Taking main event honours for the fifth consecutive time ahead of the promotion’s return to Las Vegas, Nevada for the first time this year, veteran kickboxing ace, Alistair ‘The Demolition Man’ Overeem draws Russian striker, Alexander ‘Drago’ Volkov in a reworked headlining bout.
Hoping to score his fifth win in six Octagon outings, former Dream and Strikeforce champion and the 2011 K-1 Grand Prix victor, Overeem hopes to finally secure another tilt at UFC gold via a victory over Volkov — capping off arguably the most decorated careeer in heavyweight professional mixed martial arts.
The winner of two straight, the Elevation Fight Team trainee stopped the returning Walt ‘Big Ticket’ Harris at UFC Fight Night Jacksonville in May last, rallying from an early knockdown to stop the Alamaba native with second round ground strikes.
Featuring at the UFC Apex back in September, Overeem survived some dicey moments against the fence when paired with Brazilian upstart, Augusto Sakai, before shrewdly utilising his grappling in the later rounds to setup another eventual stoppage via strikes from the top.
Also making his second appearance at the UFC Apex, Moscow native, Volkov, a former Bellator and M-1 Global champion dropped a unanimous decision defeat to Juco national champion wrestling ace, Overeem’s teammate and common-foe, Curtis Blaydes. Dropping a stunning fourteen takedowns, Volkov did manage to outstrike Blaydes in terms of total strikes over the five round limit, however.
Returning to action and winning ways at UFC 254 in October, Volkov dispatched another common-opponent, taking out Harris again in the second round, this time via a well-placed second round front kick to the body.
Another reworked matchup takes co-main event honours as number-two ranked bantamweight contender, Cory ‘The Sandman’ Sandhagen draws former lightweight champion, Frankie ‘The Answer’ Edgar in a potential 135-pound title-eliminator.
Headlining UFC Fight Island 5 also in October, Sandhagen stopped one-time title chaser, ‘Magic’ Marlon Moraes via a stunning second round wheel kick.
For Edgar, the Toms River favourite finally made his bantamweight bow at UFC Vegas 7 in August, dispatching division mainstay, Pedro ‘The Young Punisher’ Munhoz in a close split decision.
UFC Vegas 18 Results:
Main Card: (ESPN+ 8 p.m. ET)
Heavyweight: Alexander Volkov def. Alistair Volkov via second round (2:06) TKO (Strikes)
Bantamweight: Cory Sandhagen def. Frankie Edgar via first-round (0:28) KO (Flying-Knee)
Lightweight: Clay Guida def. Michael Johnson via unanimous decision (30-27 x3)
Flyweight: Alexandre Pantoja def. Manel Kape via unanimous decision (29-28 x2, and 30-27)
Lightweight: Beneil Dariush def. Diego Ferreira via split decision (29-28, and 28-29 x2)
Light Heavyweight: Danilo Marques def. Mike Rodriguez via second round (4:52) submission (Rear-Naked Choke)
Preliminary Card: (ESPN+ 5 p.m. ET)
Catchweight (160 pounds): Devonte Smith def. Justin Jaynes via second-round (3:32) TKO (Doctor’s Stoppage)
Bantamweight: Karol Rosa def. Joselyne Edwards via unanimous decision (30-27 x3)
Flyweight: Lara Procopio def. Molly McCann via unanimous decision (29-27, 29-28, and 30-27)
Featherweight: Seung Woo Choi def. Youssef Zalal via unanimous decision (29-28 x2, and 30-27)
Featherweight: Timur Valiev def. Martin Day via unanimous decision (30-25 x2, and 30-26)
Featherweight: Ode Osbourne def. Jerome Rivera via first round (0:26) KO (Punch)