Not only did the Russian get the tap against Tai Tuivasa, but he actually secured the ultra-rare Ezekiel choke, which has only been successfully applied by two other fighters in UFC history. Volkov is now the third as he joins Remco Pardoel and Aleksei Oleinik in the Ezekiel choke club with his victory over Tuivasa.
The end came at 4:37 in the second round with Volkov winning his third fight in a row with the submission finish in Australia.
“This guy is really tough, make some noise for him,” Volkov said after his win. “I don’t really practice this choke but I want to say hello to [my coach] who taught me this when I was very, very young.
Prior to the submission, Volkov and Tuivasa were trading bombs on the feet with both heavyweights landing some hard shots throughout the fight.
Understanding the kind of immense power that Tuivasa generates, Volkov was smart to circle on the outside and use his reach to stab at Australian heavyweight from the outside. Volkov was also chipping away at Tuivasa with a series of stiff leg kicks that were landing with an emphatic thud every time.
As Tuivasa charged forward, Volkov returned fire with a perfectly timed counter right that connected flush. The punch staggered Tuivasa, who shifted into survival mode as he started swinging with big looping strikes just trying to keep Volkov off him.
While Tuivasa was clearly absorbing more damage, he still managed to slam home some nasty calf-kicks of his own that were causing damage to Volkov’s lead leg. That slowed down Volkov’s moment, which then led to the Russian opting for a ground attack instead.
Once the fight hit the floor, Volkov effortlessly moved into the mount where he began hammering away with punches before wrapping his arm behind Tuivasa’s head and then slipping his other forearm underneath the chin. Once he connected his hands together, Volkov had the Ezekiel choke locked on and Tuivasa was forced to tap.
While Volkov has now won three in a row, the submission loss drops Tuivasa to 0-3 in his past three fights in the UFC.