The Ultimate Fighting Championship returns to Russia this week for a heavyweight showdown that could determine who remains as one of the contenders to current UFC heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier.
UFC on ESPN+ 7: Overeem vs. Oleinik is topped by a heavyweight battle between friends and former training partners Alistair Overeem and Aleksei Oleinik.
UFC St. Petersberg Main Event: Alistair Overeem vs. Aleksei Oleinik
Though Overeem (44-17, 1NC) dropped back-to-back bouts to Francis Ngannou and Curtis Blaydes before rebounding with knockout victory over Sergey Pavlovich, a victory over Oleinik would keep his name etched at the top of the division. Overeem has been at or near the top of the heavyweight class for the better part of two decades, but at 38 years of age, he’s not done just yet.
Oleinik has flown somewhat under the radar for much of his career, but at 41, he has amassed a 57-11-1 record over his nearly 23-year career. Perhaps most impressive is the fact that he has submitted 45 of the 57 opponents he has defeated.
Overeem, however, has only been submitted one time in his career, that being a Kimura submission loss to former UFC heavyweight champion Fabricio Werdum 13 years ago. Oleinik has also admitted that he was unable to submit Overeem when they trained together.
It’s a bout that harkens back to the days of the grappler vs. the striker, promising one of the more interesting heavyweight match-ups that we’ve seen in some time.
UFC St. Petersberg Feature Fight: Antonina Shevchenko vs. Roxanne Modafferi
The card also features the first UFC women’s bout in Russia, as Roxanne Modafferi squares off with Antonina Shevchenko in a flyweight contest.
Modafferi (22-15) is a pioneer of mixed martial arts having fought nearly as long as Overeem and Oleinik. At 36 years of age, she’s just hitting her stride. Though her overall Octagon record is just 3-3, Modafferi has added a depth of striking to her game that had been lacking in the past. She remains one of the toughest challenges on the women’s side of the sport and appears at home in the flyweight division.
Though Shevchenko is nearly the same age – she’s 34 – her depth is at kickboxing, where she has spent years fighting at the championship level. She is only seven fights into her MMA career, but has won all seven bouts including a victory over Jaymee Nievara on Dana White’s Contender Series and a win against Ji Yeon Kim on The Ultimate Fighter 28 Finale fight card. Modaferri will be a true measuring stick of where Shevchenko stands in the division that is currently topped by her sister, Valentina.
Oddsmakers at MMAWeekly.com odds partner MyBookie on Friday, Overeem is the heavy favorite to take the victory in the main event. MyBookie has him at -240, while Oleinik is +200.
Despite Modafferi’s vast advantage in MMA experience, oddsmakers have her a heavy underdog. MyBookie has Shevchenko at -345, while Modafferi is at +270. Only one fighter on the card is more heavily favored. (If you’d like to wager on the fight, use the promo code MMAWEEKLY to get a 50-percent sign-up bonus at MyBookie.)
UFC on ESPN+ 7: Overeem vs. Oleinik Betting Odds
- Alistair Overeem: -240 vs. Aleksei Oleinik: +200
- Antonina Shevchenko: -345 vs. Roxanne Modafferi: +270
If you’d like to take a closer look at the UFC on ESPN+ 7 betting lines and prop bets or any of the other MyBookie odds, be sure to use the promo code MMAWEEKLY if you sign up to get your 50-percent sign-up bonus.