Originally published at UFC Fight Night Report: Alexander Volkov knocks out Jairzinho Rozenstruik in the first round
UFC Fight Night Report: Alexander Volkov knocks out Jairzinho Rozenstruik in the first round
By: Eric Marcotte
On Saturday afternoon, the UFC held a Fight Night event at the Apex facility in Las Vegas, Nevada. The card featured a heavyweight bout in the main event slot, as the 7th ranked contender in the division, Alexander Volkov, fought the 8th ranked Jairzinho Rozenstruik. Both fighters had recently slipped out of title contention following losses in their previous bouts, leaving both men in need of a win here in order to remain among the heavyweight elite. In the co-main event, Movsar Evloev faced Dan Ige, in what marked Evloev’s first fight against ranked opposition. After a pair of tough losses, Ige was looking for a statement win to get back on track, but Evloev’s professional record remains unblemished for a reason and becoming the first man to defeat Evloev would be no easy task.
The commentary team for this card consisted of Jon Anik and Paul Felder. Performance of the Night bonuses were awarded to Ode Osbourne and Karine Silva. Fight of the Night bonuses went out to Lucas Almeida and Michael Trizano.
*Erin Blanchfield def. J.J. Aldrich by guillotine choke at 2:38 of Round 2
*Rinat Fakhretdinov def. Andreas Michailidis by unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26, 30-27)
*Jeff Molina def. Zhalgas Zhumagulov by split decision (30-27, 29-28, 28-29)
*Tony Gravely def. Johnny Munoz Jr. by KO at 1:08 of Round 1
*Benoit Saint Denis def. Niklas Stolze by rear-naked choke at 1:32 of Round 2
*Damon Jackson def. Dan Argueta by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
*Joe Solecki def. Alex Da Silva by majority decision (28-27, 29-27, 28-28)
*Karolina Kowalkiewicz def. Felice Herrig by rear-naked choke at 4:01 of Round 2
*Alonzo Menifield def. Askar Mozharov by TKO at 4:40 of Round 1
*Ode Osbourne def. Zarrukh Adashev by KO at 1:01 of Round 1
*Karine Silva def. Poliana Botelho by D’Arce choke at 4:55 of Round 1
*Lucas Almeida def. Michael Trizano by TKO at 0:55 of Round 3
*Movsar Evloev def. Dan Ige by unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 30-27)
*Alexander Volkov def. Jairzinho Rozenstruik by TKO at 2:12 of Round 1
ERIN BLANCHFIELD (8-1, 124.5) VS J.J. ALDRICH (11-4, 125) – FLYWEIGHT
Aldrich landed a number of straight left hands early in the bout as Blanchfield looked to close the distance. Blanchfield managed to defend a takedown attempt from Aldrich before attempting one of her own, but she too was unsuccessful. Eventually, Aldrich took Blanchfield down with a bodylock, however, Blanchfield was able to pop right back to her feet. Blanchfield connected with some decent shots throughout the final minute, but I thought that Aldrich had a slightly better opening round, and scored it in her favor.
Blanchfield was walking into a lot of Aldrich’s counter shots. Aldrich recorded another takedown, but once again Blanchfield quickly escaped to her feet. A knee from Blanchfield caught Aldrich off balance, and after knocking Aldrich to the ground, Blanchfield jumped on a guillotine. Aldrich was unable to escape the submission and was forced to submit.
WINNER: Erin Blanchfield by guillotine choke at 2:38 of Round 2
I thought Aldrich was doing some very good work throughout this bout, especially considering she was a sizeable underdog, but she was just a bit reckless getting back to her feet after that slip in the second round, and Blanchfield capitalized, locking in the fight-ending guillotine choke. Blanchfield is now 3-0 in the UFC, and she has looked largely dominant throughout those three bouts, with this fight against Aldrich really being the most adversity she’s faced to this point. In Blanchfield’s post-fight interview, she called out the winner of the upcoming Jessica Eye/Maycee Barber bout.
RINAT FAKHRETDINOV (18-1, 170.5) VS ANDREAS MICHAILIDIS (13-5, 170.5) – WELTERWEIGHT
Fakhretdinov wasted very little time in bringing Michailidis to the ground, where he attempted to take the back of his opponent. Michailidis was repeatedly warned not to grab the fence, but these warnings did not deter him, and he may have very well been in the double digits in terms of cage grabs by the halfway point of this round. With over ninety seconds remaining in the round, Michailidis broke away from Fakhretdinov, however, he slipped following a kick attempt, and the fight quickly returned to the ground. 10-9 Fakhretdinov.
Fakhretdinov immediately changed levels and took Michailidis back down to begin the second round. Fakhretdinov just smothered Michailidis from his guard, giving Michailidis no room to escape or create offense. With thirty seconds remaining in the round, Michailidis finally escaped to his feet, but there was just not enough time left to make up ground, so this was a fairly one-sided round in favor of Fakhretdinov. 20-18 Fakhretdinov.
Michailidis defended a takedown to begin round three, but he proceeded to attempt one of his own, and Fakhretdinov easily defended it before taking top position on the ground. Fakhretdinov landed some short elbows, and one of them opened up a deep cut near the right eye of Michailidis. This was yet another dominant round for Fakhretdinov. 30-26 Fakhretdinov.
WINNER: Rinat Fakhretdinov by unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26, 30-27)
Michailidis kept the fight competitive in the first round, but he was clearly tired by the mid-way point of round two, and from there on, he didn’t have many answers for the wrestling of Fakhretdinov. This was overall a very dominant performance from Fakhretdinov, and I went as far as to give him a 10-8 round in the third, as did two of the three judges. This marked Fakhretdinov’s UFC debut.
JEFF MOLINA (10-2, 125.5) VS ZHALGAS ZHUMAGULOV (14-6, 126) – FLYWEIGHT
Zhumagulov tagged Molina with a hard straight right hand in the opening minute of the bout. A fence grab from Molina kept him on his feet following a takedown attempt from Zhumagulov, however, he spent a considerable portion of the round trapped against the cage regardless. Eventually, he broke away from Zhumagulov, and the striking battle resumed, with both men swinging somewhat wildly. Molina tagged Zhumagulov with a well-timed right hand before time expired. 10-9 Zhumagulov.
Zhumagulov caught a kick from Molina early in round two, and he proceeded to drag Molina down near the cage. Zhumagulov attempted to take the back of Molina, however, he was unsuccessful, and Molina was able to return to his feet, where he caught Zhumagulov with an elbow before breaking away. A left hook from Zhumagulov tagged Molina, causing him to stumble slightly before he shot for another takedown. Molina attempted to catch Zhumagulov in a guillotine, but he couldn’t quite sink it in. Another close round. 20-18 Zhumagulov.
Both fighters landed some good shots on the feet throughout the opening minutes of the final round. Zhumagulov dug into the body, as Molina pressured forward, largely swinging at the head of his opponent. Molina defended a pair of late takedown attempts from Zhumagulov, and he caught him with a number of elbows in the process. This may have been the hardest round of the fight to score, but I gave the slight edge to Molina. 29-28 Zhumagulov.
WINNER: Jeff Molina by split decision (30-27, 29-28, 28-29)
As soon as Molina heard “30-27” he began to walk away in disappointment and was clearly (pleasantly) shocked when his name was announced instead. I scored the fight for Zhumagulov, and when I heard the 30-27 scorecard announced, I assumed Zhumagulov was getting the nod as well, but it was a very close bout, and you could hardly call this a robbery. Molina was the busier striker throughout the bout, and that’s likely what gave him the edge on the scorecards. Molina’s UFC record now stands at 3-0 following this win.
JOHNNY MUNOZ JR. (11-1, 135) VS TONY GRAVELY (22-7, 135.5) – BANTAMWEIGHT
Just over a minute into the bout, Gravely caught Munoz with a short right uppercut as he shot for a takedown, and Munoz went down hard. Gravely followed him to the ground and finished the fight with ground and pound shots.
WINNER: Tony Gravely by KO at 1:08 of Round 1
This was a great knockout win for Gravely, against a durable opponent in Johnny Munoz Jr. The amount of power that Gravely generated with such little momentum was remarkable, and the best comparison I can think of was the shot that Francis Ngannou caught Cain Velasquez with to drop him in their bout, although there may have been even less of a wind up from Gravely here. Gravely’s UFC record improved to 4-2 with this win.
NIKLAS STOLZE (12-5, 156) VS BENOIT SAINT DENIS (8-1, 1 NC, 155.5) – LIGHTWEIGHT
Stolze nearly caught Denis with a knee up the middle early, but Saint Denis just powered through it and took Stolze to the ground. He controlled Stolze against the cage for some time, but Stolze was eventually able to make it back to his feet. An accidental low blow from Stolze paused the action momentarily, and when the fight resumed, Saint Denis immediately ran across the octagon to take Stolze back down. Saint Denis took the back of Stolze, where he began to hunt for a rear-naked choke. He did not find the submission, but this was a strong end to the round for Saint Denis.
Stolze attempted to catch Saint Denis with a guillotine choke as Saint Denis shot in with his first takedown attempt of the round, and he did come close, but ultimately Saint Denis was able to escape the submission and complete his takedown, where he took the back of Stolze once more. This time he was able to lock in the rear-naked choke quickly, and Stolze was forced to submit.
WINNER: Benoit Saint Denis by rear-naked choke at 1:32 of Round 2
Saint Denis was relentless with his forward pressure, and while Stolze did his best to counter strongly, Saint Denis was ultimately able to power through and take him down in both rounds. Once the fight was on the ground, Saint Denis clearly had a significant advantage, and he was able to capitalize on that, easily taking the back of his opponent in both rounds, which eventually led to the finish. Saint Denis is now 1-1 in the UFC, while Stolze fell to 0-3 in the promotion with this loss.
DAMON JACKSON (20-4-1, 1 NC, 145.5) VS DAN ARGUETA (8-0, 145.5) – FEATHERWEIGHT
Jackson powered Argueta to the ground roughly twenty seconds into the bout. Jackson worked from the back of Argueta, where he locked in a body triangle, limiting Argueta’s movement. Jackson was hunting for a rear-naked choke, but he was unable to find it, and Argueta managed to turn into top position right before time expired. 10-9 Jackson.
Jackson took Argueta right back to the ground to begin the second round, where he quickly took the back of Argueta and locked in another body triangle. He attempted to flatten Argueta out, and while he was unsuccessful, Jackson managed to land a series of brutal elbows in the process. In the final minute of the round, Argueta created some separation, escaped to his feet, and started hunting for a takedown of his own. Jackson looked tired by the end of the round, but this was likely another five minutes in his favor. 20-18 Jackson.
The fighters traded strikes on the feet to begin the final round, which resulted in Argueta tagging Jackson with a shot that knocked him down. Jackson quickly returned to his feet, but he looked exhausted, and he was getting tagged repeatedly. That being said, Jackson was still throwing back shots of his own, and Argueta got cracked by a few big shots as well, which is likely what prompted him to shoot for a takedown. Jackson reversed the attempt and began to work from top position, where he kept the fight for the remainder of the round. 29-28 Jackson.
WINNER: Damon Jackson by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Jackson was a massive favorite according to the oddsmakers going into this fight, likely due to his size advantage over Argueta. While the odds were surprising, the fight played out as expected throughout the first two rounds, with Jackson dominating Argueta from his back on the ground, threatening submissions. However, the momentum shifted in the third round, as Jackson was gassed, and Argueta attempted to mount a late comeback on the feet. In the end, Jackson was able to take the fight back to his comfort zone and make it to the end of the round, but there was certainly a great deal of drama throughout the final five minutes of this one. Jackson is now 4-1 in the UFC following this win.
JOE SOLECKI (11-3, 155.5) VS ALEX DA SILVA (21-3, 155.5) – LIGHTWEIGHT
Da Silva dropped Solecki in the first thirty seconds with a left hook, and Da Silva followed him to the ground, where he proceeded to work from the guard of Solecki. Solecki seemed to have recovered, and he attempted to work from his back, however, Da Silva was generally a step ahead, staying out of danger while maintaining top position. Eventually, Solecki threw up a guillotine that forced Da Silva to adjust his position, but Da Silva was able to ride out the remainder of the round in top position regardless. 10-9 Da Silva.
Solecki immediately shot for a takedown in round two, which resulted in him taking the back of Da Silva near the cage. Solecki was working for a rear-naked choke, and Da Silva had his toes in the cage constantly, while grabbing at Solecki’s gloves as well. Da Silva remained in this position until the end of the round, fighting off rear-naked choke attempts, and after the final bell sounded, a point was deducted from Da Silva for his numerous infractions throughout the round. 19-18 Solecki.
After the point deduction, there was a solid chance that Da Silva was in need of a finish if he wanted to win this bout, and he did his best to secure that, tagging Solecki with some solid shots on the feet throughout the first half of the final round. Da Silva landed a strong left hand before taking Solecki down, and he proceeded to throw down a pair of hard elbows from the guard of Solecki. He allowed Solecki back to his feet with a minute remaining in the bout, where they traded strikes until time expired. 28-28.
WINNER: Joe Solecki by majority decision (28-27, 29-27, 28-28)
With the point deduction taken into account, as well as the legitimate possibility of a 10-8 round being awarded in round two, I was not surprised to see that the scorecards were all over the place here. That being said, one of the official scorecards had the fight 29-27 in favor of Solecki, which means that one judge scored either round one or round three for Solecki, which in my opinion, is a very questionable decision. Regardless, Solecki had his arm raised in the end, and that’s entirely due to his fantastic performance in the second round. His UFC record now stands at 4-1, with that single loss coming by split decision.
FELICE HERRIG (14-9, 115) VS KAROLINA KOWALKIEWICZ (12-7, 115.5) – STRAWWEIGHT
This was a rematch of a bout from UFC 223 in April of 2018, a fight that Kowalkiewicz won by split decision.
Kowalkiewicz repeatedly found a home for her right hand early, catching Herrig on her way in. Kowalkiewicz took Herrig down at one point, but Herrig had no difficulties in returning to her feet. The fighters began to brawl as the round progressed, and it was tough to say who was landing the better shots. Kowalkiewicz did land some very solid shots in the clinch, including a knee to the head before she attempted to climb the back of Herrig against the cage. While Kowalkiewicz was unable to take Herrig’s back, she threw a pair of vicious elbows that found their target right before they separated.
Herrig tagged Kowalkiewicz with a number of left hooks to begin the second round. Herrig attempted to trip Kowalkiewicz to the ground, but Kowalkiewicz reversed it and quickly locked in a rear-naked choke. Herrig was in a very rough spot here, but she was able to hold on, and Kowalkiewicz gave up on the submission, instead of improving her position on Herrig’s back. Kowalkiewicz eventually reapplied the choke, and this time it was locked in properly, forcing Herrig to submit.
WINNER: Karolina Kowalkiewicz by rear-naked choke at 4:01 of Round 2
Both of these fighters were in desperate need of a win going into this bout, with Kowalkiewicz on a five-fight streak of losses dating back to 2018, and with Herrig on a three-fight string of losses, dating back to 2017. Ultimately, it was Kowalkiewicz who snapped her streak here, with honestly one of the most impressive performances of her entire run in the UFC. She looked sharp and aggressive on the feet, and this was perhaps the best that Kowalkiewicz’s grappling has ever looked. This marked Kowalkiewicz’s first stoppage victory since 2014, and her third career victory by submission. After the bout, Herrig left her gloves in the octagon and announced her retirement from mixed martial arts. If this was indeed her final bout, Herrig will retire with a professional record of 14-10.
ALONZO MENIFIELD (11-3, 205) VS ASKAR MOZHAROV (19-12, 204.5) – LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT
Menifield immediately cracked Mozharov with a big shot to start the fight, and he proceeded to take Mozharov down near the cage. Menifield controlled him on the ground for the vast majority of the round, and even when Mozharov eventually made it back to his feet, Menifield was able to take him right back down. Eventually, Menifield trapped Mozharov in the crucifix position, and he just threw down brutal elbows until the fight was stopped.
WINNER: Alonzo Menifield by TKO at 4:40 of Round 1
I could not quite hear what was said between the fighters after the bout, but there was clearly tension between Menifield and Mozharov as they awaited the official decision, and the fighters had to be separated. Menifield mentioned the strange controversy surrounding Askar Mozharov’s professional record, which involved Mozharov’s record changing drastically throughout the past month, as it was revealed that his team did their best to strike many losses from his record while adding victories from fictitious events. Various controversies aside, this was a very strong performance from Menifield, who absolutely dominated Mozharov on his way to the first-round stoppage. Menifield’s UFC record now stands at 5-3.
ODE OSBOURNE (10-4, 1 NC, 126) VS ZARRUKH ADASHEV (4-3, 125.5) – STRAWWEIGHT
In the opening minute of the fight, Osbourne caught Adashev with a lead right hand that dropped him hard, and Osbourne immediately capitalized, knocking Adashev unconscious with ground and pound strikes.
WINNER: Ode Osbourne by KO at 1:01 of Round 1
This was a brutal knockout, and thankfully, Adashev was back on his feet before the result was announced. Osbourne is definitely a heavy hitter for 125lbs, which isn’t surprising considering he’s a fighter with multiple finishes up at featherweight. While he looked solid in his last flyweight bout, this was certainly a performance that will generate more buzz for him, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Osbourne finds himself ranked after one more win in the division. In his post-fight interview, Osbourne called out Jeff Molina.
KARINE SILVA (14-4, 125) VS POLIANA BOTELHO (8-4, 125.5) – FLYWEIGHT
Silva was very active with kicks throughout the opening round. Botelho managed to avoid the vast majority of them, however, she was not terribly active offensively. Eventually, Silva cracked Botelho with a big overhand right, before taking Botelho to the ground. Silva proceeded to lock in a D’Arce choke, and Botelho quickly tapped out.
WINNER: Karine Silva by D’Arce choke at 4:55 of Round 1
Karine Silva had secured finishes in each of her professional victories going into this bout, and she kept that streak alive in her UFC debut, finishing Poliana Botelho in the first round here. Silva was very active throughout the fight, constantly throwing kicks to the legs and body, before finally catching Botelho with that big overhand that directly led to the finish. This was certainly an impressive promotional debut for Silva, and she very well may be a flyweight to keep an eye on in the future.
MICHAEL TRIZANO (9-2, 145.5) VS LUCAS ALMEIDA (13-1, 145.5) – FEATHERWEIGHT
The pace of the first round was fairly slow. Almeida was a bit busier on the feet, and he did a good job of defending Trizano’s takedown attempts. At one point he threw this beautiful combination of punches that he ended with a leg kick, and that was probably the most significant sequence of the round to that point. In the final minute, Trizano rocked Almeida badly with a left hook and grazed him with a knee that sent Almeida down. Trizano decided to engage him on the ground until the conclusion of the round, which may have been a mistake as he likely could have finished the fight if he forced Almeida to stand.
Almeida was bleeding from the knee that landed in the prior round. He took his time throughout the first couple minutes of round two, but eventually, Almeida went on the attack, dropping Trizano with a counter hook. Almeida followed Trizano to the ground and began to work from his guard with over two minutes remaining. The fighters accidentally clashed heads on the ground, and this opened up a brutal cut on Trizano, that was painting the canvas red. Eventually, the doctor was brought in to check on Trizano, but it was determined that he could continue.
The fighters traded heavy shots early in the third round, and Almeida eventually threw this huge looping left hand, that landed so hard that Trizano practically spun to the ground. Much like the previous round, Almeida followed Trizano to the ground, but this time, he was able to finish the fight, landing countless ground and pound blows until the fight was stopped.
WINNER: Lucas Almeida by TKO at 0:55 of Round 3
This was an excellent fight. Trizano was so close to finishing it in the first round, but Almeida came back swinging in round two, recording a big knockdown of his own, before finally finishing the fight in the third round. The final knockdown looked like something out of a movie, and this was really a spectacular way for Almeida to make his UFC debut. Almeida has notably secured stoppages in each of his professional victories.
DAN IGE (15-5, 145.5) VS MOVSAR EVLOEV (15-0, 146) – FEATHERWEIGHT
Ige pressured forward with a strong combination to begin the fight. Evloev was getting caught by some decent shots whenever he looked to close the distance, and Ige was giving him problems whenever he dug into the body as well. A jumping knee from Evloev hurt Ige, but Ige quickly recovered. With roughly ninety seconds remaining in the round, Evloev took Ige to the ground, and while Ige quickly got back to his feet, Evloev was able to rack up a considerable amount of control time as he continued to pursue takedowns. 10-9 Evloev.
Evloev was issued a warning for outstretched fingers in the opening minute of round two. Evloev attempted another jumping knee at one point, which partially landed. Ige was still landing some good shots, but it felt as though Evloev was beginning to pull ahead on the feet, and Ige’s bloodied face was showing the effects. Late in the round, Evloev got the fight back to the ground, and he landed some strong elbows from top position before time expired. 20-18 Evloev.
Evloev quickly took Ige back to the ground in the final round. While Ige did his best to escape, he was unable to shake Evloev off of him, and the vast majority of this round was spent on the ground. This was a dominant round for Evloev, and while I didn’t see this as a 10-8 round, the case could certainly be made. 30-27 Evloev.
WINNER: Movsar Evloev by unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 30-27)
Dan Ige marked Evloev’s greatest test to date, and Evloev passed with flying colors. This was not an uncompetitive fight, but Evloev was clearly a step or two ahead of Ige, and he really began to pull away with the bout by the final round. Evloev has dominated the vast majority of his opponents to this point, and after beating Ige, he will likely be ranked in the top ten of the featherweight division when the rankings are updated. In his post-fight interview, Evloev called out Arnold Allen, which would be a great fight to make, and could possibly put the winner in line for a title shot as well.
ALEXANDER VOLKOV (34-10, 256.5) VS JAIRZINHO ROZENSTRUIK (12-3, 259) – HEAVYWEIGHT
The fighters traded leg kicks throughout the opening minute of the bout. They began to trade punches wildly soon after, where Volkov landed a huge right hand that rocked Rozenstruik. Volkov gave Rozenstruik no room to recover, and just swarmed him with strikes against the cage until Rozenstruik started to go down, prompting referee Herb Dean to stop the fight.
WINNER: Alexander Volkov by TKO at 2:12 of Round 1
Rozenstruik was clearly prepared to brawl with Volkov, but unfortunately for him, Volkov quickly capitalized on the chaos, stopping Rozenstruik in just over two minutes here. Paul Felder was critical of the stoppage on commentary, but I honestly had no problems with it, and I think Herb Dean saved Rozenstruik from a lot of unnecessary damage by stopping the fight when he did. This was a very important win for Volkov, as a loss would have brought him down to 1-3 throughout his last four bouts, but as it stands, he will retain his position in the rankings, and perhaps even get a higher-ranked opponent coming out of this, as he looks to climb his way back to contendership status in the division. Volkov’s overall UFC record now stands at 9-4.