UFC 293: Tuivasa v Volkov

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Heavyweight strikers Alexander Volkov vs. Sergei Pavlovich will collide this weekend (Sat., June 22, 2024) at UFC Saudi Arabia inside Kingdom Arena in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Recent teammates will throw down here, but there’s actually no bad blood. Instead, this showdown between Volkov and Pavlovich was simply announced before it was signed, and then the pressure to compete was on. We’ll see how and if that specific wrinkle affects the fight, but the match up itself makes sense.

Pavlovich enters the contest having most recently lot his interim title match up versus Tom Aspinall. Prior to that knockout loss (watch highlights), he was destroying opponents left and right. Meanwhile, Volkov has won three in a row via stoppage, earning an opportunity to fight back into the title mix.

Let’s take a closer look at the betting odds and strategic keys for each athlete:

UFC 295: Pavlovich v Aspinall

Volkov Vs. Pavlovich Betting Odds

  • Alexander Volkov victory: +195
  • Alexander Volkov via TKO/KO/DQ: +350
  • Alexander Volkov via submission: +1400
  • Alexander Volkov via decision: +650
  • Sergei Pavlovich victory: -238
  • Sergei Pavlovich via TKO/KO/DQ: -145
  • Sergei Pavlovich via submission: -1600
  • Sergei Pavlovich via decision: -600
  • Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook
UFC 293: Tuivasa v Volkov

How Volkov Wins

Volkov is one of Heavyweight’s better kickboxers. A long-range striker with a background in multiple styles of Karate, Volkov likes to pick opponents apart with stabbing front kicks before moving in to end the fight with his hands. He’s not known as a massive hitter relative to his peers, but 28 victories via stoppage is nothing to scoff at.

In this bout, Volkov has to be (reasonably) aggressive. He’s not going to keep Pavlovich off him by hanging on his back foot, kicking, and circling off from exchanges. Pavlovich is too big, mean, and powerful for that, and the actual end result will be that Volkov gets clipped while trying to lean away from an exchange.

Like it or not, Volkov’s best odds involve braving the fire. He doesn’t want to brawl with Pavlovich — a terrible idea by any measure — but Volkov cannot be timid. He has to throw his own hard, threatening punches down the middle and force Pavlovich’s respect. If he can stand his ground a bit and earn Pavlovich’s respect, his combination and kicking advantages should come into play.

Volkov has only been knocked out twice in 47 Heavyweight fights. He has to trust in his own durability and power, even in the face of a bruiser like Pavlovich.

UFC 295 Ceremonial Weigh-in

How Pavlovich Wins

Pavlovich is a tank. The Russian boxer doesn’t have a particularly deep game that we’ve ever seen, but he can whip shockingly powerful punches at his opponent in quick succession. He also has a Greco-Roman wrestling background, which hasn’t come into play in several years now.

Pressuring the rangy kicker is pretty much always the best bet, even if Pavlovich didn’t have the cheat code that is an 84 inch reach. An immediate bull rush could work but isn’t necessary, not when Volkov is historically a bit slow on his feet. Lesser strikers like Marcin Tybura have managed to close the distance and crack him on occasion, but Pavlovich hits much, much harder.

In short, a bit of tactical pressure and ring craft likely score Pavlovich the pocket, which is exactly where he wants to be. When he explodes from the pocket, opponents rarely get back up.

UFC Fight Night: Pavlovich v Blaydes

Volkov Vs. Pavlovich Prediction

It’s hard to back Volkov when “Drago” himself admitted that sparring sessions with Pavlovich rarely went well.

Now, Volkov has a chance. He hits plenty hard and is tough as nails. Pavlovich is not a defensive mastermind or particularly durable slugger. If Volkov cracks him with a right down the middle or trips him to the floor, the veteran could produce a sudden finish himself.

The simplest outcome seems most likely though: Pavlovich unloads an ungodly powerful combination in Volkov’s general direction, something lands, and Volkov hits the floor within the first couple minutes.

Prediction: Pavlovich via knockout (-145)


Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Saudi Arabia fight card right here, starting with the ESPN/ESPN+ “Prelims” matches, which are scheduled to begin at 12 p.m. ET, then the remaining main card balance (on ABC/ESPN+) at 3 p.m. ET.

To check out the latest and greatest UFC Saudi Arabia: “Whittaker vs. Aliskerov” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.

Staff
Author: Staff

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