Toughness and technique buoyed Alexey Oleynik once more.
The 41-year-old submission savant waded through a stream of vicious low kicks to dispatch 2001 K-1 World Grand Prix winner Mark Hunt with a rear-naked choke in the first round of their UFC Fight Night 136 headliner on Saturday at Olimpiysky Arena in Moscow. Hunt bowed out 4:26 into Round 2, “The Super Samoan” falling to 13-13-1 for his career.
Oleynik ran into considerable difficulty at the start. Hunt blasted his lead leg with thudding kicks that impacted his mobility and made the aptly named “Boa Constrictor” something of a stationary target for one of the most accomplished strikers in the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s heavyweight division. Perhaps sensing his time was dwindling, Oleynik scrambled for a takedown, swooped onto Hunt’s back, secured his position and cinched the choke. It was his 45th submission victory as a professional.
In the aftermath of UFC Fight Night “Hunt vs. Oleynik,” here are five matches that ought to be made:
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Alexey Oleynik vs. Marcin Tybura: Considering his advanced age and limited skill set, Oleynik does not figure to reach the top of the heavyweight division. However, he can make it difficult for those on their way up the ladder. Oleynik has quietly compiled a 7-2 record since linking arms with the UFC in 2014, losing only to Daniel Omielanczuk and Curtis Blaydes across his nine appearances inside the Octagon. Tybura last competed at UFC Fight Night 134 on July 22, when the former M-1 Global champion cruised to a unanimous decision over Stefan Struve at the Barclaycard Arena in Hamburg, Germany.
Jan Blachowicz vs. Volkan Oezdemir-Anthony Smith winner: Blachowicz kept his place in line at 205 pounds, as he submitted the returning Nikita Krylov with a second-round arm-triangle choke in the light heavyweight co-main event. Nearing a state of unconsciousness, Krylov bowed out 2:41 into Round 2. Blachowicz conceded a takedown in the first round but escaped an ill-advised guillotine attempt from the Ukrainian, moved into top position and used stifling positional control to turn the tide in his favor. He countered an ankle lock from Krylov in the second round, advanced to side control and caught the fight-ending choke when “The Miner” exposed his back. Oezdemir and Smith will square off in the UFC Fight Night 138 headliner on Oct. 27.
Alexey Kunchenko vs. Curtis Millender: The unbeaten Kunchenko was successful in his Octagon debut, as the former M-1 Global champion withstood a series of hellacious leg kicks and outboxed Thiago Alves to a unanimous decision in their three-round welterweight showcase. The win pushed the 34-year-old Russian’s perfect record to 19-0. Kunchenko did his best work in the third round, where he swarmed Alves with power punches, mixed in a takedown and set a punishing pace. It was enough to warrant favor from the judges, who struck 30-27, 29-28 and 29-28 scorecards on his behalf. Millender finds himself on an eight-fight winning streak after recording a unanimous decision against Max Griffin at UFC 226 on July 7.
Petr Yan vs. Sean O'Malley-Jose Alberto Quinonez winner: Yan extended his streak of consecutive victories to five with a unanimous decision over the seemingly unbreakable Jin Soo Son in a preliminary bantamweight affair. Scores were 30-27, 30-27 and 29-28, all for the Tiger Muay Thai prospect. Yan unleashed heavy kicks and shredding punching combinations, only to watch the sadistic South Korean newcomer shrug, smile and ask for more. “No Mercy” obliged, maintained his composure and continued to pile up points with crisp punches, including a spinning backfist that brought the crowd to a boil in the third round. O’Malley and his perfect 10-0 record will square off with Quinonez at UFC 229 on Oct. 6 in Las Vegas.
Mairbek Taisumov vs. Alexander Hernandez: A hyperactive kicking game, suffocating pressure and high-volume offense carried Taisumov to a unanimous decision over Desmond Green in a three-round undercard battle. All three cageside judges scored it 30-27. Provided he can get his weight issues under control, Taisumov has positioned himself for a run at the Top 10 at 155 pounds. The 30-year-old has rattled off six straight wins since he was outpointed by Brazilian powerhouse Michel Prazeres in March 2014. Hernandez has been nothing short of a revelation since he joined the UFC roster in March, as he followed a sensational knockout of Beneil Dariush with a unanimous decision over Olivier Aubin-Mercier.