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When you look at the last two main events in a row that we hit, the thought process was similar. There is a reason that I conduct my process alone and without outside influence. The masses picked against Israel Adesanya because he lost in the light heavyweight division, and they were under the impression that a middleweight can’t accomplish what a natural light heavyweight was able to accomplish. Well, they were wrong.
Last week many people were on Dan Ige because Korean Zombie had a few rough showings, and Zombie was labeled as washed. Well, they were wrong. One of the biggest issues is the public swaying, and I won’t be a part of it. I would rather be wrong on my own merit than have other sources swaying me off my process. I don’t live on assumptions, especially when it comes to my money and my subscribers’ money.
Fighters are humans, they don’t always perform at optimum levels. They have bad days, weeks, months, and years. Do not assume anything in this game. The minute you do, you will be behind the eight-ball. This does not always mean you will be right, but we stuck the last two main events when most missed both because I didn’t assume one fighter could do what another fighter did, and that another fighter was washed. So let’s see if we can make it three straight main events this week.
This is a very intriguing matchup to me, because I believe that Ciryl Gane has upside and potential in this division. We also know that Alexander Volkov has fought everyone, and although he has lost some big fights, he has also shined in some very big fights.
This fight can really clear a nice path for one of these men to have a clear look at a shot at the strap soon. Time isn’t on Volkov’s side at the present time. He has been fighting for quite some time and has some mileage on him, unlike Gane.
I believe that this fight is a little more important for Volkov. Taking a step back in a loss is just draining more time off his career’s clock, whereas Gane will fight to see another day and still have time to right the wrongs. In any event, this is a crucial fight for the landscape of both fighters’ careers.
Gane is a specimen from a physicality perspective. However, it really doesn’t stop there. The guy is a very good athlete and is showing slowly but surely that he can do it on the ground and on the feet. Coming from a kickboxing background with a 7-0 record with five KOs, Gane has moved over to MMA where he holds an 8-0 record with three KOS and three Submissions.
With a man as big as Gane, you tend to worry about his cardio, but as of now, it all checks out on paper. I say paper, because he went five rounds with Jairzinho Rozenstruik. A guy that is not putting a pace on you won’t need to really pop into another gear and tap into the depth of your gas tank. The pace is steady stated, and at that point you tend to get that second wind with a smooth transition. However, if the pace is up and down, the body has a bit of a rough time adjusting, and that is when the body will start to tire.
We haven’t seen that from Gane just yet. So assuming that he can keep up with a pace is premature. You also need to understand that he has never really faced any adversity. All of his fights have for the most part his way, so seeing him marked up on his back foot is something we have not really seen just yet.
Gane is a fast and athletic fighter with good attributes and ability to get to the spots fairly quickly with good pop and entry. He can be a threat on both levels and has markings of a high ceiling. However, if you look at his resume, the only fighter that really used good movement and speed against Gane has been Tanner Boser. Boser is a very good fighter with a high ceiling himself, but he is still green in his own right, and there is something to be said about him being a touch undersized in the division.
Rozenstruik is a very flat-footed, opportunistic, one-hitter-quitter type of fighter, Junior dos Santos is well past his prime, Don’Tale Mayes is a big heavyweight, but he is no Volkov, and Raphael Pessoa is much more of a grappler. So it is safe to say that Gane has never faced someone like Volkov before. This is the biggest and toughest test of his career. The question looms, how will he handle the adversity that Volkov will bring with his ability to use range and experience?
Now at the young age of 32, you would never have guessed that Volkov started his MMA journey in April 2009 and is a former heavyweight champion in both M-1 and Bellator. He has fought some of the best in the business and has a proven track record to be an issue for any style.
With an overall record of 33-8, he has 22 by way of KO and three by way of submission. In his eight losses, he was KO’d twice and submitted two times in his career. Volkov currently holds a 6-2 record in the UFC with his only losses coming by the hands of Curtis Blaydes and Derrick Lewis, in which he was winning the fight from pillar to post until he was caught in the closing seconds by a vintage Lewis shot that put him away.
That finish marked the first finish loss of his career since 2013. Volkov does possess a brown belt in BJJ, so he is not lost on the ground, but he uses it in much more of a defensive manner to get back to what he does best if he is grounded. Volkov is long as it is, but really understands how to use all of it.
When he feels like you are starting to break the silence of space, he will send long front kicks up the middle to keep you honest. He uses much more finesse and volume to beat his opposition, and his cardio is very good for his size. He will make you run a marathon with him while most heavyweights will look to run a race.
How I See This Shaking Out:
Gane is going to be a tough out here. He is polished past his resume. I don’t look at him as a normal 8-0 fighter. However, there are obstacles that he has yet to face. Gane has had things heavily flow in his direction for the majority of his fights. The pressure has been at his pace, the dictations have been predicated mostly on his decisions, and adversity in the cage is something that he has yet to face.
It is very easy to win under these preferable conditions, but it is another thing to be put in a situation where you need to fight to survive. He hasn’t shown me that yet. You don’t know a fighter until you see that. You can form an opinion of a fighter’s ability somewhat based on an untarnished record, but you can’t truly judge a fighter until they are put into a spot to overcome and adjust. He hasn’t seen that yet, so we have no idea how he will react, if and when his skin finally breaks and he starts showing blood, exhaustion and the signs of a dog fight.
Volkov has shown all these attributes, and even though he hasn’t won all of them, it is water that he has swam in before with some of the best. He has faced the heaviest hitters, the best grapplers and some of the best all-around fighters in the division.
I think Gane gives him hell in there, but I think Volkov is going to keep Gane honest and on the back foot. When Gane tries to clear space, Volkov has the ability to use his legs to front kick, and also his punches are thrown in a very direct manner. He doesn’t throw wild looping punches. Everything is direct and down the center. He will poke and poke until it forces you to change directions or create angles to find paths in.
Gane is very capable of doing this with his pedigree, but he will need to work for it, and that is where you wonder if Volkov will just be able to outpace him at that point. I am not willing to pick against Volkov here with all the unknown variables on Gane that I spoke of above. Show me that you can beat someone as high-level as Volkov, and then we will sit at the round table and discuss. Until then, I think Volkov edges him here.
The Pick: Volkov
- Volkov: $7500
- 100+ Points: 2 of 10
- Current Market Value: 5 of 10
- Hedge: 6
I am a little surprised at this price here. I understand that Gane is a very athletic heavyweight with boat loads of potential and upside, but has he really earned the position to be this much of a favorite over a savvy vet that seems to be hitting stride at 32?
Volkov had a very impressive showing in his last outing, and the thing that I have noticed the most is the size and power that he has acquired as of late. He seems to have gotten much more pop behind him now. Shockingly, Gane has more reach, but Volkov really understands how to use his range. If you start to close space on him, he will fire front kicks to keep you honest and gain the range game back in his favor. I think Volkov is as live as they come here
100+ Points: 2 of 5
Current Market Value: 4 of 5
There is no denying this guy’s athletic ability, ceiling and skill. He has all the markings of a very good prospect. However, has he shown us enough? Maybe he has in spots, but has he done it against very viable competition? This is the biggest test of his career, and I would pull back the reins a smidge. If you haven’t learned in the last few weeks how everyone tends to jump on the shiny new toy, I pull the trigger the other way, and both times we were correct. I’m not saying this will be the third case in a row, but I am saying to slow your role until he shows us more.
Vegas: No official play
Considerable Plays: Volkov +145 (FanDuel) | Over 2.5 -190 (Select Sports Books)