The main event in St Petersburg this weekend sees two of the most experienced fighters – and most prolific finishers – on the UFC heavyweight roster go head to head.
Alistair Overeem will compete in his 63rd pro bout, while Aleksei Oleinik will be fighting in his 70th and despite the huge experience of both men, they also still have remarkable finishing ability.
Overeem has finished 39 of his 44 wins, while Oleinik has 53 stoppage victories from his 57 career wins.
In short, a stoppage win seems more than likely here. But who’s more likely to get it?
Our pick is ‘The Reem’. His submission skills are vastly underrated and his ability to defend subs, as well as slap them on his opponents, is something that may well prove crucial on Saturday night.
But, ultimately it will be the Dutchman’s striking that should seal the victory for Overeem this weekend.
Oleinik is as tough as a 100-year-old oak tree, but Overeem has the sort of power that can end the night of any heavyweight in the UFC.
He might not be as heavily muscled and scary-looking as he did when he faced Brock Lesnar on his UFC debut, but he’s nonetheless still a seriously dangerous customer. Overeem is 4/6 to win by KO or TKO. We’ll have some of that.
Bet of the bout: Overeem to win by KO/TKO: – 4/6
— Antonina Shevchenko (@AntoninaPantera) April 19, 2019
Shevchenko to disappoint ‘The Happy Warrior’
If you wanted a UFC fighter to babysit your kids, Roxanne Modafferi is the undisputed number-one choice.
She’s kind, caring, polite and has a warm, inspiring demeanour to her that means your kids will have a great time and they’ll probably come back home with a new-found love of martial arts.
But, while Modafferi is a genuinely lovely person and a fine martial artist, she’s up against Antonina Shevchenko, who will bring some NASTY Muay Thai striking, and a mean streak, into the octagon that may well prove too much for ‘The Happy Warrior’.
Modafferi’s journey to the UFC is a huge success story, and victory for her over Shevchenko would be absolutely massive for her career. Sadly, we just can’t see it happening.
Shevchenko – sister to reigning women’s flyweight champ Valentina – is just a little too seasoned to get caught by a Modafferi takedown and submission, and a little too good on the feet to allow her opponent a look-in during the stand-up exchanges.
We’re expecting a dominant Shevchenko victory and we really like the look of the 5/1 available for her to score KO/TKO victory.
Bet of the bout: Shevchenko to win by KO/TKO – 5/1
Back the striker in ‘striker versus grappler’ match at 205lbs
Aside from being a commentator’s nightmare, the battle between Oleksiejczuk and Antigulov will see two of the light-heavyweight division’s more dangerous rising European prospects face off, with a shot at Top 15 opposition likely to await the winner.
Russian grappler Antigulov was riding a 14-fight win streak prior to his defeat in his last contest, while Polish striker Oleksiejczuk has finished each of his last four victims with strikes.
It’s a classic grappler versus striker matchup and based on what I’ve seen from both men so far in their careers, I’m leaning towards the striker here.
Oleksiejczuk has shown excellent footwork and some superb shot-selection in his fights, and if he can stay on the move, I fancy him to get the victory over Antigulov – who was finished by the brute power of Ion Cutelaba last time out.
Oleksiejczuk is more of a sniper, but his power is no less impressive, and I can see him catching Antigulov as the Russian looks to initiate a takedown.
Bet of the bout: Oleksiejczuk to win by KO/TKO – 10/11
* All odds correct at time of posting.