UFC 260 against No. 1 Francis Ngannou. No. 2 Curtis Blaydes and No. 4 Derrick Lewis are set to meet, as are No. 3 Jairzinho Rozenstruik and No. 7 Ciryl Gane.
Volkov will have to wait to see how they play out, but he set himself up for a significant fight against one of those ranked ahead of him.
Adding to the intrigue is the likelihood that former light heavyweight champion Jon Jones will fight the Miocic-Ngannou winner. Volkov, though, earned a significant bout with a brutal beating of one of the best big men ever in MMA.
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