Essentially the most well-traveled Final Preventing Championship (UFC) veterans duke it out inside Yubileyny Sports activities Palace in Saint Petersburg, Russia, this Saturday (April 20, 2019) when Aleksei Oleinik faces Alistair Overeem in a match up that options greater than 120 mixed fights price of expertise. UFC Combat Evening 149’s co-main occasion sees blue-chip prospect Armen Tsarukyan face elite grinder Islam Makhachev, whereas unbeaten Mild Heavyweight Ivan “Ural Hulk” Shtyrkov debuts towards Devin Clark.
Six “Prelims” undercard bouts be a part of the principle card on ESPN+. Let’s take a look on the first three:
265 lbs.: Marcin Tybura vs. Shamil Abdurakhimov
Marcin Tybura (17-Four) — the previous M-1 Heavyweight champion — received three straight after an unsuccessful Octagon debut, together with a head kick knockout of Victor Pesta that secured the Polish veteran a spot in UFC spotlight reels for years to come back. He got here up quick in his first essential occasion towards Fabricio Werdum and suffered one among Derrick Lewis’ patented shock comebacks, however bought again on monitor in July 2018 with a choice over Stefan Struve.
“Tybur” can have two inches of attain on Shamil Abdurakhimov (19-Four).
Regardless of an upset loss to Timothy Johnson in his UFC debut, “Abrek” discovered himself in a essential occasion three fights later, succumbing to a late surge from the aforementioned Lewis. He’s since bounced again with an 84-second knockout of Chase Sherman and a choice over the light Andrel Arlovski.
He has scored eight skilled wins by type of knockout, although only one since 2011.
This combat goes to be very, very unhealthy. The place most Heavyweights both dazzle with early finishes or empty their gasoline tanks attempting, these guys take a 3rd choice and simply kinda cruise for 15-25 minutes as wanted. They’ll nonetheless end individuals, being enormous and all, however they’re in no hurry to take action.
Abdurakhimov is the higher offender, throwing 37 strikes in 4 rounds towards Derrick Lewis whereas touchdown simply 15, however he’s additionally, sadly, the sharper striker. He thrives towards sedate kickboxers and customarily has strong takedown protection whereas his gasoline tank holds up, which makes Tybura’s path to victory a murky one. Have been this 5 rounds, Abdurakhimov’s cardio points can be sufficient to have me leaning Tybura. As is, I say “Abrek” wins an agonizingly sluggish putting battle by way of slender choice.
Prediction: Abdurakhimov by way of break up choice
205 lbs.: Gadzhimurad Antigulov vs. Michal Oleksiejczuk
The berserker method of Gadzhimurad Antigulov (20-5) earned him two UFC submissions in a mixed Three:28 and a “Efficiency of the Evening” bonus on prime of that. Damage then saved him out of motion for 14 months, after which he misplaced a wild slugfest with Ion Cutelaba to snap a 14-fight win streak.
Seventeen of his 19 stoppage wins have come within the first spherical.
Michal Oleksiejczuk (13-2) survived an early onslaught from Khalil Rountree to win an upset choice, just for a failed United States Anti-Doping Company (USADA) take a look at to overturn the end result. Following his suspension, he returned to the cage in February, laying out Gian Villante with a bonus-winning physique shot simply 94 seconds into their combat.
Poland’s “Lord” is unbeaten in his final 11 fights, scoring eight knockouts alongside the way in which.
An Antigulov combat will go one among solely two methods: both he scores a right away takedown and locks up a submission inside three minutes or he gasses himself out attempting. Cutelaba — who boasts an insane gasoline tank and powerful takedown protection — managed to outlive the frenzy and smash him with punches. I’m not satisfied Oleksiejczuk can do the identical.
It’s uncommon to have the potential outcomes be so binary and so completely depending on one facet of a fighter’s recreation, particularly his takedown protection, however right here we’re. Antigulov’s dash shouldn’t be a mode that may ever win him a title, however towards somebody with out the instruments to deal with it, it’s rattling efficient. He wrangles the Pole to the mat within the opening seconds and goes ham on his neck till he will get the faucet.
Prediction: Antigulov by way of first-round submission
155 lbs.: Magomed Mustafaev vs. Rafael Fiziev
Magomed Mustafaev’s (13-Three) upset technical knockout of Abubakar Nurmagomedov made him a sizzling commodity when he entered UFC, and he lived as much as that hype with stoppages of Piotr Hallmann and Joe Proctor. Although he landed some gnarly physique kicks on Kevin Lee, his subsequent day out, he finally went to sleep from a rear bare choke late within the second spherical.
A number of accidents make this his first combat in 29 months.
The most recent monster out of Tiger Muay Thai, Rafael Fiziev (6-Zero) amassed a whole bunch of novice Muay Thai bouts and practically 50 skilled fights alongside his skilled combined martial arts (MMA) file. His time within the cage has seen him rating 5 first-round finishes and delicate viral fame for his slick protection. He was initially slated to look on “Contender Collection” final 12 months earlier than working into the identical visa points that plague teammate Mairbek Taisumov.
This might simply be “Combat of the Evening,” an unbelievable match up between two ferocious younger knockout artists who’ve by no means seen the third spherical in 21 mixed fights. I will probably be astounded if this isn’t a knockdown, drag-out slugfest.
Mustafaev’s struggles have traditionally come towards takedown specialists, which bodes properly on paper, however the stylistic match up seems tough for him. Fiziev thrives when opponents get overaggressive and his crisper punches appear to be a superb reply to Mustafaev’s massive swings, particularly because the latter’s timing could also be off after such an enormous layoff. Mustafaev can be smart to lean on his submission abilities, however his willingness to slug it out seems to be his undoing. Fiziev finds the mark with a dynamite proper hand as Mustafaev makes an attempt to brawl his means into the pocket.
Prediction: Fiziev by way of first-round knockout
Three extra UFC Combat Evening 149 “Prelims” undercard bouts stay to preview and predict, together with a 20-1 Brazilian and one among Russia’s finest prospects beneath 155 kilos. Identical time as all the time, Maniacs!
Keep in mind that MMAmania.com will ship LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow protection of your entire UFC Combat Evening 149 combat card this weekend, beginning with the ESPN+“Prelims” matches on-line, that are scheduled to start at 10 a.m. ET, earlier than the principle card begin time at 1 p.m. ET (additionally on ESPN+).
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