Alistair Overeem had no problem traveling into enmy territory and walking out with his second straight first round finish.
On Saturday. Overeem faced local favorite Aleksei Oleinik in the main event at UFC Fight Night from Saint Petersburg, Russia, which was actually his third appearance competing in the country during his storied fight career.
While Oleinik accepted the fight on short notice after Overeem’s original opponent Alexander Volkov fell off the card, he still make a strong showing for himself even in defeat.
Known best for his suffocating submission game, Oleinik almost immediately pulled guard when the fight started as he looked to apply one of his infamous Ezekiel chokes but Overeem was wise to the strategy before working his way back to the feet.
Recognized as one of the most accomplished strikers in MMA history as a former K-1 Grand Prix champion, Overeem showed power and patience while facing some truly wild attacks from Oleinik on the feet.
Time after time, Oleinik would just dive forward while throwing a massive overhand right and he appeared to clip Overeem early in the opening round, sending him backwards against the cage. Oleinik followed up with a barrage of punches but as Overeem covered up it was clear that he wasn’t absorbing any damage but rather allowing his opponent to zap his strength by putting everything into those combinations in an ill-fated attempt to get the finish.
When Overeem finally decided to return fire, he blasted Oleinik with huge bombs on the feet while constantly setting up the strikes that would bring an end to the contest.
With Oleinik constantly pressuring forward into the clinch, Overeem took advantage by grabbing onto his head and then bringing up a devastating series of knee strikes.
KNEES by @AlistairOverem! pic.twitter.com/Rj9OsIaU4X
— UFC (@ufc) April 20, 2019
After a few glancing shots, Overeem finally began connecting flush and one final knee strike dropped Oleinick to the ground as he fell to his back just trying to survive. Overeem followed up with a series of punches, hammer fists and one final elbow that finally did enough for referee Marc Goddard to step in and stop the fight.
#TheReem with the first round finish!@AlistairOvereem #UFCStPetersburg pic.twitter.com/T6r1f3WcoP
— UFC (@ufc) April 20, 2019
The end came at 4:45 into the opening round.
Overeem had suffered through a tough stretch in his career just recently after dropping back to back knockout losses to Francis Ngannou and Curtis Blaydes but a change in training camps and a move to Denver have rejuvenated the former UFC title contender.
Now Overeem has rattled off two wins in a row, both by TKO, and he’s looking forward to keeping that momentum going with a potential matchup against the main he was supposed to face on Saturday in Russia.
“Well I was originally scheduled to fight Alexander Volkov,” Overeem said. “The fight did not happen tonight but I’m very open to that fight in the future.”