Injuries have led to the shuffling of the chief event of the UFC’s upcoming card Russia, along with my first thoughts on the new headliner are below.
Alistair Overeem vs. Alexey Oleynik, UFC Fight Night 149
The main event of UFC Fight Night 149 is going to be a five-round heavyweight bout between Alistair Overeem and Alexey Oleynik. Alexander Volkov pulled from this struggle because of injury, and also the UFC chose to eliminate Oleynik out of his scheduled UFC Fight Night 150 bout against Walt Harris to take on Overeem instead. This card takes place April 20 in Venue Yubileyny Sports Palace City in Saint Petersburg, Russia, and ESPN’s Ariel Helwani was the first to break news of the main event swap.
Overeem (44-17, 1 NC) is 9-6 overall from the UFC and in his last fight knocked out Sergey Pavlovich within an underdog. Many bettors and fans composed off Overeem after back-to-back brutal knockout losses to Curtis Blaydes and Francis Ngannou, but he looked fantastic against Pavlovich and showed that he still has some gas left in the tank in age 38. Of course, while he showed off his vaunted finishing skills against Pavlovich, the danger of Overeem being knocked out himself is always there every time he steps to the Octagon as his chin is very questionable at this point of his profession. Luckily for Overeem, while Volkov could have had a fantastic opportunity to knock him out, the odds are Oleynik is going to look to take this battle to the ground, making this a favorable matchup for”The Reem.”
Oleynik (57-11-1) is 6-2 in the UFC and is coming off of back-to-back submission wins over Mark Hunt and Junior Albini. One of the most underrated heavyweights in MMA history, Oleynik has been deserving of a significant fight for quite sometime, however for whatever reason was booked to fight a mid-tier heavyweight in the form of Harris, that attracted criticisms from people who pay close attention to matchmaking. Rather, an injury into Volkov assisted him out as he’ll now get his chance to combat a top-10 ranked competition in Overeem, along with also an impressive win here would push him closer to the title picture in the wide-open UFC heavyweight division.
Although Oleynik is a wizard on the mat, Overeem is no slouch there either, and about the toes you need to provide the Dutchman a good-sized benefit. I am curious to see what the lineup is for this bout later Overeem was a dog against Pavlovich, but in my eyes that he should be the favored to beat Oleynik.
Devin Clark vs. Ivan Shtyrkov, UFC Fight Night 149
As well, light heavyweights Devin Clark and Ivan Shtyrkov will fulfill at UFC Fight Night 149. Marcel Dorff broke the information. Shtyrkov is filling in on short notice for its wounded Abdul-Kerim Edilov. Clark (9-3) is 3-3 in the UFC and is coming off of a TKO loss to Aleksandar Rakic. He has not looked great in the UFC at either middleweight or light heavyweight, and with a reduction here is very likely to be released from his contract. Shtyrkov (15-0-1) is coming from back-to-back endings over UFC vets Fabio Maldonado and Thiago Silva in the Russian regional circuit, and he also holds remarkable wins over Antonio Silva, Jeff Monson and Ricco Rodriguez. Though Clark has more UFC experience, I’d favor Shtyrkov quite heavily in this respect because of the fact he’ll be fighting in Russia and also because I think Clark must be faded.
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