Las Vegas, NV — Russian heavyweight Alexander Volkov returned to the win column on Saturday, though not without a little bit of controversy.
Referee Herb Deen was trending on social media following the fight, mainly due to what some saw as an early stoppage in Volkov’s fight against Jair Rozenstruik. Following the TKO win, Volkov gave his side of the story to media outlets including Cageside Press, but noted that at the end of the day, it’s not him who makes the call.
“I was ready to throw him down and continue my work. Anyway he was in a bad position; referee stopped this fight, but he was in a little bit [of a] bad position, and he took some of my hard punches. He was a little bit knocked out,” observed Volkov (35-10), adding with a laugh that “it’s not my fault, ask about this [with] the referee, not me. I’m just doing my job.”
The replay showed Rozenstruik dropping to a knee while covering up, absorbing some heavy shots. It’s clear he wasn’t intelligently defending, but he immediately protested the stoppage, leading some to question whether he should have been given a chance to continue. Regardless, Volkov gets the win, in a fight that had many including Rozenstruik himself questioning whether the Russian would even engage in a stand-up battle.
Volkov, however, suggested that he’d had similar scenarios throughout his career, with many opponents not willing to stand and trade with him.
“In my whole [career], I don’t find any who can stand up with me for all the five rounds, except maybe Ciryl Gane. He was good, but it was a close fight for both of us. So anyway I believe in my striking skills and everything, and I had a good plan. I looked at his [Rozenstruik’s] fights before, and I didn’t see anything that could touch me.”
While Volkov intends to return to his native Russia following the win to spend time with family, he may be back to America soon for a longer stay. “I’m looking [for an] opportunity to make a visa work for my family. Maybe sometime, I’ll come back to the United States and will be here for a longer time. Because there’s more opportunity to fight often or something.” Volkov would add that it’s “too hard sometimes to get from Russia to any country,” no doubt a reference to the extended journey he had to make from Russia to England back in March, with much of Europe banning Russian travelers in response to the war in Ukraine.
As for what comes next, Volkov dismissed the idea of a rematch with Derrick Lewis — although he’s open to running things back with Ciryl Gane.
“I don’t look back in the past. It doesn’t matter for me, about revenge or any other fights. I’m ready for any challenge,” Volkov told Cageside Press, before adding “any revenge would be good, but maybe I want to rematch with Gane. Because this fight was close.”
“With Derrick Lewis, it’s understandable for me, because I won all the rounds and at the end, I took this punch. It was bad, it was good for him.” But despite being knocked out in the dying seconds of the fight, “I feel like this is not a big problem for me,” continued Volkov.
“For me, I like more challenges, and right now, for me, I [would like to] finish things with Gane, just because I respect him, very much for sure about his stand-up work, about everything. It’s just very interesting for me to meet him again. I’m ready for any challenge, any fighters, any time, it doesn’t matter for me. Because right now I understand that I need some more wins to get the title shot. I’m ready for any fights to get those wins. That’s it.”
Watch the full UFC Vegas 56 post-fight media appearance from Alexander Volkov above. More coverage from the event can be found below.