ByDan Shapiro, writer at
Senior Editor, Champions
Dan Shapiro

Former Bellator heavyweight champion was successful in his UFC debut, taking a split decision over Octagon veteran at Fight Night Belfast.

Taking two judges’ scorecards 29-28, Volkov won not a single round on the third ballot. But the back-and-forth battle was full of offense, as Volkov used his significant reach advantage to tag up the American, while Johnson completely floored the Russian in the first and nearly had the stoppage..

Volkov has long been an intriguing heavyweight prospect because of his length and kicking attack. And his rangy and lanky frame presented a challenge for Johnson and the wrestling game.

“I wasn’t nervous when I heard it was a split decision, I was sure of myself. It was a great fight with a great opponent and he did a lot in the fight. Basically, I feel a split decision was a good decision because he did a lot too, but I won,” offered Volkov. “Being asked about my height is my favorite question, it’s the one I get asked the most and I get to tell people that it’s fun to be this tall. I want to fight someone in the top-10 next. I’d like , he’s the same height as me and we will put on a good fight for the fans.”

In defeat, Johnson falls to 2-2 inside the Octagon. He owns victories over headliner, Shamil Abdurakhimov, who takes on on October 9, and Marcin Tybura.


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