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Alistair Overeem still wants Alexander Volkov fight, targets September return

Alistair Overeem
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Saturday night couldn’t have gone much better for Alistair Overeem.

The UFC Saint Petersburg main event at Yubileyny Sports Palace saw Overeem make short work of fellow heavyweight veteran Aleksei Oleinik, giving Overeem his first win of 2019 and now back-to-back knockout knockout victories. Oleinik was stepping in on short notice for Alexander Volkov, who was forced to withdraw due to health issues.

Just 30 years old, Volkov is one of the heavyweight division’s bright young contenders, and though Overeem sounded satisfied with his victory over Oleinik, he agreed that Volkov still makes sense as a future matchup when asked about the Russian fighter at the UFC Saint Petersburg post-fight press conference.

“Yes, I’m still looking for that fight,” Overeem said. “I was very prepared to fight Alexander Volkov, I was looking forward to that fight. That fight did not happen tonight, but hopefully the next UFC fight will be Alexander Volkov.”

Overeem has been reluctant to talk about where his recent wins put him in the title picture and he maintained that attitude after defeating Oleinik. The 38-year-old has won championships and tournaments in numerous combat sports promotions including K-1 and Strikeforce, but UFC gold has alluded him up to this point outside of a failed bid to dethrone Stipe Miocic at UFC 203 back in September 2016.

With wins in four of his last six fights, including three knockouts and a majority decision win over Fabricio Werdum that served as a trilogy bout (Overeem won the series 2-1), Overeem is in fine position to earn a second crack at the UFC heavyweight championship and he’ll allow himself to think about that if he can make it three straight later this year.

“I’m going to take a little break, a little holiday break before we’re gonna start on victory number three,” Overeem said. “I’m aiming for September. Fight again September and then maybe again later in the year. But after three wins, we will start talking about the title. Not yet. It’s too soon.”

Given his recent success and veteran status, one would assume that Overeem would have leverage to ask for certain opponents and not necessarily have to accept a re-booking with Volkov. However, he told reporters that is not the case and that he is looking forward to dealing with Volkov first before making other plans.

“There’s no choice in UFC. ‘You choose who you fight,’ that’s not how UFC works,” Overeem said. “UFC will match you up with whoever is interesting and that’s based on rankings. To me, Alexander Volkov is still ranked somewhere there, we were supposed to fight tonight, I’m still looking for that fight and other than that — let’s do that first and then we’ll figure out who comes after.”

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