Bellator 136’s Alexander Volkov: It’s not a secret, Tony Johnson is a good wrestler

Former Bellator heavyweight champion Alexander Volkov will return to the Bellator cage on Friday night as he will meet Tony Johnson in the opening bout of the Bellator 136 main card on Spike TV.

Jason Floyd - The MMA Report
Jason Floyd – The MMA Report

Volkov (24-4) has won five fights in a row since losing the Bellator title against Vitaly Minakov in 2013 and his last fight in Bellator came nearly one year ago as he defeated Blagoi Ivanov in the final of the season ten heavyweight tournament.

Since the victory against Ivanov, he has won two fights outside of the promotion and his most recent win came in February at Union MMA Pro in Russia against Alexei Kudin. When he steps into the cage on Friday night against Johnson, it will have been 48 days since that fight and he prefers to have a quick turnaround between fights.

“We make the decision as a whole team before everyone of my fights,” Volkov told The MMA Report through a translator. “We think about each fight opportunity and we see if it’s good for me and my career. Generally speaking, I would say that I prefer to fight often because this way it keeps me in shape both physically and mentally.”

On Friday night, he meets a fighter returning to Bellator for the first time since 2011 and while Johnson has four career wins by TKO/KO, Volkov is firmly aware of the biggest skill that Johnson will bring to the cage on Friday.

“It’s not a secret, he is a good wrestler,” Volkov stated. “High caliber wrestler and he has a good takedown. It’s not just mine, but in many peoples opinion that would probably be his advantage in this fight. His wrestling pedigree. His wrestling is his strongest skill as a fighter.”

A victory over Johnson should set up a rematch for Volkov against Minakov. The current Bellator heavyweight champion has been recovering from an injury and while he is disappointed that the rematch has not taken place, he is ready for any opportunity that Bellator puts in front of him.

“I was very disappointed at some point that this fight did not happen. However, I realize that you can not live in the past. Right now, I am just open minded and I am open to any fight and opportunities. Obviously, if there was an opportunity to fight Vitaly again, I would do it right away. I do not try to think about it as I am just thinking about the future fights. Whatever Bellator has for me, I am ready for it. I am ready for the challenge.”