UFC Vegas 18 was a big night for Alexander Volkov and Cory Sandhagen.
Volkov picked up a flawless second-round TKO victory in the main event by picking apart Alistair Overeem. When the fight was over Volkov was walking around with his hands raised as Overeem was left battered on the canvas.
Meanwhile, Sandhagen is now likely next in the line for the winner of the UFC 259 bantamweight title fight between Petr Yan and Aljamain Sterling. Sandhagen landed a perfect flying knee that knocked Frankie Edgar out cold in just 28 seconds. It was the second fastest flying knee knockout in UFC history behind Jorge Masvidal’s five second win over Ben Askren.
Now that the event is over, let’s find out what’s next on this Matchmaker Monday.
Result: defeated Alistair Overeem by second-round TKO at UFC Vegas 18
Next: Derrick Lewis
The heavyweight division has some moving pieces. There’s the UFC 260 title fight between Stipe Miocic and Francis Ngannou with the winner most likely advancing to fight Jon Jones. Also this month the UFC has two big time heavyweight fights between Curtis Blaydes and Lewis and Jairzinho Rozenstruik and Ciryl Gane.
There’s plenty of opportunities for Volkov out there and in order to figure out his exact next move, we’ll have to see what happens at the end of this month. However, if Lewis win on Feb. 20, then go ahead and book him and Volkov.
The reason why is because Volkov was cruising to an easy win over Lewis back in 2018 before Lewis knocked out Volkov in the final seconds of the fight. The win got Lewis a title fight against Daniel Cormier a few weeks later. It could have easily been Volkov getting the title fight, but it was spoiled in the final seconds. I’m sure that loss still bothers Volkov to this day and he’d really like to run it back.
Result: lost to Alexander Volkov by second TKO at UFC Vegas 18
Next: Shamil Abdurakhimov
Overeem was hoping to make another run at the UFC heavyweight title. That run just got longer.
While there is no shame in losing to Volkov, I don’t see Overeem getting a top five fighter after that performance. Not to mention that he now has losses to Miocic, Ngannou, Blaydes, and Rozenstruik.
Maybe if Lewis loses you can make a case for those two to fight, but I’m booking Lewis against Volkov which would leave Overeem in limbo.
If Overeem wants to keep fighting, then I think you book him with Abdurakhimov. It makes sense from a rankings stand point and a victory would put the winner in position for a possible top five matchup.
Result: defeated Frankie Edgar by first-round KO at UFC Vegas 18
Next: winner of Petr Yan and Aljamain Sterling
This breakdown is pretty simple.
Sandhagen came into the UFC in 2018 and he’s posted a 7-1 record in the promotion. The lone loss was to Sterling at UFC 250 in June. Since then he’s rebounded with back-to-back highlight reel knockout wins over former title challenger Marlon Moraes and the former UFC lightweight champion in Edgar.
There’s really no other option for Sandhagen. T.J. Dillashaw is going to insert his name into the mix somewhere so look for him to throw a wrench into things, but for the time being you cannot deny Sandhagen. Maybe him and Dillashaw will fight in a title elimination fight, but I imagine that will take some convincing.