In September 2018, the UFC finally embarked on the Russian market, as Moscow played host to their first event in Russia. The main event saw Aleksei Oleinik upset Mark Hunt, submitting him in the first round. Six month’s later, the UFC is back in Russia. This time, in Saint Petersburg. However, a familiar face headlines the event in Aleksei Oleinik. The Russian looks to claim yet another main event victory in home country as he takes on the Demolition Man, Alistair Overeem. Winner of his last fight, in which he brutally finished Sergei Pavolich with nasty ground-and-pound, Overeem looks to build a win streak and make a run at UFC gold. However, the winner of four of his last five fights Oleinik looks to yet again, pull off the upset and become a Heavyweight contender.
UFC Fight Night 149 (ESPN+ 7) Main Card (1 p.m. ET):
265 lbs.: Alistair Overeem vs. Aleksei Oleinik – This is a fun main event in which I’m sure we all understand the ultimatum. Overeem is the striker, who clearly has a huge advantage over Oleinik on the feet. The Boa Constrictor Oleinik is the grappling and submission wizard, who will look to get this fight to the ground and impose his will.
As for my prediction, I have Overeem. I believe that while Oleinik can submit you from virtually anywhere, he’s too willing to brawl. You’d think, a veteran who’s about to embark on his 70th professional fight, would just go straight for his bread-and-butter. You’d be wrong. Oleinik though, has shown durability and power enough to drop foes. Given Overeem’s iffy chin, there is a real possibility he gets clipped and then submitted.
However, Overeem’s a changed man. He keeps distance, is very technical and gets hit less often. I see him landing several hard shots, maybe a patented knee or two and that’s all she wrote. So with that, I have Overeem winning via knockout.
155 lbs.: Islam Makhachev vs. Arman Tsarukyan – I swear, this card has the most debuting fighters. I mean, it’s not a bad thing, just an observation. As for the fight, I hear a lot of good things about Tsarukyan, but this is a brutal matchup for a debut. Makhachev is a legit talent and extremely well rounded. A training partner of UFC Lightweight Champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, Makhachev skills has many resemblances to the Champion. So with that, I have Makhachev winning via submission.
265 lbs.: Marcelo Golm vs. Sergei Pavlovich – Golm came into the UFC too soon and too green. Pavolich debuted against Alistair Overeem which is ridiculous, but it’s also a valuable experience. With a nine inch reach advantage, I believe Pavolich should have his way with Golm on the feet. There is potential Pavolich knocks out Golm, but the Brazilian is tough. So with that, I have Pavolich winning via decision.
125 lbs.: Roxanne Modafferi vs. Antonina Shevchenko – As much as I like Modafferi as a human being, I just don’t see how she wins this fight. While the consensus may believe Modafferi can take Shevchenko down, if you’ve watched her fights, she’s generally really not successful in doing such. And on the feet, she’s tough as hell, but lacks the speed and technique needed to keep up with Shevchenko. So with that, I have Shevchenko winning via decision.
185 lbs.: Alen Amedovski vs. Krzysztof Jotko – Man, Jotko went from a legit top fifteen Middleweight to a fighter fighting for his job. With three straight defeats, his back is against the wall. And in these situations, I tend to favor the fighter that is looking to avoid the potential pink slip. So with that, I have Jotko winning via decision.
UFC Fight Night 149 (ESPN+ 7) Prelims (10 a.m. ET):
135 lbs.: Movsar Evloev vs. Seung Woo Choi – I’ll be honest, I’ve never seen any of these UFC newcomers fight. However, word is, Evloev is legit talent that has future contender status written all over him. So with that, I have Evloev winning via decision.
170 lbs.: Sultan Aliev vs. Keita Nakamura – Aliev has been pretty awful in his UFC tenure, with a lone win coming via split decision. Meanwhile, Nakamura has made the most of his second UFC stint notching four wins. Aliev may be the better striker, but Nakamura is the better all around fighter. His grappling advantage can easily get the job done here. So with that, I have Nakamura winning via decision.
155 lbs.: Alex da Silva vs. Alexander Yakovlev – I have to say, da Silva brings in one of the more impressive records into his UFC debut. Problem is, it’s extremely padded and he’s facing a tough foe in Yakovlev. A foe in which is making the drop from Welterweight to Lightweight and is going to be extremely massive for the weight class. So with that, I have Yakovlev dominating and finishing the fight in the later rounds via TKO.
265 lbs.: Shamil Abdurakhimov vs. Marcin Tybura – I have a feeling this is going to be a semi-boring kickboxing match en which I favor Tybura in. So with that, I have Tybura winning via decision.
205 lbs.: Gadzhimurad Antigulov vs. Michal Oleksiejczuk – This fight goes either two ways. Antigulov storm out, takes Oleksiejczuk down and submits him. Or Oleksiejczuk fends off Antigulov’s takedown attempts and batters him on the feet en route to a TKO finish. I think the later is probably the safe bet, but Antigulov has shown an exceptional ability to get the fight to the mat and quickly submit them. Hell with it, I have Antigulov winning via submission.
155 lbs.: Rafael Fiziev vs. Magomed Mustafaev – This is a hell of a fight to open the card. Fiziev is making his UFC debut, and features some nasty Muay Thai. Mustafaev is an excellent grappler, who not only is physically powerful, but has legit pop in hands. Unfortunately though, Mustafaev has not fought in over two years and I’m just not quite sure what to expect. Before the layoff, the talent showed, but also the willingness to strike and brawl did too. In a fight like this, staying on the feet edges Fiziev. So with that, I have Fiziev winning via TKO.