Alexander “King Kong” Romanov is 31 and has a perfect 15-0 professional record. Six of his wins have come by knockout, eight by submission, and sole win by decision. In the UFC, the surging heavyweight is 4-0 with four stoppage victories.
Chase “The Vanilla Gorilla” Sherman was recently cut from the UFC but is returning to step in, on less than a week’s notice, for this fight. Professionally, he is 15-9 with 14 knockout wins and 4 knockout losses.
Romanov is a massive favorite over the late replacement, Sherman.
- Romanov: -1400
- Sherman: +850
Romanov is a UFC heavyweight with a style, skillset, and personality that will make him a household name if he isn’t already. Despite being listed at an average height, 6’2, and standard weight, 260, Romanov appears massive in the octagon. He uses his immense size effectively and entertainingly. On the feet, “King Kong” is serviceable; but, he has yet to face a true UFC striker. His movement is linear, often a bull-rush forward for a takedown. And his on-the-feet striking is essentially a jab that he uses to crash distance for a takedown. Put simply, in the octagon, Romanov is a wrestler who knows his path to victory is to secure the takedown and punch until the ref pushes him off or the submission opening appears. Once he gets the fight down, which he does typically with power throws and violent spear-like double legs, Romanov is as intelligent as he is dangerous. He is adept at laying heavily on his opponent, often in side control. He controls his opponent with heavy pressure so they become a stationary target. Then, more quickly than a 260-pound mammoth of a man should be able to move, Romanov often transitions into full mount. From here, he earns his “King Kong” nickname by throwing consecutive hammer fists, over and over. His opponent’s only defense is to cover up or give their back. If they cover up, Romanov implements one of my personal favorite chokes- a forearm choke. He thrusts his enormous forearm into the Adam’s Apple of his opponent, pushes his body weight into them, and crushes their windpipe. If he gets this choke, which he has 3 times in his career, the fight often ends soon after. Then, after the fight, Romanov will celebrate by throwing his coach around like a toddler throws an action figure.
Sherman is courageous for taking this fight. Even while still in the UFC and with a full training camp, this fight seems incredibly lopsided. Now, Sherman is coming off the street and only has a few days to prepare. Sherman’s biggest issues, and the reasons for his 3-fight losing streak that led him to be cut, are Romanov’s strengths. Sherman has good length but rarely fights behind a jab; instead, he foregoes his reach advantage and looks for a brawl in the pocket. Further, Sherman’s chin has not held up to UFC heavyweight power and he’s been finished by knockout 4 times. Lastly, despite weighing in around 250 pounds, Sherman is a lean heavyweight who often looks undersized in the division. The old cliché, a “puncher’s chance,” is all Sherman has going for him here. Sherman does have a heavy right hand; and, if he can land it on the chin, has shown an ability to finish fights. With his lack of distance control, size, and training camp, it’s unlikely we get to see that right hand land.
Romanov should maul Sherman. Sherman earns a lot of props for taking this fight on short notice and it might earn him another contract; but, it will likely end violently and quickly. Look for Romanov to rush Sherman immediately, throw him down, and finish him soon after. The only question is whether it will be a “King Kong” knockout or submission.
Prediction: Romanov to win in round 1
Michael Pounders is a high school English Teacher, a boxer himself, and is a fan who loves, gambles on, and nerds out about all things MMA.