UFC Fight Night: Overeem vs Volkov will be the first UFC event of 2021 to be held inside the United States after a trio of shows in Fight Island, Abu Dhabi. With COVID-19 restrictions still in place, the event will take place in a fan-free environment inside the UFC Apex, Las Vegas.
The evening is headlined by a heavyweight bout between Alistair Overeem and Alexander Volkov. Overeem is a UFC veteran and former Strikeforce champion who has won four of his last five fights. He is currently ranked as the No. 5 contender and will be facing No. 6 contender Alexander Volkov. It's now or never for the 40-year-old to have a go at gaining a title shot.
The evening's co-main event will be a bantamweight bout between former lightweight champion, Frankie Edgar and Cory 'the Sandman' Sandhagen. Sandhagen comes off a spectacular finish of Edgar's former stablemate, Marlon Moraes.
Besides this the main card also features a women's bantamweight fight between Marion Reneau and Macy Chiasson. Other scraps include a flyweight bout between Alexandre Pantoja and Manel Kape; a Cody Stamann vs Askar Askar bout at featherweight; and to start the action, Carlos Diego Ferreira and Beneil Dariush will have a go at each other lightweight.
Here we look at three fights to look forward to and two that are likely to disappoint at UFC Fight Night: Alistair Overeem vs Alexander Volkov.
3. Fight to look forward to: Alexandre Pantoja vs Manel Kape.
Manel Kape won three of his last four fights in the RIZIN promotion and will debut against the fifth-ranked flyweight in UFC, Alexandre Pantoja.
Meanwhile, Pantoja's three previous victories in the UFC have all come via first-round TKO, and he has also defeated Brandon Moreno. The latter recently fought to draw against the champion Figueiredo. It promises to be an excellent fight and could be running for 'Fight of the Night'.
2. Fight likely to disappoint: Cody Stamann vs Askar Askar.
Originally scheduled to fight Andre Ewell, Cody Stamann will face a new opponent in promotional newcomer Askar Askar come fight night. Andre Ewell pulled out of the fight after testing positive for COVID 19.
Cody Stamann, the superior wrestler, will be expected to take the fight to the ground. However, there have been concerns raised over his gas tank, and the fight could probably slow down by the third round. On the other hand, Askar Askar has KOs on his resumé, but his knockout power against a ranked fighter is still in doubt. With neither fighters being a tremendous finisher, the fight is supposed to go the distance with a decision.
2. Fight to look forward to: Carlos Diego Ferreira vs Beneil Dariush
Diego Ferreira and Beneil Dariush could steal the show when they open up the main card and put on a 'Fight of the Night' candidate. This clash is a crucial bout for the lightweights and may land the winner a fight against one of the top ten contenders.
Dariush is on a five-fight winning streak, three of which have earned him Fight of the Night bonuses. Diego Ferreira scored a submission win via rear-naked choke against Anthony 'Showtime' Pettis in his last appearance at UFC 246. This bout will also be the rematch to a 2014 contest between the two which Dariush had won.
1. Fight likely to disappoint: Frankie Edgar vs Cory Sandhagen
After losing three of his four fights at featherweight, Frankie Edgar looked good in his bantamweight debut against Pedro Munhoz. Despite being well into the back half of his career, Edgar's resilience and cardio can still keep him competitive. However, 'The Answer' won't have the fourth and fifth rounds to mount a comeback.
The slick Cory Sandhagen is coming off a huge knockout win over Marlon Moraes and is currently ranked at number 2 in the bantamweight division. He probably won't finish Frankie Edgar but is likely to pick up a decision win with a significant gap in the scorecard.
1. Fight to look forward to: Alistair Overeem vs Alexander Volkov.
Despite numerous brutal defeats, 'The Demolition Man' has continued to amaze fans with his resilience and commitment to another title run. Overeem has 47 professional victories under his belt, a majority of them coming via knockout or submission. Fresh of his impressive wins against Augusto Sakai and Walt Harris, he will look to defeat Volkov dominantly to continue his late climb to the UFC throne.
Alexander Volkov has been a heavyweight champion in Bellator and M1. At 6 ft 7in he is one of the longest and rangiest heavyweights in the UFC. Volkov will look to pick the Reem apart with a stiff jab and vicious front kicks.
With all the heavyweight power involved and this probably being Overeem's last run for the title, the main event is definitely a potential slobber-knocker.