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UFC St. Petersburg: 5 fights to focus on as the octagon returns to Russia

The world-famous UFC octagon returns to Russia this weekend for UFC Fight Night: Overeem vs Oleinik in St. Petersburg. Here's what to expect from this weekend's event.

HEAVYWEIGHT FINISHERS FACE OFF IN THE MAIN EVENT

Alistair Overeem is one of the most decorated heavyweight fighters in combat sports. The big Dutchman has captured titles in both MMA and K-1 kickboxing and has been at the top of the sport for over a decade and a half.

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Now 'The Reem' is set to compete in the 63rd bout of his mixed martial arts career when he takes on Russian submission ace Aleksei Oleinik in the main event.

Remarkably, Overeem will be the man with fewer fights on his record on Saturday night, as Oleinik will be competing in his 70th career bout.

Both men have a hugely impressive record of finishing their opponents.

Overeem has finished 39 of his 44 career wins – 22 by knockout and 17 by submission, while grappling specialist Oleinik has stopped all but four of his 57 victims during his career. Incredibly, 45 of those wins have come by way of submission.

With finishing prowess like that inside the octagon, the main event is one you simply cannot take your eyes off. But who will get that all-important finish?

MAKHACHEV LOOKS TO MAKE HIS MARK

Rising Russian lightweight contender Islam Makhachev is set for action in the co-main event, where he faces off against countryman Arman Tsarukyan in an intriguing all-Russian battle at 155lbs.

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Makhachev is the better-known name for global MMA fans, having competed in the UFC since 2015. The Dagestan native is a teammate of UFC lightweight champ Khabib Nurmagomedov and has compiled an impressive 16-1 record so far in his MMA career.

He'll take on 22-year-old UFC debutant Tsarukyan, who has amassed a solid 13-1 record of his own, including 10 finishes, equally split between knockouts and submissions.

Both men have a point to prove, as well as the opportunity to show they are the premier rising UFC contender from Russia, so expect a lively, action-packed matchup.

PAVLOVICH GETS ANOTHER CHANCE TO MAKE A BIG IMPRESSION

Russian heavyweight Sergei Pavlovich lost his UFC debut – and his undefeated record – when he was finished inside a round by Overeem at UFC Fight Night in Beijing, China, last November.

Now the 12-1 heavyweight prospect gets another opportunity to show his real potential when he lines up against Brazilian Marcelo Golm.

Golm's introduction to the UFC was a less taxing one, as he defeated Christian Colombo in October 2017, but the 26-year-old Brazilian, who was undefeated at the time, hasn't won a fight since.

Back-to-back losses to Timothy Johnson and Arjan Singh Bhullar have put the Brazilian under pressure to get the win this weekend, with the knowledge that three defeats in a row can often lead to a fighter being released by the UFC.

Both men are desperate for a win, but who will walk away victorious?

THE URAL HULK MAKES HIS DEBUT

Undefeated Russian powerhouse Ivan Shtyrkov will make his eagerly-awaited octagon debut against American Devin Clark in a light-heavyweight contest on the main card.

Shtyrkov has operated both at heavyweight and light-heavyweight, and will fight at the lighter 205lb class when he faces Clark in St. Petersburg this weekend.

Shtyrkov is unbeaten at 15-0 with one draw, and heads into the UFC debut off the back of consecutive stoppage victories over former UFC light-heavyweight stars Fabio Maldonado and Thiago Silva.

Now the man known as 'The Ural Hulk' will look to make a statement against Clark, who has gone 3-3 since joining the UFC in the summer of 2016.

EUROPEAN PROSPECTS BATTLE AT 205LBS

Russian light-heavyweight Gadzhimurad AntigulRead More – Source

RT

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