The UFC’s return to Russia has wrapped up, and Alistair Overeem sent the fans home in disappointment after winning a pretty wild one-round battle with Oleksei Oleinik. While Oleinik was going aggressively for sloppy haymakers and body shots, he ate a ton of brutal knees in the clinch, and that’s what felled him. Overeem finished things off on the ground, although it looked as if there was some hesitancy to inflict that much more damage on his friend. There would be no Ezekiel choke or any craziness on the ground (although Oleinik did pull guard in the opening seconds).
6th Round Post-Fight Show – UFC on ESPN+ 7 St. Petersburg ‘Overeem vs Oleinik’ by Bloody Elbow Presents
Originally, Overeem was supposed to fight Alexander Volkov before Volkov withdrew. He said in the post-fight interview that he’d like to get that bout re-booked, and I’m all for it. Overeem may be up there in age and he’s had his ups and downs throughout his UFC tenure, but he’s still a very dangerous offensive fighter who usually only loses to the upper-echelon of the division.
More thoughts on this card:
- Arman Tsarukyan may not have beaten Islam Makhachev, but that’s about as good a UFC debut as you can have in defeat. This was a high-level, fast-paced, grueling grappling and wrestling/counter-wrestling battle between these two lightweights, and Makhachev was the deserved winner. Hopefully Makhachev gets a top-15 opponent next, as it’s well-earned at this point. Tsarukyan showed some skills and strength that make me interested in seeing him again.
- Sergey Pavlovich notched his first UFC win by walloping Marcelo Golm in 66 seconds. Those were the big strikes with bad intentions we saw from the Russian heavyweight in Fight Nights Global, and that’s probably the end of Golm’s UFC tenure.
- ROXANNE MODAFFERI DID IT! Bloody Elbow’s own Happy Warrior defied the insane betting odds heavily in Antonina Shevchenko’s favor, and tested Antonina’s wrestling and grappling abilities. The sister of current UFC women’s flyweight champ Valentina flunked the test badly. She did outstrike Modafferi as expected, but Roxy mitigated that by controlling her on the mat for the first two rounds, before some fun sweeps from both women defined the final round. It’s awesome that Roxy got the W by split decision in enemy territory, and I look forward to her potentially fighting Cris Cyborg—- hang on, I’m told she was joking. How can you not love Modafferi?
- Polish middleweight Krzysztof Jotko snapped his three-fight losing streak with a fifteen-minute beatdown of the heavy-handed Alan Amedovski, who had no answers for Jotko’s vastly superior ground game. Jotko really needed that type of performance to get back on track, and he was in complete control virtually from start to finish. Will the UFC re-sign him now that his contract is up? That remains to be seen.
- The prelims got off to a very violent, finish-heavy start. Lightweight Magomed Mustafaev returned from a long layoff to stop Rafael Fiziev with a wicked spinning back kick. Light heavyweight Michał Oleksiejczuk dropped Gadzhimurad Antigulov about 150 times for a brutal KO win. He’s a fun fighter to watch. Heavyweight Shamil Abdurakhimov, known for less-than-stellar fights from an entertainment value, turned in a quality performance by using his striking to TKO Marcin Tybura in round two. Russian lightweight Alexander Yakovlev rallied from an early deficit to choke out Alex da Silva in the second-round. The finishes stopped when Sultan Aliev bested fellow welterweight veteran Keita Nakamura by shutout decision, as Nakamura struggled to get much offense going. Aliev retired after the bout, so he goes out on a high note. In the feature prelim, featherweight Movsar Evloev prevailed over fellow newcomer Seung Woo Choi by lopsided decision, outstriking and outwrestling the Korean pretty decisively. He even overcame a point deduction for an illegal knee to a grounded opponent.