Generally, being a Bellator heavyweight champ means you’re just talented and skilled enough to be able to get a UFC heavyweight fighter a cup of coffee and a bagel when everyone is backstage at a press conference. But at UFC on FOX 24, the Bellator heavyweight champ in question was Alexander Volkov, a six-and-a-half foot tall behemoth, and the UFC fighter in question was Roy Nelson, who is so old and rundown that not even homeless people want to chill with him.

He may be a little short and a lot rotund, but Nelson has always had a great “height equalizer” in his crushing overhand right. So of course he wastes no time trying to bring it into play. Volkov dodges them for the most part, which prompts the TUF winner to duck in and go for a takedown. It takes some time, but eventually Nelson gets him down, although Volkov does a great job of stifling the American’s offense. Referee Dan Miragliotta stands them up with about 30 seconds left, and Volkov throws everything from knees to elbows to punches and bangs Nelson up to regain that last ground.

Round 2 sees Nelson winging those punches, with an uppercut added to the mix. He goes for a few takedowns that are stuffed, huffs and puffs, and then clips Volkov with his overhand. Volkov is suddenly very much on the defensive and Nelson is pressing him, feeding him knuckles, but eventually the Russian recovers and tags him back. The round ends and you have to wonder if Volkov did enough to make up for that right hand that hurt him.

The final round is all about Nelson being too tired to manage another takedown, so he’s stuck playing the Russian’s game – which ultimately means Volkov spends five minutes nailing Nelson with kicks, knees and punches while Nelson tries to pull a rabbit out of his hat. Sadly, no rabbits (nor hats) are permitted in the Octagon, so…


Results: Alexander Volkov def. Roy Nelson via Unanimous Decision