3 reasons to watch UFC Vegas 18: Alistair Overeem vs. Alexander Volkov

UFC Vegas 18 features multiple fighters looking to carve out positions of power within some of the most important divisions in mixed martial arts.

UFC Vegas 18 continues the run of the UFC kicking off a 2021 slate packed with action nearly every week. This event is headlined by two heavyweights that are both looking to find a way into the title picture after multiple hurdles knocked them back time and time again. The matchup between Alistair Overeem and Alexander Volkov is intriguing for not only that reason but as a stylistic matchup as well. Beyond just those two men, there are other reasons why this card should capture the eye of hardcore mixed martial arts fans. These are three reasons why everyone should tune in on Saturday to catch the combat.

Alistair Overeem’s last run at the title

Overeem is a legend in the world of combat sports. He has done nearly everything there is for someone at his level. He is earned titles in K-1 back in 2010, taking the World Grand Prix title. He is the only man to hold the Strikeforce heavyweight title and the same stands for the DREAM heavyweight title. He is even competed in the ADCC grappling tournament, winning the European Trials back in 2005. Overeem’s combat sports roots run deep. But there is one thing he has yet to obtain, the UFC heavyweight belt. At 40-years old, he is making one final run at the belt and so far, he is running in stride with his goal.

Nearly five years ago, Overeem fought Stipe Miocic for the championship at UFC 203. In less than a round Miocic stopped Overeem, pushing him out of the title picture for a time. Overeem has not gone away entirely but struggles against some of the best that the division has too over. He is put together a 6-3 record during that time, but those three losses need to be discussed first. In two of those fights, the battles against Curtis Blaydes and Jairzinho Rozenstruik, it looked like Overeem was on his way to a decision victory, but a momentary loss of focus cost him, allowing his opponents to pounce and snatch away the victory.  Only Francis Ngannou was able to walk through Overeem in such a dominating fashion.

If Overeem is going to find a way to get into the conversations for a shot at the UFC heavyweight title, he needs to be dialed in for a tough battle on Saturday. He has the tools to do so, but his time in using them is running low.

Frankie Edgar continues to build a stunning legacy

Frankie Edgar is another name that is on the latter portions of his MMA career, at 39-years old. However, just like Overeem, he continues to find a way to remind people that he is a threat to anyone holding the title. With this move to bantamweight, Edgar cannot be counted out as this division continues to show off the depth that has not always been present.

Cory Sandhagen is not a tough out for anyone. After losing to Aljamain Sterling he made the necessary adjustments to dispatch Marlon Moraes quickly, reminding everyone that his time at 135-pounds is not over yet, either. If Edgar can pick up a victory over Sandhagen this will be the third division in which he is beaten multiple fighters that were ranked in the top ten. Even though Edgar has failed in multiple bids to be a champion across multiple weight classes, he remains in the conversation of potential title challengers. He can do the same at bantamweight if he picks up an important win over Sandhagen, further cementing himself as one of the top names to ever participate in the sport.

Will the real Michael Johnson please stand up?

Remember when Michael Johnson was talked about as the next big prospect to compete at lightweight? It has been a decade since he competed against Jonathan Brookins for the Ultimate Fighter contract. Since then, his career has been an odd mix of ups-and-downs that include notable wins against the likes of Tony Ferguson, Edson Barboza, and Dustin Poirier, while taking losses to some individuals like Paul Sass, Reza Madadi, and Stevie Ray.

Johnson is riding a three-fight losing streak heading into this bout. Even with wins over the biggest names in the division, his time in the title picture is perhaps long gone. Now, the question turns to whether Johnson, who is still within the late prime of his career at 34-years of age, will remain in the UFC. Taking another loss will not help that position, so he will have to find a way to tap into the man who was once expected to take over one of the deepest divisions in the sport.

UFC Vegas 18 takes place on Saturday, Feb. 6, 2021, live from the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, NV. Follow along with FanSided for all your live news and highlights.

Published at Tue, 02 Feb 2021 19:08:01 +0000

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