UFC Fight Night 149 Main Card
Alistair Overeem vs. Aleksei Oleynik
Oleynik comes into this fight on a couple of weeks’ notice to replace Alexander Volkov, but on the plus side he was already in training for a fight in a fortnight’s time.
Oleynik offers a different challenge than Volkov as he’s not nearly as versatile on the feet, but he does bring much more of a threat on the mat, being a submission specialist who earned his ‘Boa Constrictor’ nickname for his deadly chokes.
Overeem has pretty solid takedown defense though and is strong in the clinch, plus Oleynik has admitted that several years ago he trained with the Dutchman and came away empty-handed with his submission attempts, so he may well have to try and get the better of him on the feet, and that’s going to be tricky to pull off.
Certainly, ‘The Reem’s’ chin is suspect and Oleynik throws bombing hooks that could potentially finish the fight if he lands one clean, but it’s not his forte and Overeem should have a distinct striking advantage here and I like him to find a finish before the championship rounds here.
Prediction: Alistair Overeem wins by TKO in Rd3 – Bet Now
Islam Makhachev vs. Arman Tsarukyan
Makhachev finally started to gain a little momentum in 2018, getting two fights under his belt for the first time since 2015, and with four wins in a row under his belt in the UFC, 2019 could be the year he finally breaks through to become a bigger name.
However, this is a potential banana skin for him as Tsarukyan is a UFC newcomer who at just 22 years of age has already amassed a 13-1 record and is coming off wins over ex-UFC fighters Junior Assuncao and Felipe Oliveiri.
The two fighters are actually fairly similar being that they are a threat on the feet while backing that up with strong wrestling, but at 27-years-old, Makhachev has the experience advantage and his skill-set will prove to be a little more robust at this level, particularly with his wrestling, as he works his way to a decision victory.
Prediction: Islam Makhachev wins by decision – Bet Now
Marcelo Golm vs. Sergei Pavlovich
Two lower tier heavyweights on show here, though to be fair, Pavlovich had a tough debut being immediately paired up with Overeem last time out, so there’s still time for him to establish himself in the division.
This fight offers a good chance to do that, though Golm was a heavy hitter on the Brazilian regional scene, even if he was faltered since stepping up to UFC level competition.
Still, Pavlovich is also packs a punch and is the better striker of the two and I think he’ll play it safe here and just look to outpoint him for a decision victory.
Prediction: Sergei Pavlovich wins by decision – Bet Now
Devin Clark vs. Ivan Shtyrkov
Shtyrkov makes his debut on Saturday night and he certainly looks the part, with one of the most ridiculously muscular physiques you’ll find on the roster.
As you might expect just by looking at him, Shtyrkov has plenty of power in his punches, but his strength also makes him difficult to bring down and he’s a submission threat when the fight does hit the mat.
Clark hasn’t made a significant impact in the UFC to date, being a decent athlete with reasonable wrestling, but he’s not got the best chin and has holes in his grappling defence too.
Shtyrok’s hulking frame and propensity for power shots means he tends to burn himself out quickly, so Clark could look to outlast him here, but I think he’ll get stopped before he makes it that far.
Prediction: Ivan Shtyrkov wins by TKO in Rd1 – Bet Now
Roxanne Modafferi vs. Antonina Shevchenko
As the sister of current flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko, expectations are high for Antonina, who is currently 7-0 in her MMA career.
Shevchenko has a strong muay thai game and works effectively from range and is effective on the counter and in the clinch.
Meanwhile, Modafferi is a wily veteran who has made the most of her career despite being very limited physically and athletically, being crafty on the mat and having done her best to improve her striking.
Modafferi can be awkward to deal with but I feel Shevchenko should be able to dictate the striking action here and use her strong clinch work to keep her game opponent from being able to repeatedly get her to the mat.
Shevchenko’s not a big finisher though, so I’d expect her to just establish a clear lead in terms of strikes landed en-route to a decision victory here.
Prediction: Antonina Shevchenko to win by decision – Bet Now
Alen Amedovski vs. Krzysztof Jotko
Amedovski comes in on only a few weeks notice to fight Jotko, whose been struggling to get a win recently in the UFC, losing three fights in a row after a five-fight winning streak.
Despite his disappointing run of late I think this is a fight that Jotko should be able to grab by the scruff of the neck, being a distinct step down from the recent calibre of fighter he’s been going up against.
Amedovski is a big puncher and is coming off a couple of swift first round knockout wins in the Bellator promotion, but he’s going to find Jotko much tougher to deal with and find himself being grounded and outgrappled by the superior wrestler for three rounds here.
Prediction: Krzysztof Jotko to win by decision – Bet Now
UFC Fight Night 149 Prelims
(Predicted winners in bold)
Movsar Evloev vs. Muin Gafurov
Sultan Aliev vs. Keita Nakamura
Alex da Silva vs. Alexander Yakovlev
Shamil Abdurakhimov vs. Marcin Tybura
Gadzhimurad Antigulov vs. Michal Oleksiejczuk
Rafael Fiziev vs. Magomed Mustafaev