The 40-year-old is planning to finish his career inside the Octagon.
The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) will return to the UFC Apex in Las Vegas for the first time in 2021 with an event headlined by a heavyweight bout between Alistair Overeem and Alexander Volkov on Sunday.
In the main event, exciting heavyweight KO artists who have over 100 fights between them clash as No. 5 ranked contender Alistair Overeem will take on No.6 Alexander Volkov. In the co-main event, fan-favourite bantamweight contenders, Cory Sandhagen and Frankie Edgar will face each other.
Also on the main card, Manel Kape, Japan’s Rizin Fighting Federation bantamweight champion, makes his highly anticipated UFC debut in a huge fight against flyweight Alexandre Pantoja. Bantamweight contender Cody Stamann will square off with late replacement and newcomer Askar Askar at featherweight, while lightweight contender Diego Ferreira runs it back with Beneil Dariush.
Alistair Overeem ended 2019 on a down note, getting stopped by Jairzinho Rozenstruik in the waning moments of their headlining clash at the start of December, but he vowed to return in 2020 and embark on one last run at the UFC title.
He arrives in Las Vegas for his 2021 debut having made good on that promise after posting consecutive stoppage victories over Walt Harris and Augusto Sakai to steady himself in the rankings and bring him back into the contender conversation.
Speaking to the media ahead of his fight Alistair Overeem said, “I am still improving and even at 40 I think you can clearly see that in my fights. I am still on a learning curve. But I have to be realistic. I am going to have a couple more fights, then I am going to hang up the gloves. If I win the belt, then the mission is completed.”
The 32-year-old Volkov has been hovering on the fringes of contention since early 2018 when he pushed his promotional winning streak to four with a decisive win over former champion Fabricio Werdum.
He has been inconsistent since then, splitting four appearances and alternating between losses to Derrick Lewis and Curtis Blaydes and victories over Greg Hardy and the aforementioned Walt Harris. Now the towering Russian looks to halt Overeem’s late-career surge while propelling himself forward in a heavyweight division where things are taking shape and moving briskly.
Volkov said, “Alistair Overeem used to be one of my favourite fighters when I was at the beginning of my professional career and we have different styles, but I’ve always been impressed by his physical power, the ability to deliver accurate and hard punches, as well as his work in the clinch.
“In this regard, I know his strengths and weaknesses very well. Lately, he has worked more economically, but nevertheless, he remains just as dangerous. It is unlikely that our fight will last all five rounds. I’m sure I can catch him making a mistake,” he concluded.