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UFC Vegas 30 Main Event Preview: Alexander Volkov vs Ciryl Gane

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This Saturday night, the UFC Vegas 30 main event features a clash between two of the elite strikers in the heavyweight division: Alexander ‘Drago’ Volkov and Ciryl ‘Bon Gamin’ Gane. You can watch UFC Vegas 30 on ESPN+. If you are outside of America, check your local listings. The card features 13 bouts, with both the headliner and co-headliner featuring heavyweight bouts.

Alexander Volkov (ranked 5th in the heavyweight division) and Ciryl Gane (ranked 3rd in the heavyweight division) will fight a maximum of five, five-minute rounds, as is standard with all UFC main events and title fights. UFC Vegas 30 takes place inside the UFC’s own Apex facility in Las Vegas. The main card is set to begin at 7:00 PM PST.

The Fighters

The two fighters featured in the UFC Vegas 30 main event are technical yet devastating strikers, bringing power, precision and finesse not often seen in the heavyweight division.

While stats can’t tell the whole story of a fight, they can often give glimpses into how a fight could play out. Russia’s Alexander Volkov stands at a towering 6-feet 7-inches and boasts an impressive 80 inch reach. France’s Ciryl Gane stands at 6-feet 4-inches, with an equally impressive 81 inch reach. 

While being a newer addition to the UFC’s heavyweight division, Cyril Gane stands undefeated with 8 wins and a 5 fight win streak inside the UFC. Gane also holds a notable win over UFC veteran and former heavyweight champion Junior Dos Santos.

Alexander Volkov has been in the UFC since 2016 and has fought 9 times within the company. Compared to Gane, Volkov is an MMA veteran, previously holding heavyweight championship belts in Bellator and M-1. He holds an extensive 33-8 record. Some of his notable victories are over veterans Alistair Overeem, Fabricio Werdum, and Roy Nelson. 

Styles Make Fights: Analysis and Prediction for UFC Vegas 30 Main Event 

The stylistic matchup between Volkov and Gane is a striker’s delight. Both fighters tend to lean towards their striking prowess to achieve in the octagon. As such, Saturday night will likely feature a clash between two different styles of elite striking. 

Alexander Volkov generally likes to use his reach and length to keep opponents on the end of his snapping low kicks and straight punches. This is especially effective in the heavyweight division, where strikers sometimes tend to lean more on their size and power to bully their opponents. Of course, this isn’t always the case, as can be seen with Francis Ngannou’s patient victory against Stipe Miocic at UFC 260. Even in his loss against title challenger Derrick Lewis, Volkov was able to stay disciplined and work on the outside of Lewis’s reach before being caught.

Volkov will likely look to do the same against Gane at UFC Vegas 30. This will be no simple task for ‘Drago,’ however, as Ciryl Gane boasts some of the most technical striking in the division as well.

Similar to how Volkov likes to work on the outside with his striking, Gane likes to use his superior footwork, feints, and speed to outmatch his opponents both at range and in the pocket. ‘Bon Gamin’ recently displayed his striking prowess against Jairzinho Rozenstruik. The fight was by no means a barn-burner, but was instead an effort in patience from Gane, using masterful feints and distance management to win a lopsided decision. Both Gane and Volkov often utilize the clinch to their advantage as well.

The path to victory for each fighter is a different one, albeit one within the realm of striking should neither fighter attempt wrestling or takedowns. 

Should Ciryl Gane use his feints and movement effectively, he would do best to get inside the range of Volkov early and often before becoming susceptible to his straight shots and leg kicks. If Gane can initiate clinch engagements with Volkov, and strike within the pocket, he may be able to achieve a similar end result result to Derrick Lewis at UFC 229

Conversely, if we see Volkov maintaining his distance and dictating where the fight takes place, he can use his vicious leg kicks to take away the movement of Gane – one of his best attributes. Once the bouncier, in-and-out footwork of Gane is taken away, Volkov will likely be able to pick his shots and showcase his experience throughout the fight. Ultimately, if Volkov is able to utilize his kicking game, he should be able to win a decision.

Final Prediction: Volkov by Unanimous Decision

Implications in the Heavyweight Division

Regardless of the UFC Vegas 30 Main Event winner, the fight will have great implications on the heavyweight division. These implications could mean catapulting the winner into a title shot after the winner of the likely second bout between Lewis and Ngannou, or a potential money fight with a newly rebuilt, heavyweight Jon Jones

The surging newcomer Ciryl Gane poses interesting challenges to the champion, as does the veteran Volkov. UFC Vegas 30’s main event will undoubtedly be an interesting clash of strikers, both poised to make waves within the UFC’s heavyweight division. 

Whether you appreciate MMA as a whole, striking in MMA, or the UFC’s heavyweight division, this fight is bound to entertain. Both participants in UFC Vegas 30’s main event are technicians, and some of the best in the heavyweight division – you should not miss this fight.


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