Ladies and gentlemen, we are making our predictions for a HUGE event this weekend! On Saturday, UFC 293 is live from Sydney, Australia, and is main-evented by a mammoth middleweight matchup between Israel Adesanya and Sean Strickland for the undisputed UFC middleweight title. Here, though, we are offering our prediction for the co-main event of this card; a huge heavyweight showdown between home hero Tai “Bam Bam” Tuivasa and Alexander Volkov. Read on below to find our breakdown and prediction for this fight!
Tai “Bam Bam” Tuivasa: On A Losing Skid
Oh, how quickly fortunes can turn.
Tai Tuivasa has made a career of defying the predictions of his critics. In fact, even up until this year, Tuivasa's recent run of form has been pretty outstanding, running high on a five fight win streak as recently as this year. However, following a dominant win over Derrick Lewis in February of this year, things started going south.
Now, to be fair, Tai has only lost to two of the biggest rising stars in the heavyweight division, that being Ciryl Gane and Sergei Pavlovich. Given how good both of those fighters are, there is no shame whatsoever in losing to them. However, both losses have been emphatic, violent stoppages. Ciryl Gane beat the brakes off Tuivasa when they met in the main event of UFC Paris last year, whilst Pavlovich only needed 54 seconds to dismantle Tuivasa in December of 2022. Safe to say, Tuivasa will be looking to put both losses firmly behind him on Saturday.
Alexander Volkov: “Drago” Building Momentum
On the direct opposite side of the momentum spectrum lies Alexander Volkov.
Unlike Tuivasa, who is currently on a run of two losses, Volkov has picked up two very impressive wins. Following his loss to Tom Aspinall at the beginning of 2022 (UFC London in March), Volkov has picked up dominant finishes over Jairzinho Rozenstruik in June of 2022, as well as an equally dominant win over Alexandr Romanov in March of this year.
Despite being in the away corner for this fight, Alexander Volkov will be very confident (and rightfully so) of continuing his impressive winning streak. A scalp with as big a name as Tai Tuivasa would do wonders for Volkov's resurgence in this heavyweight division, but he will be equally aware of how big a task awaits him in Sydney on Saturday night.
Tai Tuivasa: Path to Victory – Bar Room Brawl
If Tai Tuivasa wants to end his night with a shoey, he has to start it with his trademark bar-room brawl, swang-and-bang style.
Realistically, Alexander Volkov is a significantly more polished striker than Tai Tuivasa is. He also suffers from a 5″ height disadvantage, as well as a 5″ reach gap. Not a great start when you're fighting someone as physically massive as Alexander Volkov is. However, Tai is capable of turning this negative into a big positive. If he can draw Alexander Volkov into a rock-em-sock-em fist fight, then the momentum dramatically pendulums in Tuivasa's favour.
You might be wondering – how on Earth does a brawl actively favour one fighter over there other? Well, there's two reasons. Firstly, Tai Tuivasa loves brawling, and he also happens to be very good at it. Just ask Derrick Lewis and Augusto Sakai how that worked out for them. Secondly, Tai has unbelievably heavy hands, some of the heaviest in the entire division. I am confident in offering you the prediction that if he is able to directly detonate on Volkov's chin, he could well turn the lights out (to the delight of Sydney).
Alexander Volkov: Path to Victory – Manage Distance and Range
Alexander Volkov's path to victory in this fight is pretty easy to offer prediction on – because it is the exact opposite of Tai Tuivasa's.
As mentioned above, Volkov enjoys a 5″ height and 5″ reach advantage. What's also relevant to mention here is that Volkov has shown himself to be a much more cerebral and methodical fighter, and that doesn't spell good news for his opponents. His two wins have come from a very different approach, and one that is a nightmare to fighters like Tai Tuivasa.
My prediction for Alexander Volkov is that if he is able to use that solid jab to keep Tuivasa at bay, and then mix in those phenomenal combination shots, then Tai Tuivasa could be in real trouble. If Volkov can put all of this together, then he could be a true stylistic nightmare for Tai Tuivasa in this fight.
Official Prediction: Volkov to Continue The Run
Perhaps not a very popular prediction, but I think that Alexander Volkov gets the job done in this fight. My prediction is that Tai Tuivasa has to hope that Volkov can be drawn into a firefight. However, I don't think that this new version of Alexander Volkov will be. Tuivasa will have a nightmare getting to grips with the reach discrepancy, and I think it might be too much for him to deal with. My prediction is that Alexander Volkov upsets Australia with a third round TKO.
Official prediction – Alexander Volkov to win via third round TKO.