UFC London: Werdum vs. Volkov – Fights to Make

UFC London delivered exactly as advertised. A Fight Pass card full of relative unknowns looking to make statements with exciting fights. Now if the…

By: Zane Simon | 6 years ago
UFC London: Werdum vs. Volkov – Fights to Make
Bloody Elbow 2.0 | Anton Tabuena

UFC London delivered exactly as advertised. A Fight Pass card full of relative unknowns looking to make statements with exciting fights. Now if the UFC could just differentiate that from FS1 and FOX and occasionally PPV cards they’d really be on to something. Alexander Volkov announced himself as a new potential title challenger. Jan Blachowicz showed that he’s more than just a gatekeeper to getting a LHW ranking. And a few top prospects experienced serious hype derailment.

To figure out exactly what all that means and what the UFC should do about it, I’ll be using the classic Sean Shelby/Joe Silva method of fight booking. That means pitting winners against winners, losers against losers, and similarly tenured talent against one another. If you’d like to take your own shot at fantasy match-making glory, leave a comment below starting with, “As soon as the hand is facing the sky, I crank that neck and cash that check.” I’ll pick one winner from the responses to join me next time.

This week’s winner is BE reader Gugaber.

Gugaber here, I’m an Australian Daytrader who has followed the sport ever since picking up UFC Undisputed for PS3 on a whim back in 2011 in the bargain bin. Strange place to start my fandom, but I’ve been hooked ever since. I’ve got 5 or so years of No-Gi BJJ experience in the books, along with some spotty striking experience and way too much experience as an armchair fighter. I’m @Gugabed on Twitter, and run one of the most consistent MMA-handicapping services on the side (24% ROI ain’t no joke).


Gugaber – An underwhelming victory over a great name, and one that should put him at the front of the line for a title shot against the winner of DC/Miocic. Sadly, this is the modern UFC, and I’ve got my suspicions that an exciting win from either Blaydes or Ngannou/Lewis could easily jump over Volkov’s claim due to the lack of highlight reel moments in his run. HW’s top 10 is pretty underbooked at the moment. Volkov/Hunt could work as a keep-busy if DC/Miocic doesn’t happen for a while, but the title shot should otherwise be his.

Zane – I hope the UFC doesn’t skip Volkov over for Blaydes or Ngannou, just because Volkov has definitely more than earned his seat at the table and his signature win here is a much bigger accomplishment than Blaydes beating Hunt. The bigger factor standing in his way, in my opinion, is the potential for a DC win over Miocic. I’m not saying it’s gonna happen, but if it does, that likely means a drawn out second fight and some potential shenanigans as DC tries to balance defending two belts (or gets stripped of one). If Miocic wins, go ahead and book Miocic vs. Volkov. If Miocic loses to DC, then book Volokov against the Blaydes/Overeem winner to determine a top contender.


Gugaber – A rather disappointing result from Werdum. The eye seemed to sap his cardio faster than fights against Tybura and Overeem did, along with his puzzling contentedness to just relax in Volkov’s guard rather than going for position and/or submission. Still, he’s clearly got something left in the tank, even if retirement should probably be coming sooner rather than later. I’d say he should take a step back from the sport for a few months, evaluate his options and then figure out how to go forward. Werdum/Blaydes (Assuming he loses to Overeem) or Werdum against the loser of Oleinik/Albini would both make sense, and be fresh match-ups in a static division.

Zane – Win or lose for Arlovski against Tuivasa (if that fight is actually happening), I’d be very interested in seeing Werdum rematch Arlovski and try to get an old UFC loss back. Plus it seems like the natural next step for Arlovski if he’s really going to keep winning fights. I’d also absolutely be up for seeing Werdum rematch Cain Velasquez, but planning on booking a fight with Velasquez just feels like a pipe dream. Werdum vs. Arlovski II is the bout that I most want right now.


Gugaber – Good performance from Blachowicz, though I’m a little surprised Manuwa did so little in the third with the fight in his reach. Blac’s the closest thing to new blood we’ve got in the LHW top 10, but I think it’d be better to line up the next challenger with a rematch for #1 contender status. Latifi/Blachowicz headlining a European UFN this September, or on the undercard for whichever card Cormier/Miocic lands on would make a lot of sense.

Zane – I guess that Latifi rematch makes sense, but Latifi is one of the only other new faces at the top of the light heavyweight division. And if Blachowicz beats him again, I don’t really feel like fans are going to have gotten the best use out of both men in a very rare position. I’d like to see Blachowicz fight Volkan Oezdemir, especially given how hard Jan is to KO, but Oezdemir might be fighting Glover Teixeira at UFC 224. I’d also be surprisingly interested in Blachowicz vs. Shogun, but booking Shogun is like booking Cain. Great when it happens, but nobody should plan on it. Instead, I’ll say book Blachowicz against OSP. If he can stay hard to KO, he should be able to beat a wildly inconsistent talent like OSP. If he can’t take it, then it’s a readjustment to what we already thought we knew about Blachowicz as a non-contender. I’d also be totally fine with Blachowicz as an introduction fight to LHW for Luke Rockhold if the UFC can’t book Rockhold vs. Gustafsson.


Gugaber – Well. That’s Manuwa’s ceiling defined. His UFC Career’s been a little odd, between his first winning streak being made of 4 consecutive doctor stoppages, and his wins mainly coming over the chinnier end of the division. It’s probably time for him to take a step back and have some fun action fights, which means that Manuwa/Rua would make a lot of sense. Rockhold/Manuwa for Rockhold’s 205 debut could also make a lot of sense.

Zane – Manuwa really is in a weird spot. A top shelf action fighter who just doesn’t quite seem like he can take the action side of fighting anymore. Still dangerous but extremely in danger at the same time. I’d be pretty fascinated to see what he could do with Misha Cirkunov. Cirkunov has had his own problems with durability, but was looking good on the feet before getting subbed by Glover Teixeira. That won’t be a danger against Manuwa and his own grapple-wrestling game should come into play for him. If not that, then yeah try and book that Shogun bout once Shogun is healed for the Battle of Aging Action Stars.


Gugaber – A decent win, but not something that you’d expect from a guy that’s hyped up to the degree that Duquesnoy was coming into the UFC. I had it for him 29-28, but Ware was clearly given to him as a highlight reel victim. A little bit confusing from the UFC, since Ware went to war with O’Malley and there are easier wins around at BW. Uh…. Soukhamthath? Put him on the O’Malley trajectory? Iuri Alcantara could also be a fun match-up between Iuri’s power and Duquesnoy’s striking technique.

Zane – There are still very clearly fights that Duquesnoy will win in the UFC. He’s an interesting, creative, technical talent. But, his Octagon career so far has shown more gaps than strengths. As pointed out, Ware was very much the sacrificial win here, and it was a questionable win. Physicality has been a problem for the ‘Fire Kid’ and that’s not a problem he can easily sort, especially since gassing has been a problem too and that’s something more muscle or a bigger weight cut likely wouldn’t help. I’d say he should get a fight with Manny Bermudez. Bermudez’s wunderkind grappling style makes him hyper dangerous, but it’s otherwise a fight Duquesnoy should take over. Operative being “should.”


Gugaber – A fairly workman performance from Edwards. Can’t see the Till call-out working out for him, since I don’t think the UFC’d give Till a grinder at this point in his career. I’d be surprised if Edwards broke through into the top 10 at WW at this point, but there’s a logical match to make when it comes to testing those credentials. Donald Cerrone’s always down for a fight, and Edwards-Cerrone’d be a winnable contest for both men. Fights with Neil Magny and Dong Hyun Kim’d also make a lot of sense in providing that top 10 gatekeeper bout.

Zane – I don’t like falling to Neil Magny as a first choice for most things. But I think he’d be the right choice here. An experienced, diverse, rangy fighter at the top of the division that Edwards matches up really well with, but who could absolutely just be too scrappy and capable for him to handle. The Cerrone fight isn’t a bad idea too, but I’m pretty much down to see Cerrone fight anyone. So the rare good Magny matchup feels like an opportunity to pounce on. See if Edwards can out-wrestle more fighters on his way up the ranks, or if he ends up having to rely on his powerful, but low paced kickboxing instead. Leon Edwards vs. Neil Magny.


Gugaber – A close, but fair decision win. I don’t think he’s putting enough emphasis on his wins to catapult up the rankings, but LW’s a deep division. Give him another LW journeyman, and see if either can start stacking up the wins. Alan Patrick would be an interesting fight, between Patrick’s physical dominance and Johnson’s superior technical striking. See if either can put a stamp on their victory and start picking up the momentum to breach that next level.

Zane – Johnson does feel like just the right kind of fighter to get the bouts no one else wants. An experienced vet who works a slow counter game, but can take the fight anywhere if needed. Plus he’s someone not afraid to speak truth to power, which is a good way to get stuck with tough fights in the UFC. To that end, Alan Patrick is a dude people definitely don’t want to fight, as is Leonardo Santos, or Islam Makhachev. Of all those, I gotta agree, the Patrick fight makes the most sense.


Gugaber – Great Upset finish by Henry. He seems to have found a ‘niche’ as spoiler for fun striking prospects, but nobody could call that performance boring. Dawodu came in with serious perceptions of his potential as a prospect, but Henry might have snatched that momentum. Mid-level FW’s pretty deep with fun action talents. How about a third fight with an exciting stand-up talent? Guan Wang would be a fun main card match-up for an Asia card later this year.

Zane – I gotta think Henry would do extremely unkind things to Guan Wang in front of a home crowd. He’s just too tough, willing to throw, and able to be opportunistic for a powerful-but-limited talent like Wang. I’d love to see Henry against someone like Ryan Hall, or maybe Arnold Allen if he can get his visa sorted. But eventually, I really like a fight between Henry and Brandon Davis. Davis isn’t great at handling guys who can move well out at range, but Henry is just the kind of in-close brawler to play into Davis’ extremely high output striking style. Add in that Davis is just well rounded and scrappy enough to make Henry really work for opportunities and you’ve got the recipe for a 15-minute all-action war.

OTHER BOUTS: Ware vs. Zahabi, Sobotta vs. Jingliang, Byrd vs. Marquez, Phillips vs. Wilkinson, Roberts vs. Griffin, Enkamp vs. Touahri, Dawodu vs. Peterson, Craig vs. Oleksiejczuk, Ankalaev vs. Prachnio, Ray vs. White, Sosnovskiy vs. Golm, Godbeer vs. Asker

Share this story

About the author
Zane Simon
Zane Simon

Zane Simon is a senior editor, writer, and podcaster for Bloody Elbow. He has worked with the website since 2013, taking on a wide variety of roles. A lifelong combat sports fan, Zane has trained off & on in both boxing and Muay Thai. He currently hosts the long-running MMA Vivisection podcast, which he took over from Nate Wilcox & Dallas Winston in 2015, as well as the 6th Round podcast, started in 2014. Zane is also responsible for developing and maintaining the ‘List of current UFC fighters’ on Bloody Elbow, a resource he originally developed for Wikipedia in 2010.

More from the author

Bloody Elbow Podcast
Related Stories