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Volkov neutralizes Pavlovich for decision win

Chris Unger / UFC / Getty

Heavyweight contender Alexander Volkov pulled off the upset against Sergei Pavlovich, winning via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28) in the UFC Saudi Arabia co-main event Saturday at Kingdom Arena in Riyadh.

After the surprise victory, Volkov expressed interest in a title shot against Jon Jones.

Volkov, tied for tallest fighter in the UFC at 6-foot-7, used his height and reach advantage to pick apart Pavlovich. Volkov remained composed on the feet, controlled the distance, and landed hard punches to Pavlovich's head and kicks to his leg.

Pavlovich is one of the biggest knockout artists in the division but struggled to pull the trigger at times. He entered a second round for the first time since 2017, which predates his UFC career.

Volkov is now riding a four-fight winning streak. "Drago" is ranked No. 5 at heavyweight and hasn't suffered a loss since March 2022.

Pavlovich has lost two straight for the first time in his pro MMA career. He suffered a first-round knockout loss to Tom Aspinall last November in a fight for the interim heavyweight championship. Pavlovich, ranked No. 3 going into Saturday's bout, had won six in a row between 2019-23.

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