UFC Fight Night 136: Moscow takes place this weekend in Russia, headlined by two veteran MMA fighters with Mark Hunt taking on Russian Aleksei Oleinik.
In a matchup made with contrasting styles, this heavyweight showdown should make for an intriguing fight. Mark Hunt should need no introduction to MMA fans, the ever popular Samoan, has taken on the best heavyweights over the years, a former K1 Grand Prix champion, he prefers the fights to remain standing.
Oleinik, on the other hand, is happiest taking the fight to the ground or using dirty boxing while in the clinch, looking for a takedown opportunity. Oleinik also has a submission in his repertoire that most fighters don’t use, the Ezekiel choke. This choke is seldom seen during MMA fights however Oleinik has recorded victories twice already with this choke in his UFC career.
For a man who has competed in MMA for over 20 years and with 68 fights to his name, it’s not an easy task to pick 3 top fights. The 41-year-old has fought for promotions such as UFC, Bellator, KSW, and M1. He won the KSW 8 tournament back in 2007. However, it would be hard to pick anything out with the UFC to look at his best performances. A lot of his fights were held in Russia against Russian opposition. He was defeated by Chael Sonnen losing a unanimous decision on a promotion called Bodog Fight: USA v Russia in 2006. He defeated Mirko Cro Cop in 2013 on a promotion called Legend winning by neck crank in the first round.
Without any further ado, let's look into the best fights of Aleksei Oleinik!
#1 Oleinik vs. Rosholt:
The first fight that could be mentioned here is when he faced Jared Rosholt in his second UFC fight in November 2014, he won this bout by first-round stoppage. This was not a common occurrence for Oleinik, only accomplished this on 6 occasions.
He won performance of the night At UFC 57 for this win. He caught Rosholt with the right hand, then Rosholt tried to clinch and Oleinik came in with a thunderous left knocking Rosholt out before he touched the canvas.
#2 Oleinik vs. Pesta:
After the Rosholt fight, Oleinik wouldn’t make a return until July 2016, a defeat against Daniel Omeilanczuk. He then returned in some style when he faced Viktor Pesta on January 15th, 2017 at UFC Fight Night 103.
Another UFC performance of the night bonus would make its way to Oleinik after his 1st round Ezekiel choke submission win over Pesta. The Ezekiel choke is uncommon as it is, however, this one was executed while Oleinik was on the bottom in Pesta’s full mount, it is rarely ever seen in this position without the use of a gi.
This was voted the number one best submission of the year for 2017.
#3 Oleinik vs. Albini:
Oleinik would fight a further two times, a win against Travis Browne and a defeat against Curtis Blaydes, before he took on Junior Albini on May 12th, 2018, at UFC 224.
This was another 1st round victory and another Ezekiel choke submission, this again earned him the performance of the night. This submission has been voted 3rd best so far of 2018. So far the only person with two Ezekiel chokes in the UFC.
What made it more impressive was that Albini had caught Oleinik early in the 1st round and cut him then cut the other side of his face a minute or so later, with blood pouring down his face Oleinik somehow managed to pull the choke off. Before Oleinik’s arrival in the UFC, the Ezekiel choke had never been used to finish a fight before, Oleinik now has two. He has recorded eleven Ezekiel choke wins in his entire career.
Can the 41-year-old pull off another Ezekiel choke against the formidable Mark Hunt? We will have to tune into UFC Fight Night 136 to find out.