The UFC bandwagon rolls into Saint Petersburg for the first time this weekend, and there’s a mouthwatering heavyweight bout between Alistair Overeem and Aleksei Oleinik to mark the occasion.
Tale of the tape
|76 in||Height||74 in|
|265 lbs||Weight||240 lbs|
|80 in||Reach||80 in|
Predictions & Betting Tips
After Alexander Volkov was forced to pull out of his fight with Alistair Overeem due to health reasons, Aleksei Oleinik steps up to the plate at short notice. The veteran headlined the UFC’s only other previous foray onto Russian soil in September of last year, and is looking to make it two for two in front of his home crowd against ‘The Reem’.
Overeem brings a size and weight advantage into this bout, although his training work for facing a taller man has somewhat gone to waste. Having said that, he’ll certainly be happier to be facing an opponent some five inches shorter than the 6 foot 7 Volkov.
‘The Demolition Man’ comes into this contest on the back of November’s first round TKO of the undefeated Sergey Pavlovich, stopping the rot after back-to-back defeats against Curtis Blades and Francis Ngannou. Oleinik meanwhile hasn’t fought since submitting Mark Hunt in Moscow in mid-September, his sixth victory in eight UFC bouts.
Four of those wins have been awarded performance of the night, including each of his last two fights. His Ezekiel choke on Junior Albini last May followed the same move on Viktor Pesta in January 2017. It was enough to see him take the accolade, and showed the 41-year-old’s craft and power.
He’s not known as ‘The Boa Constrictor’ for nothing, and Overeem will have to be very wary of Oleinik’s guile and improvisation if this fight goes to the ground. Indeed, the Russian has won each of his last four fights by submission, and nine of his last 10 going back to his pre-UFC days.
While Overeem doesn’t have the same grappling talents as his rival, the Dutchman does have very heavy hands to go with his kickboxing background. He has the power to down any heavyweight put in front of him, as well as excellent striking with both hands and knees. Seven of his last eight fights have finished via stoppage, while Oleinik has the same record in the UFC.
With that in mind, this fight doesn’t look like it’s heading to the judges’ cards. Betting on the contest finishing inside the distance could be the way to go.
1 x 2 Odds
- 21 of Overeem’s 44 MMA victories have come by way of knockout
- Oleinik meanwhile has 45 submissions from 57 victories
- Overeem has a far superior striking accuracy – 73% to Oleinik’s 49%
- Oleinik edges the grappling accuracy 39% to 31%
- Oleinik averages 2.99 takedowns per 15 minutes of action, while Overeem’s takedown defence is 73%