Top UFC heavyweights Ciryl Gane and Alexander Volkov are set to headline the UFC Fight Night event on June 26. The news was first broken by Brett Okamoto of ESPN, but the UFC is yet to make the bout official.
Ciryl Gane and Alexander Volkov are among the younger crop in the UFC's heavyweight division. Both fighters are coming off high-profile wins in their last outings.
No. 4 ranked Ciryl Gane (8-1 MMA, 4-0 UFC) is an undefeated Frenchman and a former teammate of UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou. His last fight was a unanimous decision win over No. 6 ranked Jairzinho Rosenstruik in the main event of UFC Vegas 20.
Gane is known for sleek Muay Thai skills and formidable grappling, with six out of his eight professional wins coming by way of a finish. The fight against Rozenstruik was his first UFC main event.
No. 5 ranked Alexander Volkov (33-8 MMA, 7-2 UFC) is a towering Russian who, in his last fight, defeated Alistair Overeem by a second-round knockout in the headliner of UFC Vegas 18.
Volkov has previously lost crucial fights against Derrick Lewis and Curtis Blaydes. However, his most recent performances against Walt Harris and Overeem have been appreciated by the MMA community.
The winner of Ciryl Gane vs. Alexander Volkov can fight for the UFC heavyweight title
Following their wins over Curtis Blaydes and Jairzinho Rozenstruik respectively, the fight between Derrick Lewis and Ciryl Gane made the most sense from a rankings perspective. But Jon Jones's recent fallout with the UFC over pay has left champion Francis Ngannou without an opponent.
The UFC's decision to keep Derrick Lewis out of the picture hints at a potential rematch between Ngannou and Lewis if agreeable terms do not arrive with Jones. Everything suggests that Francis Ngannou will most likely fight Derrick Lewis or Jon Jones for his next title defense.
Former champion Stipe Miocic and No. 3 ranked Curtis Blaydes are coming off dominant knockout losses in their last fights. The winner of Ciryl Gane vs. Alexander Volkov will have a strong claim for a shot at UFC gold after the next title fight.