When Cole Konrad vacated the Bellator heavyweight strap it left the door open for a showdown between Rich Hale and Alexander Volkov. Though most expected their tilt to feature a finish, the action went the distance and when the scorecards were added up it was Volkov who left the cage with the belt in tow.
“Please somebody pinch me, because I think it’s a dream. Right now I’m even more nervous than before the fight,” Volkov exclaimed through a translator after the victory. “It’s a great honor and a great responsibility.”
In the first frame, both fighters were very patient and spent most of the round feeling each other out, but at the end of the round Hale landed a shot that rattled Volkov. However, Hale couldn’t close the deal, and the moment would be the only real chance he would have in the 25 minute tussle.
The popular opinion was that Hale would have the edge in the grappling department, but as it turned out it was Volkov who was able to take Hale down early in the fight. However, most of the fight Volkov just picked apart Hale with his hands.
Volkov battered Hale for 20 minutes and he would go on to win the unanimous decision victory and heavyweight title. Judges Kelvin Caldwell, Robert Madrigal and Otto Torrerio all scored the fight 49-46 for the Russian. Volkov has now won his last ten fights and will most likely defend his title in the summer.