Alexander Volkov didn’t come right out and use the word “dirty” to describe the fight Stefan Struve fought on Saturday.
Struve poked Volkov in both eyes during the second round of their UFC Rotterdam main event before Volkov rallied to win via TKO at 3:10 of the third round in the Netherlands.
But the former Bellator heavyweight champion’s words, through his translator... well, didn’t need much in the way of interpretation.
“He worked not very cleanly, let’s say,” Volkov said at the post-fight press conference. “He always pushed his left arm forward with an open palm; it’s sad.”
Still, the uber-tough Volkov, who also withstood a wicked knee from Struve in the opening round which opened a nasty cut under Volkov’s left eye, didn’t believe the eye pokes influenced the bout’s outcome, other than maybe postponing the inevitable.
“Frankly, I was more afraid about the doctor stopping the fight, because vision becomes blurry,” Volkov said. “But I didn’t want that and it’s hard to say it influenced the fight. I fought, I had a feeling I could finish it at the end of the first, and in the second, but frankly, I’m happy I had the third-round finish for the win.”
Volkov has won three straight fights and is 3-0 in the UFC. He seems ready for a jump up in competition. But after the bout, Volkov, a Moscow native, seemed more concerned about where he’s going to fight next, not whom. The heavyweight contender noted a vocal contigent of Russian fans in Rotterdam on a card filled with Russian fighters.
“Actually right now I’m not thinking about who to fight, but I’d rather think about where to fight,” Volkov said. “Today, five Russian fighters won. I headlined a tournament. It would be great if UFC would be able to bring UFC to Russia, I will be happy an honored to headline this tournament.”
And the thought of fighting at home will help ease the soreness he’s likely to feel the next few days.
“I have five stitches,” Volkov said, “and like my trainers always tell me when I was small, pain will always go away, and the victory will still remain.”