Ciryl Gane and Alexander Volkov topped the UFC Vegas 30 card, and what a win would bring the victor in terms of spoils remained to be seen.
Heavyweight being what is is, the division is always in need of contenders. With Jon Jones at a loggerhead with the promotion regarding a move up in weight, Derrick Lewis had been promised the next title shot. Past that, there was a potential trilogy fight for Francis Ngannou with Stipe Miocic, but the feeling seemed to be that Miocic needed a win first.
That put the winner of Gane vs. Volkov on the short list of contenders alongside the likes of Jairzinho Rozenstruik, who Gane already held a win over.
Early on, Volkov used his length well, firing off a jab and a kick at range. And given Volkov’s frame, that range was impressive. Gane fired back a few kicks that were more probing, but his jab did hit home, as did a kick to the body. Gane later fired a kick around the guard of Volkov, showing some nifty precision. He’d then shoot for a takedown, but Volkov stuffed it. The pair finished the round trading kicks kicks, with Gane adding a combination.
Round two opened with a similar measured approach from both fighters. The kicks continued. Volkov fired one upstairs that fell short. Gane was keeping Volkov on the outide, back to the fence, more than the Russian should have allowed. The jab was also landing for Gane, rather impressive as the shorter man. When Gane snapped a kick upstairs, Volkov was quick to block it. The round played out in similar fashion, with only an eye poke interrupting thing. But the smaller man was fighting at his chosen range, which was going to cause issues for “Drago.”
In the third, Gane found a home for his left hand early. As the round progressed, he got a little more active, opening up and closing the distance with his strikes. Volkov’s jab was soo bloodied. He was being backed up to the fence, and his lead leg was showing three rounds of accumulated damage. Gane kept up on the low kicks, and while Volkov was returning them, as with everything else, Gane was the more effective fighter.
🤯 @Ciryl_Gane making his presence known in RD 3!
— UFC (@ufc) June 26, 2021
Heading into the fourth round, Volkov had adjustments to make. But again, the towering heavyweight spent too much time with his back to the fence. Volkov would hit an uppercut in the fourth, and as the round progressed, actually started to get the edge on Gane. There was an argument to be made that he won it, but Gane battled back again in the end.
Volkov in no uncertain terms needed to win the fifth round. Arguably, depending on scoring, he may have needed a finish. But instead, he was on the backfoot once again to start the frame. Gane’s pressure was too much, his speed allowing him to throw three strikes, and see only one, maybe two in return. Volkov continued to fire off the odd jab, but it just wasn’t enough to turn the tide. Then, late in the round, Gane landed an eye poke that stopped the action. Volkov was wincing, and the doctor came in. After a minute or two, the bout resumed, no point deducted despite a warning to Gane earlier in the bout. They’d go the distance, with Gane taking all five rounds on two of three scorecards.
Official Result: Ciryl Gane def. Alexander Volkov by unanimous decision (50-45, 50-45, 49-46)