But in the fight itself, lo and behold, Oleinik had his moments. His overhand right stung Overeem on the feet, and if he handt been so concerned with getting a takedown he might have avoided sticking his face right in clinch knee range.
Nurmagomedov would likely have been cornering Makhachev, were it not for his suspension by the Nevada State Athletic Commission for the mass melee following his submission win over Conor McGregor in Las Vegas in October.
Alistair Overeem bludgeons Aleksei Oleinik to earn first round TKO at UFC Russia main event
One thing Overeem has after all this time is patience and cage savvy. He knows how to roll with the ebbs and flows of a fight, and he still has enough power and technique to make opponents pay for their impatience. If you mess up against the guy, youll get hurt. So hes still got that going for him. And whos to say just how much he might make of it, if given the chance?
‘The Eagle’ himself is expected to next land in the octagon in September, potentially in Abu Dhabi, against interim lightweight champ Dustin Poirier, who recently outpointed Max Holloway at UFC 236.
Khabib in the house! UFC lightweight king watches octagon action in St. Petersburg
Aleksei Oleinik, Alistair Overeem, Antonia Shevchenko, Arman Tsarukyan, Breaking, Islam Makhachev, Marcelo Golm, Roxanne Modafferi, Sergei Pavlovich, UFC on ESPN+ 7, News, UFC
As the action progressed, Khabib joined the crowd as attention turned towards Makhachev’s bout against dangerous UFC debutant Tsarukyan.
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.
UFC St. Petersburg: Recap the action as Alistair Overeem finishes Aleksei Oleinik in Russia
While Oleinik accepted the fight on short notice after Overeems original opponent Alexander Volkov fell off the card, he still made a strong showing for himself even in defeat.
Video: UFC St. Petersburg: Alistair Overeem Octagon Interview
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.
Alistair Overeem Not Focused On Title Shot, Targets September Return
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.
Alistair Overeem explains why hes not ready to start talking about title shots just yet
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 wasnt 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.
Whats next for UFC St. Petersburg main event fighters?
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.
Video: Alistair Overeem Top 5 Knockouts
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.
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.
Makhachev’s (17-1 MMA, 6-1 UFC) five-fight UFC winning streak in lightweight competition is tied for the fifth longest active streak in the division behind Tony Ferguson (11), Khabib Nurmagomedov (10), Gregor Gillespie (six) and Mairbek Taisumov (six).
Now Overeem has rattled off two wins in a row, both by TKO, and hes looking forward to keeping that momentum going with a potential matchup against the main he was supposed to face on Saturday in Russia.
A long time ago, at UFC 156, Overeem was being groomed as the next challenge for Cain Velasquez. All he had to do was beat Antonio Silva and he would punch his ticket. He rolled up to the Mandalay Bay Events Center like he was there for bottle service. Twenty-five seconds into the third round he was flattened by Silvas Thing-like fists, and his nostrils flared at the smelling salts. Since then he has been blasted by Travis Browne and Ben Rothwell, brutally KOd by Miocic, posterized by Ngannou and left for dead by Curtis Blaydes. He has been in the proximity of a title for years, but theres been hammers flying at him, anvils, ham hocks. He didnt get out of the way of all of them.
Well I was originally scheduled to fight Alexander Volkov, Overeem said. The fight did not happen tonight but Im very open to that fight in the future.
Share Share As for the resilient Alistair Overeem, you can tell a lot by a mans smirk tweet share Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports If were being honest, Saturdays main event in St. Petersburg wasnt the most fetching affair, but theres something about Alistair Overeems laissez-faire attitude that shouldnt be ignored. This time it was Alexey Oleynik surprising Reem with a big shot fairly early on, a shot that sent him careening towards the fence. Oleynik followed his hulk and started to unleash what can only be considered a 41-year-old grapplers version of hell, hard thudding shots that — to any casual viewer — seemed to signal trouble.