- The UFC debuts in Russia on September 15th with UFC Fight Night: Hunt vs. Oleinik
- Heavyweight old timers Mark Hunt and Aleksei Oleinik headline the show
- Light heavyweight rising stars Jan Blachowicz and Nikita Krylov fight in the co-main event
The UFC heads to Russia for the first time with a momentous event on September 15th at Olimpiyskiy Stadium in Moscow, Russia.
Mark Hunt headlines the night with a heavyweight fight against local talent Aleksei Oleinik. The Super Samoan may be on his last legs, but he’s still able to pull in a crowd whenever he fights. Also on the card is an interesting light heavyweight scrap between the rising Jan Blachowicz and the returning Nikita Krylov.
UFC Fight Night: Hunt vs Oleinik Odds
|Who Will Win the UFC Fight Night Main Event?||Bovada Odds|
It’s a battle between two heavyweight veterans. Mark Hunt (13-12-1, 1 NC) is the oldest fighter on the UFC roster at 44. Aleksei Oleinik (56-11-1) is just a couple years his junior at 41. Both have been fighting professionally for over two decades, and they have the scars to prove it.
Mark Hunt has always been a cult favorite despite his patchy fight record. The Super Samoan has only won four of his last 11 fights and has never contested the heavyweight title, but he remains a reliable headliner for the UFC.
Hunt has only won four of his last 11 fights and has never contested the heavyweight title, but he remains a reliable headliner for the UFC.
Aleksei Oleinik has been with the UFC for over four years but remains a relatively obscure figure in the heavyweight division. The upcoming event is his first and probably last chance to make a splash. Apart from a notable win over Travis Browne, he hasn’t achieved much in the UFC.
This is a classic striker vs grappler match-up. Hunt is the king of the walk-off knockout while Oleinik is one of the best submission grapplers in the division. The plan for each fighter is simple. Oleinik will do most of his work in the clinch and attempt to take the fight to the ground. Hunt will seek to clip Oleinik on the way in and put an end to the show.
Mark Hunt and Aleksei Oleinik Tale of the Tape
|13-12-1 (1 NC)||Record||53-11-1|
|Mar 23, 1974||DOB||June 25, 1977|
There was a time when Hunt had an atrocious ground game. The former kickboxer lost six consecutive fights from 2006 to 2010, with five coming by submission. Since then, Hunt has improved his takedown defense but remains vulnerable to grapplers.
His most recent fight against Curtis Blaydes saw him taken down a whopping 10 times. Blaydes shot for 14 takedowns over three rounds and enjoyed a 71% success rate. A year prior to that, Brock Lesnar was able to drag him to the mat and maul him for three rounds.
The bulk of Oleinik’s wins have come by submission. He’s the only fighter in the UFC to have successfully execute an Ezekiel choke, and has tapped the likes of Travis Browne and Cro Cop. When it comes to pure submission grappling, there are few heavyweights who can hold their own against Oleinik.
Oleinik has a bad habit of recklessly rushing his opponents in order to clinch, which Hunt could punish in devastating fashion. But all up, the stylistic match-up favors the Russian. Mark Hunt is at the very tail end of his fighting career and this could be the one to push him out the door.
Pick: Aleksei Oleinik (+145)
Jan Blachowicz vs Nikita Krylov Odds
|Who Will Will the UFC Fight Night Co-Main Event?||Bovada Odds|
After a two-year stint in the Russian promotions, Nikita Krylov (24-5) returns to the UFC to take on Jan Blachowicz (22-7). With Daniel Cormier now the heavyweight champ and Jon Jones out for the foreseeable future, the light heavyweight class is in desperate need of a new star. Neither Blachowicz or Krylov are expected to fill the shoes of Jones and Cormier, but their upcoming fight could breathe some life into the dormant division.
Blachowicz had a terrible start to his UFC career, losing four of his first six fights. But he rebounded nicely and is now on a three-fight winning streak. His most recent win, against Jimi Manuwa, lifted him to fourth in the official rankings.
Jan Blachowicz vs Nikita Krylov Tale of the Tape
|Feb 24, 1983||DOB||Mar 7, 1992|
Krylov has only lost one of his last ten fights and has never had a fight reach the judges. He began his career as a submission specialist but has since evolved into a competent all-round fighter. At 26, he’s one of the young prospects in an aging division.
Krylov has only lost one of his last ten fights and has never had a fight reach the judges.
Both fighters are more than happy to stand and trade, and while Krylov is probably the superior fighter on the ground, Błachowicz should be able to hold his own. I made the mistake of dismissing Blachowicz in the lead-up to his last fight against Manuwa, and I’m cautious not to make the same mistake twice. The Prince of Cieszyn is in amazing form right now and he deserves a little more respect.