UFC Vegas 18 – Overeem vs. Volkov: Main Card Staff Picks

Cory Sandhagen UFC Vegas 18 weigh-in
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - FEBRUARY 05: Cory Sandhagen poses on the scale during the UFC weigh-in at UFC APEX on February 05, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

After a week off, the Octagon returns with UFC Vegas 18, headlined by big heavyweight matchup between Alistair Overeem and Alexander Volkov. Cageside Press has its picks set.

Staff Writer
Ferreira vs. Dariush
Pantoja vs. Kape
Sandhagen vs. Edgar
Overeem vs. Volkov
Dan Doherty (9-6)
Shawn Bitter (6-5)
Mike McClory (8-7)
Jay Anderson (7-8)
Dylan Bowker (7-8)
Gabriel Gonzalez (7-8)
Doug Murray (7-8)
Ryan Fortune (7-8)
Justin Gibbons (6-9)
Josh Evanoff (6-9)
Heath Harshman (6-9)
Jason Payne (5-10)
Eddie Law (5-10)
Joe McDonagh (5-10)

The main event of UFC Vegas 18 features two heavyweights on the brink of the top five with fifth-ranked Alistair Overeem facing sixth-ranked Alexander Volkov. Overeem has been on a roll lately, knocking out four of his last five opponents, with the one-loss being a miraculous last second KO against Jairzinho Rozenstruik. Volkov is 2-2 in his last four, stopping Walt Harris in his last bout. Overeem was slightly favored, receiving eight of 14 picks.

The co-main event is an important bantamweight scrap between Frankie Edgar and Cory Sandhagen. Sandhagen bounced back from his loss to Aljamain Sterling in a massive way most recently, knocking out Marlon Moraes in spectacular fashion. Edgar ended a two-fight losing streak with a controversial decision victory over Pedro Munhoz. Sandhagen was slightly favored with eight of 14 picks.

The anticipated UFC debut of RIZIN veteran Manel Kape takes place at UFC Vegas 18 against Alexandre Pantoja. Kape has knocked out his last three opponents, winning RIZIN’s bantamweight belt most recently. Pantoja entered the UFC in 2017 and has carved out a nice career with a 6-3 record. He’s looking to bounce back from losing two of his last three fights. All but one writer picked Kape.

Opening up the UFC Vegas 18 main card is a fantastic lightweight matchup between Carlos Diego Ferreira and Beneil Dariush. They fought once before in 2014 with Dariush taking home a decision. Both men have been exceptional since then. Ferreira enters the fight on a six-fight win streak with three stoppages while Dariush has won five in a row and stopped his last four opponents. Dariush was picked by 11 of 14 writers.

Cody Stamann vs. Askar Askar was removed from the card on the day of the fight.