Injuries have led to the shuffling of the main event of this UFC’s upcoming card Russia, along with my initial thoughts on the new headliner are under.
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 out of this struggle due to injury, and the UFC opted to remove Oleynik from his scheduled UFC Fight Night 150 bout against Walt Harris to shoot on Overeem instead. This card takes place April 20 in Venue Yubileyny Sports Palace City at Saint Petersburg, Russia, and ESPN’s Ariel Helwani has been the first to break news of the chief event swap.
Overeem (44-17, 1 NC) is 9-6 overall in the UFC and in his final 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 seemed fantastic against Pavlovich and showed he still has some gas left in the tank at age 38. Obviously, while he showed his vaunted finishing abilities against Pavlovich, the threat of Overeem being pumped himself out is always there every time he steps to the Octagon because his chin is quite suspicious at this point of his career. Luckily for Overeem, while Volkov could have had a fantastic chance to knock him out, the chances are Oleynik will seem to take this battle to the floor, making this a more favorable matchup for”The Reem.”
Oleynik (57-11-1) is 6-2 at the UFC and is coming from back-to-back entry wins over Mark Hunt and Junior Albini. One of the most underrated heavyweights in MMA history, Oleynik has been deserving of a big fight for quite sometime, yet for whatever reason was reserved to fight a mid-tier heavyweight in the form of Harris, which drew criticisms from people who pay close attention to matchmaking. Instead, an injury to Volkov assisted him out as he will now get his chance to combat a top-10 ranked opponent in Overeem, and also an impressive win here would push him closer to the title picture from the wide-open UFC heavyweight division.
Though Oleynik is a wizard on the mat, Overeem is no slouch there either, and on the feet you need to provide that the Dutchman a good-sized advantage. I’m curious to see exactly what the lineup is for this bout later Overeem was a puppy against Pavlovich, but in my eyes he must be the favored to beat Oleynik.
Devin Clark vs. Ivan Shtyrkov, UFC Fight Night 149
At the same time, light heavyweights Devin Clark and Ivan Shtyrkov will fulfill at UFC Fight Night 149. Marcel Dorff broke the news. Shtyrkov is filling in on short notice for the injured Abdul-Kerim Edilov. Clark (9-3) is 3-3 at the UFC and is coming off of a TKO loss to Aleksandar Rakic. He hasn’t looked very good in the UFC at either middleweight or light heavyweight, and with a reduction here is likely to be released from his contract. Shtyrkov (15-0-1) is coming off of back-to-back finishes over UFC vets Fabio Maldonado and Thiago Silva on the Russian regional circuit, and in addition, he holds notable wins over Antonio Silva, Jeff Monson and Ricco Rodriguez. Though Clark has more UFC experience, I’d prefer Shtyrkov quite heavily in this bout because of the fact he’ll be battling in Russia and because I believe Clark has to be faded.
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