Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC
The end came after Volkov slammed Rozenstruik with a straight right hand down the middle that rocked the Surinamer heavyweight and put him on rubber legs. From there, Volkov started launching punches in rapid-fire succession as Rozenstruik shifted into survival mode, trying to defend while dropping to a knee as he continued to absorb punishment.
With Volkov still unloading strikes and no sign that Rozenstruik would escape, referee Herb Dean stepped in to stop the contest. Immediately after, Rozenstruik appeared to protest the way the fight ended, although replays seemed to show him hurt badly even if he didn’t actually get dropped to the canvas.
“It’s not my fault anyway,” Volkov said at the UFC Vegas 56 post-fight press conference when addressing the stoppage. “The referee stopped this.
“In the moment, I hit him, he was a little bit knocked out so he wasn’t being fully fresh. Anyway, it was a big opportunity to knock him out, to land because he was almost on the mat. I was ready to throw him down and continue my work.”
One thing perfectly clear was Rozenstruik being in serious trouble even if he wasn’t completely out on his feet, which is what made Volkov feel like the ending was justified.
Regardless of how he saw the stoppage, Volkov also knows he has no control over the referee, because it’s Dean’s decision to determine how much a fighter can take before he’s seen enough to end it.
“[Rozenstruik] was in a bad position,” Volkov said. “The referee stopped the fight. He was in a bad position and he took some hard punches and he was a little bit knocked out. It’s not my fault but ask this of the referee, not me. I just did my job.”
On that night, Volkov suffered a first-round submission loss, which was the quickest defeat he’s ever suffered in his UFC career.
Now he looks forward to building off this win as Volkov seeks to maintain his position as one of the top heavyweight fighters in the UFC.
“I’m really happy to come back on a win streak,” Volkov said. “I’m happy to come back with a win. I’m just happy. I did all the plan I had in this fight. Everything went perfect. Nothing went wrong. Everything’s good.”
As far as what comes next, Volkov isn’t certain who he might face with many of the heavyweights ahead of him in the rankings already booked for other fights.
While he wasn’t interested in calling out anybody by name, Volkov did address two potential rematches after he was asked about Derrick Lewis, which was a fight he was winning handily until he got caught with a late, third-round haymaker to suffer a knockout loss.
To hear Volkov tell it, that’s not really a matchup he’s looking to visit again, but there is another rematch out there that would interest him if the offer was made.
“It doesn’t matter for me about revenge or winning other fights,” Volkov explained. “I’m ready for any challenge. Any challenge would be good but maybe I want to rematch with [Ciryl] Gane because this fight was close. With Derrick Lewis, I won all the rounds and then I just took this punch. It was good for him. He was good with his punch, but anyway, I don’t feel this is a big problem for me.
“For me, I like more challenges, and right now, for me, I think that rematch with Gane because I respect him very much, about his stand-up work, about everything, it’s very interesting for me to meet him again. I’m ready for any challenge against any fighters, any time.”
The only requirement Volkov hopes to fill after Saturday is finding an opponent to allow him to move closer to title contention again. But outside of that, he’s just anxious to return home to his family.
“I understands I need some more wins to get the title shot,” Volkov said. “I’m ready for any fights to get those wins. That’s it.”