LAS VEGAS – Alexandr Romanov was one of the biggest favorites in MMA history when he stepped inside the cage at UFC on ESPN 35, and by many accounts, he performed like one.
In a little more than two minutes, Romanov (16-0 MMA, 5-0 UFC) dispatched of heavyweight foe Chase Sherman and won by Americana submission. While Romanov continued his reign of dominance in the UFC, he only showed a sliver of his full arsenal, he revealed afterward.
“This was just 5 percent of our skills, what we have,” Romanov told MMA Junkie at a post-fight news conference. “Everybody knows that I’m a good grappler, a good wrestler. But nobody sees my striking. I promise you that one day, everybody will see my striking. That will be incredible.”
The UFC heavyweight division contains a myriad of body types. Romanov used to carry a lot of “extra” weight. In recent weeks, however, lifestyle changes were implemented and Romanov rolled into the fight noticeably slender and cut. His weight loss, he said, was fairly significant.
“My body has changed a lot,” Romanov said. “We a lot worked with my coach and trainer on cardio, on our footwork. My coach made for me a special diet. I lost around 45 pounds in the last three months. I feel that I’m in the best shape of my career now. But we just started this.”
With the win, Romanov keeps his unblemished professional record in tact. He’s finished four of his five UFC opponents, three by submission. He now has his sights on the heavyweight rankings, and one Brazilian fighter in particular.
“For me, the top 15 is very interesting because Augusto Sakai has a very interesting style in his striking,” Romanov said. “For me, this will be a very good challenge.”
Sakai (15-4-1 MMA, 4-3 UFC) does not currently have a fight booked. He started off his UFC tenure with four straight wins, but has since lost three fights against Alistair Overeem, Jairzinho Rozenstruik, and Tai Tuivasa, all by knockout.