The main event this evening will pit Fabricio Werdum against Alexander Volkov, who has quietly stacked up a five-fight win streak. It’s a big test for Volkov and the next logical step in his climb to the top, meanwhile Werdum has been battling back since losing his title and will earn his third straight win if he gets passed the contender. Werdum is one of the most dangerous guys at heavyweight, but Volkov doesn’t seem too impressed.
“We have a really big team of jiu-jitsu players in Russia, it’s a very well-known team in the grappling world, it’s called Team Strela. The guys on this team are the best jiu-jitsu players and the best grapplers in the country. The team is made up of elite competitors. […] Jiu-jitsu has a really long and rich history in MMA, but compared to the past, jiu-jitsu is not as important as it used to be. Less and less people who are only good at jiu-jitsu become UFC champions.”
Ready for UFCLondon on March 17 pic.twitter.com/g1PzfQ3rxJ
— Alexander Volkov (@AlexDragoVolkov) March 15, 2018
“[Fabricio] Werdum is a really high-level jiu-jitsu player, and he’s definitely stronger than me in that area. He would win if we were just doing jiu-jitsu, but we’re not just doing jiu-jitsu. This is an MMA fight and I think it’s very difficult to submit guys who wrestle and also train in jiu-jitsu. I won’t trade submission with him, I’m going to strike with him and try to knock him out. I think it will be very difficult for him to submit me. He is really good at striking too, for sure. I can’t say he’s like those jiu-jitsu guys or wrestlers who are just good at one thing. He has really good striking and he knows how to use that skill. I just believe I’m better.” — Alexander Volkov speaking to MMA Fighting.
It may be worth noting that the only times Volkov has been submitted was twice, once back in 2009 and again in 2010. However, he hasn’t fought any fighter like Werdum. While his comments about jiu-jitsu’s place in MMA aren’t directly correlated to his fight with his fight today, it’s hard not to draw the comparison and it would be very ironic if he is submitted at UFC London.
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 3/17/2018.