Alexander Volkov wants a bigger piece of the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s heavyweight pie.
The onetime M-1 Global and Bellator MMA champion buried Stefan Struve with power punches in the third round of their UFC Fight Night 115 headliner on Saturday at Ahoy Rotterdam in Rotterdam, Netherlands. Volkov (29-6) drew the curtain on the towering Dutchman 3:30 into Round 3.
Struve (28-9) enjoyed some early success -- he cut the Russian beneath the left eye with a flying knee in close quarters in the first round -- but found less and less of it as the fight progressed. He carried his chin high and hands low, and Volkov capitalized. He snapped back Struve’s head with clean two- and three-punch combinations, mixed in leg kicks and kept the fight at a desired distance. In the third round, Volkov unleashed a brutal string of right uppercuts and left hooks that dropped his counterpart where he stood. He poured on the punishment with Struve seated at the base of the cage, leaving referee Marc Goddard no choice but to intervene.
Volkov has rattled off five straight wins and holds a perfect 3-0 record in the UFC.
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Bahadurzada Stops Newcomer Wilkinson
Former Shooto champion Siyar Bahadurzada cut down Rob Wilkinson with punches in the second round of their middleweight co-main event. Wilkinson (11-1), who filled in for the injured Abu Azaitar, succumbed to blows 3:10 into Round 2.
Bahadurzada (23-6-1) dictated terms of the engagement. He followed a body kick in the first round with an attempted brabo choke, denied Wilkinson’s bid for takedowns, held his own in the clinch and waited for cracks to develop in the Australian’s façade. In the second round, Bahadurzada clipped the 25-year-old with a clubbing right hand, trailed him to the mat and showed no mercy. Wilkinson briefly returned to his feet, only to be sat down with a left hook. One last punching volley forced referee Leon Roberts to act.
The 33-year-old Bahadurzada has won nine of his past 11 bouts.
Reneau Pummels Bernardo to Late Stoppage
The ageless Marion Reneau dispatched Parana Vale Tudo representative Talita de Oliveira Bernardo with punches in the third of their women’s bantamweight feature. A replacement for the injured Germaine de Randamie, Bernardo (5-1) wilted 4:54 into Round 3.
Reneau (8-3-1) waded through considerable difficulty. Bernardo scored with multiple takedowns and spent extended minutes in top position, at one point opening a cut with a well-placed elbow strike. It was not enough, and her gas tank eventually failed her. Reneau escaped to her feet midway through the third round, circled to the fatigued Brazilian’s back and made a pass at a face crank. She later settled on Bernardo’s back and uncorked punches until it was over.
The loss snapped Bernardo’s four-fight winning streak.
Edwards Downs Barberena on Points
Former British Association of Mixed Martial Arts champion Leon Edwards improved to 6-2 in the UFC with a unanimous decision over MMA Lab export Bryan Barberena in a three-round welterweight showcase. Edwards (14-3) swept the scorecards with 29-28 marks from all three judges.
Barberena (13-5) struggled to stay upright. Edwards executed takedowns in all three rounds, worked to the back on more than one occasion and appeared to be within reach of a rear-naked choke finish. Not everything went according to plan for the 26-year-old, as Barberena floored him with a sneaky left uppercut in the second round and pounced for a potential stoppage. Edwards survived the onslaught, reclaimed the momentum and avoided danger the rest of the way.
Edwards now finds himself on a four-fight winning streak.
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