As the UFC return for their fourth UFC Fight Island event of October, heavy hitters Alexander Volkov and Walt Harris collide in a highly anticipated heavyweight clash. Who will return to the win column?
Alexander ‘Drago’ Volkov steps into the octagon just 4 months after conceding defeat in the main event slot at the UFC Apex to Curtis “Razor” Blaydes. It proved to be a tough 25 minutes for the Russian as he was dragged down onto the canvas a staggering 14 times. As Blaydes cardio wore out as they progressed into the championship rounds, it allowed Volkov to claw back two rounds on the judge’s scorecards.
However, it was all too little too late as the early Blaydes onslaught convinced the judges to score it a unanimous decision loss against Volkov. The Russian native is a former Bellator and M-1 heavyweight champion. With a professional record of 31-8, Volkov can certainly class himself as a fight veteran. Over his 4-year UFC stint, he has racked up wins against UFC legend Roy Nelson, former UFC heavyweight champion Fabricio Werdum and Holland’s Stefan Struve.
In this fight against Walt Harris, at 6’7, I expect to see Volkov looking to use his significant reach advantage to move in and out of the pocket while landing accurate strikes. Volkov will be looking for a standing battle due to 65% of his 31 professional wins coming via KO/TKO.
Harris’ last venture to the octagon was his big return since the tragic murder of his stepdaughter Aniah Blanchard. Blanchard was reported missing on October 24th, 2019. After 2 months of searching, they found her body, and her death was ruled a murder.
He fought UFC veteran and future Hall of Famer, Alistair Overeem. Despite knocking Overeem down in the first round and landing some vicious ground and pound, Overeem turned the fight on its head with a head kick which dropped ‘The Big Ticket’. After a dominant few minutes on the ground, the referee saw enough unanswered strikes to call the bout off.
Harris indicated his obvious disappointment in his post-fight interview with Paul Felder but promised to come back stronger in his next fight. He will look to use the motivation of his stepdaughter to drive him towards success.
After being released by the UFC in 2014, Harris returned in 2016 to face Sao Palelei but lost via a second-round TKO. In his stretched out 6-year UFC career, Walt has 6 wins which include a 12 second first-round knockout over UFC veteran and submission specialist, Aleksei Oleinik.
In this fight, I expect to see the 10th ranked heavyweight meet Volkov in the middle of the octagon and throw haymakers. Out of his 13 professional wins, they have all come from knockouts. On Saturday night, I expect his success rate to remain at the maximum.
Although Volkov is the better puncher, the better kicker, and the smarter fighter, I do believe that he will be clipped by a big strike from Harris. ‘The big-ticket’ is one of the most dangerous heavyweights on the planet and can knock anyone out with a lightning-fast pace. If Volkov fails to evade one heavy strike, it could very well be goodnight for the Russian native.
If this fight goes past the first round and early stages of the second round, Volkov has a better fight IQ which means he can start to take over the fight and cruise home. However, due to the emotion and the disappointment of his last bout, I have Walt Harris to take this fight by KO/TKO.
Fight Prediction: Walt Harris via KO/TKO