UFC St. Petersburg: ‘The Demolition Man’ lives up to his billing in Russia

What next for Overeem?

Alistair Overeem

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Dutch heavyweight finisher Alistair ‘The Demolition Man’ Overeem soaked up a ton of early punishment, then exploded into life to finish Russian submission specialist Aleksei Oleinik in the main event of UFC Fight Night in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Oleinik appeared to stun Overeem with strikes early on, and poured on the pressure as he battered the Dutchman to the body as he covered up against the cage.

It wasn’t exactly Muhammad Ali versus George Foreman, but Overeem’s decision to lean back against the fence and ship a load of punishment proved to be a shrewd one.

That’s because, as Oleinik started to slow, Overeem took over. He locked up the Muay Thai clinch that has been so successful for him in his fights during his career and went to work with a succession of punishing knees.

Eventually, Overeem’s Muay Thai attack proved too much for Oleinik, who dropped to the canvas and covered up as ‘The Demolition Man’ finished him off with ground strikes.

It was a superb finish, and one that puts Overeem right back in the mix at the top of the heavyweight division. But rather than call for one of the division’s title challengers for his next fight, Overeem said he’d like to fight the man he was originally scheduled to face in St. Petersburg – Russia’s Alexander ‘Drago’ Volkov.

MAKHACHEV WANTS TOP OPPOSITION

Rising Russian lightweight prospect – and teammate of UFC lightweight champ Khabib Nurmagomedov – Islam Makhachev battled past gritty debutant Armen Tsarukyan to earn a unanimous decision win, then called on the UFC to give him a shot at ranked opposition in his next fight.

Makhachev was made to work by Tsarukyan, who surprised almost everyone with his level of grappling, as well as his sheer persistence and toughness. It made the night’s co-main event a thoroughly entertaining back-and-forth affair. And while Makhachev may not have earned the win in as dominant a fashion as he would have liked, his performance was still good enough to get the nod from all three judges.

MODAFFERI SHOCKS SHEVCHENKO

Prior to this fight, we said that Shevchenko’s world-class Muay Thai striking would help her past the dogged determination of Roxanne Modafferi. Well, we were wrong.

Modafferi fought like a woman possessed as she walked through Shevchenko’s best strikes and imposed her will on the Kyrgysztan athlete, taking her to the mat and dominating on the ground. It was a defining performance in Modafferi’s career against arguably the toughest opponent of her career.

And despite a brief scare when one judge awarded the fight to Shevchenko, “The Happy Warrior” was indeed left happy as she earned a well-deserved split-decision victory.

PAVLOVICH BOUNCES BACK

Sergey Pavlovich arrived in the UFC with a big reputation and big expectations, but when he was matched with Alistair Overeem for his debut it proved too much, too soon for the Russian as he suffered his first career defeat.

But in St. Petersburg he bounced back in superb style as he demolished Brazilian Marcelo Golm with a thumping uppercut to score the victory in just 66 seconds.

That win will help boost Pavlovich’s confidence once again, and you can expect him to feature in another European card later this year.

UFC ST. PETERSBURG RESULTS

MAIN CARD

Alistair Overeem def Alexei Oleinik via TKO (knees and punches), Round 1
Islam Makhachev def Arman Tsarukyan via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Sergei Pavlovich def Marcelo Golm via KO (punches), Round 1
Roxanne Modafferi def Antonina Shevchenko via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Krzysztof Jotko def Alen Amedovski via unanimous decision (30-25, 30-26, 30-26)

PRELIMS

Movsar Evloev def Seung Woo Choi via unanimous decision (29-27, 29-27, 29-26)
Sultan Aliev def Keita Nakamura via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Alexander Yakovlev def Alex da Silva Coelho via submission (modified guillotine choke), Round 2
Shamil Abdurakhimov def Marcin Tybura via TKO (punches), Round 2
Michal Oleksiejczuk def Gadzhimurad Antigulov via KO (punches), Round 1
Magomed Mustafaev def Rafael Fiziev via TKO (spinning back-kick and punches), Round 1

Find a full range of MMA odds over at paddypower.com

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