Former UFC heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos was expected to battle Russia’s Alexander Volkov in the main event of the upcoming UFC Moscow card, scheduled for Nov 9. According to ESPN, however, a bout of cellulitis has forced dos Santos out of this contest, leaving the UFC to search frantically for a replacement opponent for Volkov. The good news is that the UFC already has one option in terms of a new opponent for the Russian: Francis Ngannou.
Ngannou threw his name in the hat on Twitter shortly after news of dos Santos’ withdrawal from the card surfaced.
“UFC Moscow in 18 days?” – Francis Ngannou on Twitter.
Francis Ngannou is currently riding three impressive, first-round knockout victories over Curtis Blaydes and a pair of former champs in dos Santos and Cain Velasquez. At this stage, he’s probably earned himself a shot at the UFC heavyweight title currently owned by Stipe Miocic, yet with Miocic expected to rematch Daniel Cormier in the New Year, he will either have to wait or take another fight.
It seems like he’s leaning toward the option.
Ngannou has already fought for the heavyweight title once, losing a decision to Miocic in early 2018. That being said, his recent wins have reasserted him as one of the division’s top dogs.
The former Bellator heavyweight champ Volkov, on the other hand, has not fought since UFC 229 in October, 2018, when he suffered a last-second knockout at the hands of Derrick Lewis. Prior to this loss, the Moscow native was on a six-fight streak, highlighted by victories over Stefan Struve, Roy Nelson and former champ Fabricio Werdum.
Would you be interested in seeing Alexander Volkov take on Francis Ngannou on short notice in Moscow? Who do you think would win this fight? Make your prediction in the comments section.
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 10/22/2019.