For just the second time in promotional history, the UFC travels to Russia.
In the main event, former Strikeforce heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem (44-17 MMA, 9-6 UFC) takes on Alexey Oleynik (57-11-1 MMA, 6-2 UFC). Between them, Overeem and Oleynik have a combined 131 MMA bouts on their professional records.
Let’s take a look at the last three results of the two men in Saturday night’s main event:
Overeem rebounded from emphatic back-to-back TKO/KO defeats against Francis Ngannou and Curtis Blaydes with a first-round TKO victory over the previously undefeated Sergey Pavlovich in November.
This will be the second time Overeem has fought in St Petersburg, having defeated Sergey Kaznovsky via first-round submission back in 2002.
Oleynik rebounded from a TKO loss to Blaydes of his own with consecutive first-round submission wins against Júnior Albini and Mark Hunt, picking up a fight night bonus in each win.
No other fighter has finished a fight via Ezekiel choke in UFC history, but Oleynik has done so twice in UFC competition. Over his entire professional MMA career, Oleynik holds 11 submission victories via Ezekiel choke and 46 wins by submission in total.
Here’s a look at how these two fighters fared when competing against common opponents shared throughout their careers. On the left of the graphic, you’ll see how Overeem fared against any shared opponents and on the right, you’ll see Oleynik’s results against the same men.
The two men share four common opponents; Mirko Cro Cop, Travis Browne, Mark Hunt, and Curtis Blaydes.
Overeem’s fight against Cro Cop was declared a no contest after Overeem twice kneed the Croatian veteran below the belt back in 2008, whilst Oleynik defeated Filipović via first-round submission in 2013.
Overeem was unsuccessful against Browne, losing via a spectacular first-round KO, whilst Oleynik beat the Hawaiian via second-round submission.
Both Overeem and Oleynik defeated Hunt via first-round submission in two fights that took place over a decade apart, whilst Overeem also defeated Hunt via third-round KO in a 2017 rematch.
Both men suffered TKO defeats against Blaydes, Overeem’s loss coming in the third round whilst Oleynik’s came in the second.
The Dwyer Score
Each event, I calculate a ‘Dwyer Score’ for the card. It essentially gives a numeric value to the momentum of fighters competing at any one event. I do this by assigning a figure to each fighter’s current streak; a fighter on a five-fight winning streak contributes +5 to an event’s score, whilst a fighter on a two-fight losing streak contributes -2 to the score. Only UFC results are considered and a fighter coming off a no-contest, a draw, or a bout with another promotion has a streak of 0. When you tally up the scores for every fighter on a card, you get a total for the event- the ‘Dwyer Score.’ This score does not claim to predict or measure the quality or excitement of any one card, but it does give you an idea of the general momentum of fighters heading into a specific event. The graphic to the above-right displays some of the highest-scoring events of all time, to help give some context to this score.
UFC Fight Night 149: Alistair Overeem vs. Alexey Oleynik posts a score of +1.
This score ranks joint-34th out of 40 events in the last year and joint-19th out of 24 Fight Nights in the same time frame.
Here’s a look at how this score compares to other events’ scores over the past year:
As you can see, this score falls some way short of the +8.3 average for Fight Night events in the last year, as well as the +12.7 average for all events in the same period.
Let’s take a look at exactly how this score breaks down:
The highest individual contributor to the score is Islam Makhachev (+4), ahead of Alexey Oleynik and Shamil Abdurakhimov (both +2).
The lowest scorer is Krzysztof Jotko (-3), with Marcelo Golm and Alexander Yakovlev (both -2) close behind. Six fighters will make their promotional debuts on this card.
Enjoy the fights!