UFC Fight Night 149 - Saint Petersburg Breakdown & Predictions
When is UFC Fight Night 149? Saturday 20th April, 2019 - 16:00 start (UK)
Where is UFC Fight Night 149? Yubileyny Sports Palace, Saint Petersburg, Russia
What channel is UFC Fight Night 149 on? BT Sport ESPN
Where can I stream UFC Fight Night 149? BT Sport subscribers can stream the fight online via the BT Sport website
Are tickets still available for UFC Fight Night 149? http://uk.ufc.com/event-ticket-info?utm_source=ufc&utm_medium=tab&utm_campaign=tickets
Alistair Overeem vs Alexey Oleynik
Well-travelled legend of the sport Alistair Overeem headlines the first UFC card in Saint Petersburg, with fellow veteran Alexey Oleynik after Alexander Volkov had to pull out.
Overeem is a true warrior who takes fight after fight in the hunt for another shot at the heavyweight championship. This will be his 63rd MMA fight off the back of a successful Kickboxing career and he is still hanging in there with the best heavyweights in the sport. After beating Mark Hunt and Fabricio Werdum, he suffered devastating knockouts to Francis Ngannou and Curtis Blaydes but bounced back in vintage Overeem fashion by starching the feared striker Sergei Pavlovich who is also on the card.
Oleynik has pounced on the opportunity to fight in Russia and take on a legend. With a record to match, ‘The Boa Constrictor’ has had 69 fights with a staggering 45 submission wins. Oleynik is a master of his craft, as very few fighters achieve 45 fights in a career let alone submissions, and he has showcased these skills at UFC level with five submissions from his six UFC wins. He has truly lived up to his nickname as he has a unique ability of wrapping opponents up with his arms and is an expert in the rare ezekiel choke and Scarf-hold headlock.
Overeem is known for his striking abilities but he has 17 submission wins of his own, and Oleynik can bang with eight knockout wins, but this will turn into a classic striker versus grappler match-up.
Overeem will be focusing on his takedown defence in this camp and will come out in his newly adopted patient style in search of the knockout. Oleynik has a measly takedown accuracy but he will be persistent in his attempts.
Overeem has the skills to defend the takedown and he has the best significant striking accuracy in the UFC (73.1%) so Oleynik cannot afford to make a mistake. However, the same can be said for Overeem who needs to keep the distance at all costs. Oleynik only needs to wrap his arms around his opponents to set up a choke – even on the feet or when opponents are in full mount to cinch an ezekiel choke.
Despite Oleynik’s skills, Overeem should be too experienced to fall into the Russian’s grasp and over five rounds you would back him to find the knockout.
Winner: Overeem via KO/TKO
Sergei Pavlovich vs Marcelo Golm
Sergei Pavlovich is hoping to bounce back from his devastating debut loss to Alistair Overeem back in November. The Russian powerhouse was sitting pretty on 12 wins without a loss, earning a call up to the UFC, but received a baptism of fire when he swallowed the vicious ground-and-pound of the veteran striker.
He welcomes Marcelo Golm to Russia who is also desperate to get back to winning ways after suffering his first two career losses. After submitting Christian Colombo on his UFC debut, Golm lost two unanimous decisions to Timothy Johnson and Arjan Bhullar.
This fight will not last long as they are two heavy-hitting knockout artists desperate for a win. Take their fight stats with a pinch of salt as Pavlovich’s stats are only based off his one-sided fight with Overeem. What is hard to miss is their combined 14 knockouts out of their 18 wins, this is what we can expect in Saint Petersburg.
Their strike defence will have to improve to stand a chance and although Golm has never been finished, the brutish power of Pavlovich is likely to hand him his first UFC win.
Winner: Pavlovich via KO/TKO
Islam Makhachev vs Arman Tsarukyan
Islam Makhachev makes his seventh UFC appearance and is hoping to string together a fifth win in a row. After winning his UFC debut, Makhachev got knocked out by Adriano Martins but he has looked exceptional since, with decisions over Chris Wade and Nik Lentz, before knocking out Gleison Tibau and submitting Kajan Johnson.
Makhachev welcomes Arman Tsarukyan for his UFC debut who has a similar record but boasts a more impressive winning streak of 12, with nine finishes. After fighting for a variety of promotions, Tsarukyan finally gets his call up to the UFC hoping to put his name on the map, but this is an extremely tough test.
Tsarukyan is a UFC-calibre fighter and, on paper, these guys match-up well, but this is a huge step-up in competition for Tsarukyan. He is a tremendous grappler and with powerful, technical striking he has the making of a legitimate threat in the stacked lightweight division.
However, Makhachev has the grappling and striking to match, boasting the least significant strikes absorbed per minute in UFC history (0.74). This will be a close contest but the crucial UFC experience of Makhachev should be enough to a edge a decision.
Winner: Makhachev via Decision
Ivan Shtyrkov vs Devin Clark
Ivan ‘Ural Hulk’ Shtyrkov steps in for Abdul-Kerim Edilov as he makes his UFC debut, putting his unbeaten record on the line. He is coming off his two best career wins over former UFC fighters – Fabio Maldonado and Thiago Silva. Maldonado is made out of granite but Shtyrkov managed to finish him in the second round and then he went on to submit the dangerous and experienced Silva but he now needs to pass the UFC test and USADA test for that matter.
Devin Clark is his assignment, coming off a tough TKO loss to Aleksandar Rakic. Clark looked very promising as he started his career in the UFC but has struggled with the step-up in competition, suffering three losses out of his six UFC fights.
Clark is a solid wrestler and he will be wise to leverage these skills to try and keep Shtyrkov on the ground. ‘Ural Hulk’ is immensely strong and has the knockout power to end the fight with one strike. He has fought around 240 lbs but is dropping down to 205 lbs and Clark is a powerful and big light heavyweight in his own right so he will look to mix up his boxing with his wrestling to slow Shtyrkov down.
Clark has the ability to grind out a decision but Shtyrkov has too many weapons and his power is likely to lead to a finish, whether that be a knockout or a submission.
Winner: Shtyrkov via KO/TKO
Roxanne Modaferri vs Antonina Shevchenko
Roxanne Modafferi is the embodiment of her nickname, ‘The Happy Warrior’, but she will have to leave her pleasant nature at home and tap into full warrior mode to get the better of Antonina Shevchenko. Modafferi made her debut all the way back in 2003 but has never quite matched the competition in the UFC. She won her first UFC fight in July 2018 against Barb Honchak but was outclassed by Sijara Eubanks in her last outing.
The elder sister of the current flyweight champion Valentina, Antonina Shevchenko also has martial arts in her blood. After a very successful Muay Thai and Kickboxing career, she has tried her hand at MMA and is yet to taste defeat after seven fights, coming off her UFC debut win against Ji Yeon Kim.
Modafferi is the more experienced MMA fighter but Shevchenko is the more talented. Modafferi will look to call upon that experience to avoid the stand-up skills of the Muay Thai and Kickboxing veteran and use her wrestling to take the fight to the ground.
However, like her sister, Shevchenko is extremely well-rounded and is also a competent grappler. She is likely to use these skills to keep the fight on the feet and display her striking prowess and, considering Modafferi’s liability to absorbing shots, Shevchenko can cause enough damage to end the fight or at least a decision.
Winner: Shevchenko via Decision
Krzysztof Jotko vs Alen Amedovski
Krzysztof Jotko is on a skid and travels to Saint Petersburg fighting for his UFC career. The Pole has lost three in a row which has dented his impressive record. Jotko only lost once in 20 fights before his recent dip and that included seven UFC fights. Looking like a real prospect in the middleweight division, he met David Branch and just missed out on a split decision and then went on to get knocked out by Uriah Hall and Brad Tavares.
Alen Amedovski steps up for his UFC debut to pour more misery on Jotko. The Macedonian is 8-0 having knocked out all of his victims. After winning his two Bellator fights he got the UFC call up and, although he is up against a fighter with three losses on the bounce, Jotko will be his toughest fight to date.
The game plan for Amedovski will be clear and that will be to hunt the chin but he will need a strategy instead of simply relying on his brute force. A knockout is very likely but knowing his UFC career is in the balance, Jotko will approach this carefully to nullify the strengths of the debutant.
He has all the skills to finish the fight but Jotko is likely to call upon his grappling to grind a decision.
Winner: Jotko via Decision
Striking and grappling stats sourced via FightMetric.