Weekend Warrior: Alistair Overeem and Aleksei Oleinik Battle It Out in Russia

Alistair Overeem. Photo: Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC / Contributor (Getty Images)

Only a select few heavyweights can match Alistair Overeem in terms of accomplishment, and yet, an Ultimate Fighting Championship title continues to elude the former Dream, Strikeforce and K-1 World Grand Prix champion.

On Saturday, Overeem draws another high-profile assignment, as he will lock horns with Russian submission savant Aleksei Oleinik in the UFC Fight Night 149 headliner at Yubileyny Sports Complex in St. Petersburg, Russia. Meanwhile, surging lightweight contender Islam Makhachev meets organizational newcomer Arman Tsarukyan in the three-round co-main event at 155 pounds.

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The nomadic Overeem has linked arms with the Elevation Fight Team in Denver. Now 38, he last competed at UFC Fight Night 141 in November, when he cut down Sergei Pavlovich with first-round punches and improved his record within the promotion to 9-6. Overeem has tested and beaten many of the great heavyweights of his generation, from Igor Vovchanchyn, Sergei Kharitonov and Frank Mir to Mark Hunt, Junior dos Santos and Fabricio Werdum (twice). “The Demolition Man” has delivered 39 of his 44 professional victories by knockout, technical knockout or submission.

Alistair Overeem

Photo: Christian Petersen/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC (Getty Images)

Oleinik started his MMA career in 1996 and has been a model of consistency ever since, as he has never lost more than two fights in a row. The 41-year-old grappler earned the International Master of Sport designation in combat sambo and holds the rank of black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu under Ricardo Liborio. Oleinik sports 45 submission wins on his resume, including the only two Ezekiel choke finishes in UFC history. He has six sub-minute stoppages to his credit, further evidence of his potent offensive skills.

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Aleksei Oleinik

Aleksei Oleinik. Photo: Buda Mendes/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC (Getty Images)

UFC Fight Night 149 “Overeem vs. Oleinik”—which streams live to ESPN+ at 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT—also features a heavyweight clash pairing Sergei Pavlovich with Marcelo Golm, a light heavyweight tilt pitting Ivan Shtyrkov against Devin Clark, a women’s flyweight battle matching Roxanne Modafferi with Antonina Shevchenko and a middleweight confrontation slotting Krzysztof Jotko opposite Alen Amedovski. ESPN+ will also carry the entire six-fight undercard, starting at 10:15 a.m. ET/7:15 a.m. PT.

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