Alistair Overeem vs. Alexey Oleynik
|Date & Time||Saturday April 20, 2019, 5:00 PM (EDT)|
Yubileyny Sports Palace
Saint Petersburg, Russia
The Line: Overeem -244 / Oleynik +216 -- Over/Under:
Alistair Overeem and Alexey Oleynik fight Saturday during UFC on ESPN+ 7 at the Yubileyny Sports Palace.
Alistair Overeem enters this fight with a 44-17 record and has won 50 percent of his fights by knockout. Overeem has split his last six fights and is coming off a November win over Sergey Pavlovich. Overeem is averaging 3.70 significant strikes per minute with an accuracy percentage of 73 percent. Overeem is averaging 0.50 takedowns with an accuracy percentage of 31 percent. Overeem has been hit or miss the last couple of years and it’s probably going to remain that way given his fighting style and the fact he’s approaching 39 years old. Overeem is what he is, and that’s a ferocious stand up striker with powerful combinations in his hands and nasty knees in the clinch. With a deep kickboxing background, Overeem has some of the best leg kicks to the body and usage of his knees in the sport, and they’re capable of producing a knockout on its own. Overeem is also a well polished grappler and has eight career victories via the guillotine choke. The downside will always be Overeem’s chin, as 13 of his 17 career losses have come by knockout. This will be Overeem’s third career fight in Russia.
Alexey Oleynik enters this fight with a 57-11 record and has won 79 percent of his fights by submission. Oleynik has won 10 of his last 12 fights and is coming off a September win over Mark Hunt. Oleynik is averaging 3.06 significant strikes per minute with an accuracy percentage of 49 percent. Oleynik is averaging 2.99 takedowns with an accuracy percentage of 39 percent. Oleynik is coming off back-to-back performance of the night honors and gets to headline the main event after Alexander Volkov had to withdraw to health issues. Oleynik is coming off a submission victory over Hunt despite opening as a +190 underdog, and each of his last four victories have come by submission. Oleynik uses his striking to close the distance and while sloppy at times, he throws some nice overhand punches and has some pop in those hands if they land cleanly. Oleynik is most effective on the canvas where his deep background in combat sambo and submission wrestling allows him to find unique ways to finish fights. With 11 career victories via the Ezekiel choke, Oleynik is capable of finishing a fight in any position and it puts his opponent at risk whenever the fight goes to the canvas. This will be Oleynik’s 20th career fight in Russia, his home country.
I understand why Overeem would be the favorite considering he has the edge standing up and in the clinch, and he’s fighting somebody who is taking the fight on short notice. However, this is quite a sweet price for Oleynik, one of the best grapplers in the sport regardless of weight class. Once Oleynik gets his arms around his opponent and gets the fight on the ground, he has a lengthy history of finding a submission hold. Also, it doesn’t hurt that this is a homecoming for Oleynik and I’m sure a win over another powerful striker in Hunt gives him more confidence heading into this bout. We also can’t ignore that Oleynik has been an underdog in each of his last four fights, and he’s 3-1 in those fights.
I’m going to take a shot with the plus money in this main event.