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Rich Hale: Volkov’s Chin Is About To Get Tested

Rich “Rare Breed” Hale (21-4, 1 draw, MMA) is about to go to battle against Alexander “Drago” Volkov (18-3, MMA) to become something that he already believes he is, a champion. Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney has said a new heavyweight champion will be be determined at Bellator 84, Saturday, Dec 14th in Hammond, Indiana.

Since former Bellator Heavyweight Champion Cole Konrad retired this year, the heavyweight title has been vacated. Therefore, the winner of Hale vs Volkov will not only be the tournament champion, but they’ll also become the division’s new champion.

Despite the fact that Volkov is on a nine fight win streak, “Rare Breed” told MMA Fight Corner that he’s seen plenty of weaknesses in his game that he’s going to attack.

“You could see that he has a huge hole in his ground game, but I think that he definitely has some holes in his stand up that I’m going to exploit. I mean, you can’t stand up from the stand up and I’m looking to put it on him there and then show why I deserve to be the heavyweight champion for Bellator, definitely,” Hale said. “So, I mean the big thing for me is go out there, and finally have the opportunity fighting a guy taller than myself, but yet he doesn’t have much of a reach advantage – half an inch at that – go out there and put the numbers on him. The big thing with him is I don’t think he packs a lot of power in his punches and so that’s going to be one of the definite things I have over him.”

Even though Hale’s going into his third fight in three months, he said his body doesn’t feel any lingering effects of the wars he’s been through along the way.

“I’ve been training my ass off. I’ve been training really hard. I’m very confident in my abilities,” Hale said. “You’re going through training camp, you’re never going to be 100% per se of your normal walk around when you don’t have a fight. To me, I do feel, I feel 110% to be honest with you coming into to this one.”

One thing that Hale fully plans on using to his advantage are his heavy hands that got him into the finals. With his size and power, Hale plans on putting the pressure on Volkov. By the sound of it, Hale has no intention of going the distance. He intends to lay out the 6’7″ “Drago”.

“I think I definitely have the power, obviously, to put down. The big thing is putting down the guys that are cutting down to 265, I’m able to hit them on their chin and knock the teeth out of their mouth, and you know, things like that. I think I’ve displayed my power perfectly well, especially in the last fight and in the fight prior to that against Wessel, both bigger guys that cut down to 265. I don’t think any of the other guys that Volkov has fought have really tested his chin, I don’t even think they’ve really even hit it,” Rich stated.