The main card of UFC Fight Night 115 is set to be a climactic and dramatic one, with Stefan Struve fighting on his own turf in Rotterdam against a relative newcomer in Alexander Volkov. Although Struve’s last outing in Rotterdam resulted in an effortless fifteen-second knockout win over Antonio Silva, he is the underdog against Volkov. With the Russian holding a record of just 2-0 in the UFC, his standing as the favorite to win has provoked widespread debate ahead of September’s clash.

For Struve, fighting with a home backing may provide him with a psychological fillip. While there can be no denying that 2016 was a good year Struve, who also won via submission over Daniel Omielanczuk, his pomp was cut short by injury. This may take the edge of his conditioning ahead of Fight Night 115. Even the best experts at the bitcoin-exclusive Blog would find it difficult to call a winner with much confidence When a match is this difficult to predict, the conditioning of a fighter can prove decisive. Furthermore, nobody can ignore Volkov’s red-hot recent form:

It is clear to see that the past two years have been a huge test of character for Volkov, but with four straight wins after a brace of Bellator defeats, he has escaped what could have become a terminally career-damaging string of losses. After winning his UFC debut, Volkov’s confidence will be further boosted by the dominant nature of his most recent win, which came by way of unanimous decision over Roy Nelson.

Debuting eight years ago, on 19 April 2009 in St Petersburg, Volkov made short work of debut opponent Nikolay Pleshakov. In the penultimate fight of 17 on the night, a brutal flurry of punches midway through the first round saw the Fight Night 115 headliner make a real statement of intent. Six weeks later, again at an M-1 Challenge event, he made even shorter work of Adam Alikhanov, taking just 20 seconds of the first round to force a stoppage through punches.

Then of Bellator, this was one of Volkov’s most brutal knockouts in living memory.

Volkov’s first reality check was not far away. His third outing ended in defeat via submission to Akhmed Sultanov, but he recovered admirably to rack up five straight wins. The latter two of these took Volkov to the final bout of the 2009 Eastern Europe Tournament in his hometown of Moscow. Again, his vulnerability to a more experienced submission expert was his undoing, and a first-round rear-naked choke hold saw what could have been his first piece of silverware elude him in favour of Maxim Grishin.

Two more wins and one more defeat took Volkov’s record to 9-3 in December 2010, but for nearly three years he would do nothing but win. In October 2012, Volkov made the step up to the Bellator brand and won three fights on the spin over the space of two months. Now that he has been released by Bellator, Volkov is more determined than ever to make a fresh impact in MMA.

The bookmakers have made the right call in determining that Volkov is the favorite, but it will be an extremely difficult fight for the Russian. Patience, and perseverance, will be his primary key to victory.

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