It was the biggest bout the UFC could make, even if only in a literal sense.
In a meeting of the two tallest fighters on the roster, 6-foot-7 Alexander Volkov (29-6) upset the home fans by knocking out 6-foot-11 Stefan Struve (28-9) in the main event of UFC Fight Night 115 in Rotterdam, Netherlands.
The former Bellator heavyweight champion Volkov improved to 3-0 in the Octagon, punctuated by a series of left hook-right uppercut combos that felled the Dutchman with 1 minute, 30 seconds left in the third round. The Russian's three-fight UFC win streak is only surpassed among heavyweights by champion Stipe Miocic (17-2) and heralded prospect Francis Ngannou (10-1).
Volkov had a cut opened under his left eye in the first round after Struve found a repeated home for his right hand. After the fight, Volkov clarified it was style more than height that gave Struve opportunities early.
"We are too alike," he said through an interpreter. "We changed up, because the usual stuff didn't work. But as I promised, in the third round I finished the fight."
Volkov didn't clarify which opponent he'd like to face next when asked. Given the lack of depth in a division hungry for young talent, there are only so many options.
With a win over the No. 8 fighter in the division, and someone with 12 UFC wins on his résumé, the seventh-ranked Volkov might be only one more performance like Saturday's from earning a title shot.
There didn't seem much reason for regret. In his first fight in nearly 18 months, Bahadurzada floored Wilkinson midway through the second round with a left cross. He hit the grounded Aussie with a series of right hooks to the head. Wilkinson worked back to his feet for a second before a clean right landed, sending him back to the canvas. The referee stepped in to stop Bahadurzada's flurry -- eventually -- at 3:10 of the second round.
In handing Wilkinson his first loss, Bahadurzada improves to 3-2 in the UFC, all three wins by finish. It was the 12th knockout of his career overall.