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In a pivotal matchup between heavyweight contenders, it was Alistair Overeem who reigned supreme in the main event of UFC Fight Night 149 on Saturday night in St. Petersburg, Russia.
Overeem (45-17, 1 NC) appeared to play possum on multiple occasions in the contest as Alexey Oleynik hammered him with punches to the head and body routinely. A loopy overhand right to the head wobbled “The Demolition Man” early in the first round and Oleynik pounced.
“The Boa Constrictor” unleashed a tempest of punches while Overeem covered up, only to unfurl his trademark knees. This pattern continued for most of the stanza, with Overeem firing knees to the body with his back to the cage while the Russian teed off on him.
Finally, with Oleynik (57-12-1) fading from his massive punch output, Overeem tied him up and then connected with a right knee to the head. The strike buckled Oleynik’s knees and he crumbled onto his back. The Dutch fighter jumped on Oleynik and slowly dished out punches and elbows from on top until veteran referee Marc Goddard finally intervened, ending the contest 4:45 into the first.
Makhachev Earns Decision in Grappling-Heavy Bout
In a matchup of two Russian lightweights it was a matter of who landed more takedowns. Islam Makhachev went toe-toe-toe with Arman Tsarukyan for three full rounds in a duel of high-level grapplers, but his wrestling prowess shined through en route to a unanimous decision win.
Ysarukyan (13-2) landed a few decent strikes on the feet, but he spent most of the fight trying to take his opponent down. Tsarukyan landed just one, but Makhachev (17-1) quintupled his output and that was the key to victory. With Tsarukyan withering under the pressure down the stretch, Makhachev took him down twice and sealed his fate.
In the end, two cageside judges favored Makhachev 30-27 and the third had it 29-28, allowing him to walk away with a hard-fought victory.
Pavlovich Tees Off On Golm
Heavyweight contender Sergei Pavlovich (13-1) was impressive in dismantling Marcelo Golm in the opening frame. The two traded bombs as soon as the duel commenced, but it was a loopy overhand right that was the beginning of the end for Golm.
The Brazilian (6-3) stumbled into the fence once the missile connected and Pavlovich immediately pounced on him with a storm of follow-up punches. Golm tried to fight his way off the fence, but the Russian was all over him, slamming punches from all angles. Finally, a right uppercut connected and Golm was out cold, ending the fight in just 66 seconds, giving Pavlovich his first win inside the Octagon.
Modafferi Too Much for Shevchenko
It was a battle of striking versus grappling and grappling won.
Longtime veteran Roxanne Modafferi (23-15) used a powerful clinch game and went 5-for-5 on her takedown attempts to offset former muay Thai world champion Antonina Shevchenko’s striking. “Pantera” was extremely effective with punches and kicks on her feet and she rocked “The Happy Warrior” with a laser-like left in the second, but Modafferi was relentless.
Modafferi controlled the fight on the ground and wound up thwarting most of what Shevchenko (7-1) tried on the feet. In the end, two of the three judges favored the American with a score of 29-28. The third judge had the same score for Shevchenko, which wasn’t enough and it allowed Modafferi to walk away the victor by split decision.
Jotko Bounces Back with Much-Needed Win
After losing three straight bouts, it was desperation time for Krzysztof Jotko.
In the opening bout of the main card on ESPN+, “Jotko 2.0” completely neutralized middleweight opponent Alen Amedovski for three rounds and won a lopsided unanimous decision. Jotko (20-4) landed several sharp punches and kicks on the feet, but his dominance came on the ground. The Pole scored takedowns in every round, and once off his feet, Amedovski (8-1) was like a fish out of water.
Jotko cut open the Macedonian’s head with elbows from side control and wiped him out on the canvas. Jotko never landed the finish, but he walked out of the Octagon with a victory via tallies of 30-25 and 30-26 (twice).
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