Looking for a betting alternative to the second round of the NCAA Tournament on Saturday? I give you UFC Fight Night featuring Fabricio Werdum and Alexander Volkov in an interesting but non-title heavyweight bout from the O2 Arena in London. The main card starts at 5 p.m. ET on UFC Fight Pass. Here’s a look at the two main bouts and their UFC odds.
UFC Fight Night 127 Betting Preview & Predictions
Fabricio Werdum (23-7) vs. Alexander Volkov (29-6)
Werdum, ranked the No. 3 heavyweight, is a -195 favorite with Volkov, ranked No. 8, at +165. The over/under is 2.5 rounds, with the over a slight favorite. Werdum could get a title shot here against the winner of light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier and heavyweight champ Stipe Miocic in their super-fight at UFC 227 in July. Cormier is moving up in weight.
Werdum has established himself as one of the greatest heavyweights of all-time, having successfully competed in the UFC, Strikeforce and Pride Fighting Championships. The 40-year-old Werdum is a former UFC heavyweight king, losing the title to Miocic at UFC 198 in May 2016. He bounced back with a win over Travis Browne, then lost a majority decision to Alistair Overeem at UFC 213 in July 2017. He returned and submitted short-notice opponent Walt Harris at UFC 216, then headlined UFC Fight Night 121 in Sydney in November and beat Marcin Tybura by decision.
How Well Is Werdum Looking Like for this Fight?
Werdum is the second-oldest active fighter in UFC heavyweight division behind Mark Hunt (43). Werdum is 9-2 since he returned to the UFC for a second stint in February 2012. Werdum’s five submission victories in UFC/Strikeforce heavyweight competition are tied for second most in combined divisional history behind fellow ex-champ Frank Mir (eight). Werdum’s 23-7 record includes 11 wins by submission and six by knockout or technical knockout. He won five of his first 10 fights by submission. Werdum’s brilliance as a grappler places in him the Top 10 among active UFC heavyweights in takedowns landed (nine), takedown accuracy (23.7) and submission attempts (four).
Volkov, 29, looks to remain perfect in the UFC after kicking off his Octagon run with wins over Timothy Johnson at UFC Fight Night 99, Roy Nelson at UFC on FOX 24 and Stefan Struve at last September’s UFC Fight Night 115 by third-round TKO. The Russian boasts a five-fight winning streak overall, a run that includes a pair of victories under the M-1 Challenge banner.
Volkov is a former Bellator heavyweight champion. He has earned 22 of his 29 career victories by stoppage. Volkov, a kickboxer, comes from a traditional martial arts background in kyokushin and tsu shin gen, styles of karate that emphasize more on the sparring and sporting aspects. A diverse striker who is effective coming forward and off of the counter, Volkov keeps an accurate right hand at the ready and can also be sharp from a southpaw stance.
Jan Blachowicz (21-7) vs. Jimi Manuwa (17-3)
Manuwa is a -210 favorite for this light heavyweight bout with Blachowicz at +175 and the over/under at 2.5 rounds with the over a slight favorite. It’s a rematch between these two. When Manuwa first took on Blachowicz back at UFC Krakow in Poland in 2015, he won by unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27), as Blachowicz failed to get the Brit to the ground as he so desired. It was nevertheless a clear-cut win for Manuwa.
At the time of their first fight, Blachowicz was riding a six-fight winning streak that included a knockout of Ilir Latifi in his UFC debut. Manuwa was coming off the first loss of his pro career against Alexander Gustafsson.
It’s the only victory on Manuwa’s record which hasn’t come by way of knockout, with all 16 other wins ending before the scheduled distance. After that previous fight, Manuwa revealed he was suffering with injury having torn his MCL and ACL during pre-fight training.
“I don’t think the injury affected me — not as far as I think anyway,” Manuwa said. “I think it was more his fighting style which is what made the fight frustrating for me. He was going backwards all the time he didn’t want to engage so I found myself chasing him all the time. I think that will be the case this time but I think this time he will go for a lot more take downs.”
How Well Ranked is Manuwa?
Manuwa, ranked fourth in the division, has earned all but one of his career victories by stoppage. He’s finished 11 of those wins in Round 1. Manuwa is the only fighter in UFC history to earn two consecutive victories by stoppage at the 5:00 mark of a round. Manuwa has suffered all three of his career losses by knockout.
The loss to Manuwa began a rough 1-4 stretch for Blachowicz, a two-year run that had some questioning whether the Polish standout could make it to the top of the light heavyweight division in the UFC. But after a close majority decision loss to Patrick Cummins last April, Blachowicz pulled off wins over Devin Clark and Jared Cannonier.
Blachowicz’s two-fight UFC winning streak in light-heavyweight competition is tied for the third longest active streak in the division behind Mauricio Rua (five) and Jordan Johnson (three). Blachowicz, ranked 11th among light heavyweights, is one of two light heavyweights in UFC history to earn a knockout stemming from a body kick. He did it against Latifi at UFC Fight Night 53