Alexander Volkov expects a title shot if victorious against Sergei Pavlovich at UFC Saudi Arabia

PFL made inroads into the Middle East MMA market with their PFL versus Bellator: Champs PPV in February. It did not take long for the UFC, the premier MMA promotion, to announce their debut in the KSA with Khamzat Chimaev versus Robert Whittaker, Alexander Volkov versus Sergei Pavlovich, and a handful of other remarkable fights.

Alexander Volkov recently had an exclusive interview on Match TV preluding his matchup with Pavlovich. Volkov clarified that he has no qualms about fighting a fellow Russian even though they have trained together.

Moreover, as Pavlovich is a former interim title challenger and ranked 3rd at heavyweight, he expects a title shot as he said, “If the bottom line is, then yes,” when asked about it.

When Dana White announced the fight, rumors circulated that the two wouldn’t fight as they were training partners. However, Volkov clarified that the last time they sparred was in 2022 before Pavlovich reeled off impressive knockouts to earn a shot at the interim heavyweight title. Moreover, they don’t have a relationship outside the training sessions and therefore have no qualms about fighting each other.

Nonetheless, Volkov mentioned in the interview that Pavlovich got the better of him every time they sparred. He also revealed that he has plans to counter the power punching style of Pavlovich. The heavyweight matchup would certainly shake the heavyweight division which has remained stagnant since Jones’ injury and Tom Aspinall’s interim title win.

State of the UFC heavyweight division

Jon Jones, the former long-reigning light heavyweight champion, is the undisputed heavyweight champion of the UFC. However, he has not fought since he won the title from Ciryl Gane at UFC 285 as he suffered a gruesome injury weeks before his scheduled fight with Stipe Miocic for UFC 295.

Due to Jones’ injury, the UFC orchestrated an interim title fight which Tom Aspinall won via first-round knockout of Sergei Pavlovich. Nevertheless, the UFC plans to make Jones versus Miocic whenever the former returns from injury. This has left the division in a state where Aspinall might have to defend his interim heavyweight title.

In the top 10 rankings of the division, only the sixth-ranked Alexander Volkov is on a winning streak, currently at 3 victories. Ciryl Gane, Curtis Blaydes, and Marcin Tybura won their last fights. Meanwhile, all the others in the top 10—Stipe Miocic, Sergei Pavlovich, Jailton Almeida, Serghei Spivach, and Tai Tuivasa—have lost their most recent fights.

Alex Pereira, the UFC’s light heavyweight champion, recently defended his title at UFC 300 and called for a heavyweight fight at UFC 301 in Brazil. Alexander Volkov can get the next crack at the title if victorious at UFC Saudi Arabia, but Pereira might get a title shot even before that due to his star power.

Do you think Alexander Volkov will win at UFC Saudi Arabia? Leave your prediction below!


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