Ciryl Gane could be in limbo if he defeats Alexander Volkov at UFC Vegas 30

Heavyweight contenders Ciryl Gane and Alexander Volkov will fight in the main event of UFC Vegas 30 this weekend.

By Stone Lexington

Updated: June 23, 2021 • 3:25 PM ET

alexander volkov.jpg

Alexander Volkov - Wikimedia Commons

After only five fights in the UFC, France’s Ciryl Gane has already ascended to a No. 3 ranking in the promotion’s heavyweight division. With another victory on Saturday against No. 5 ranked Alexander Volkov at UFC Vegas 30, the 31-year-old Gane could make an argument for deserving a title shot.

UFC president Dana White has repeatedly said that No. 2 ranked Derrick Lewis will be the next person to fight heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou, which could take place later this year. Gane receiving a title shot against the winner of that bout is certainly possible considering his 8-0 resume, which would become nine straight victories with a win this weekend. But there are other factors at play that could halt Gane fighting for the title anytime soon.

One of those factors is Jon Jones, who is expected to move to the heavyweight division after dominating the light heavyweight ranks for more than a decade. But that move has yet to come, and it’s unclear when Jones’ next fight will be. The former light heavyweight champion hasn’t fought since February 2020, but he would likely face the winner of the Lewis vs. Ngannou fight if he can come to terms with the UFC and sign for a bout with Ngannou.

Another obstacle for Gane navigating a path to a title shot is Stipe Miocic, who has a solid argument for being the greatest heavyweight in MMA history. If Jones and the UFC can’t come to an agreement to fight the winner of the Lewis vs. Ngannou bout, it’s reasonable to assume that Miocic would be next in line. The No. 1 ranked Miocic dominated Ngannou in their first fight in 2018 en route to a unanimous decision victory, but Ngannou knocked out Miocic in the second round in March to win the title for the first time. A third fight between the two seems necessary.

That leaves Gane in a bit of limbo if he wins this weekend. He has already defeated the well-respected Junior dos Santos and No. 6 ranked Jairzinho Rozenstruik, and a victory over Volkov would leave him without a discernible next opponent. No. 4 ranked Curtis Blaydes and Rozenstruik have verbally agreed to a fight that could take place in September, which leaves only Miocic ranked in the top 5 without a next opponent lined up. Gane vs. Miocic would seemingly be the fight to make, but Miocic could wait to step back into the Octagon until he receives another title shot.

There’s no guarantee that Gane will dispatch of Volkov this weekend, but there’s a reason he’s favored to get his hand raised on Saturday. Gane has never lost in the Octagon, whereas Volkov (33-8) has dropped two of his last five bouts (losses came to Blaydes and Lewis). Volkov, though, has several impressive victories in his career, including his latest coming against Alistair Overeem by second-round TKO in February.

Gane can continue one of the quickest rises to prominence with a win over Volkov on Saturday, but where a victory would leave him would be a question that needs to be answered.

 

The rest of the main card at 4 p.m. EST on ESPN+


Heavyweight bout - Tanner Boser vs. Ovince Saint Preux

Bantamweight bout - Raoni Barcelos vs. Timur Valiev

Featherweight bout - Andre Fili vs. Daniel Pineda

Welterweight bout - Tim Means vs. Nicolas Dalby

Lightweight bout - Renato Moicano vs. Jai Herbert

 

Prelims on ESPN+ at 1 p.m. EST

Light heavyweight bout - Kennedy Nzechukwu vs. Danilo Marques

Welterweight bout - Shavkat Rakhmonov vs. Michel Prazeres

Welterweight bout - Warlley Alves vs. Jeremiah Wells

Light heavyweight bout - Marcin Prachnio vs. Isaac Villanueva

Women’s bantamweight bout - No. 15 Julia Avila vs. Julija Stoliarenko

Featherweight bout - Charles Rosa vs. Justin Jaynes

Lightweight bout - Yancy Medeiros vs. Damir Hadzovic

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