UFC Fight Night 149 takes place tomorrow in St. Petersburg, Russia and we’ve got our predictions for all the fights below.
Alistair Overeem vs. Aleksei Oleynik
Oleynik comes into this fight on just a few weeks notice as a replacement for Alexander Volkov, but he’s already somewhat familiar with Overeem as they have trained together in the past.
According to Oleynik when they did spar with each other he struggled to get his ground game going at all against ‘The Reem’, which will be of real concern as ‘The Boa Constrictor’s’ submission skills are by far his most dangerous weapon.
On the feet Overeem is definitely the more skilled and assured striker, though his chin is compromised and so the kind of big power hooks that Oleynik likes to throw will pose a threat.
Nevertheless, I think Overeem does manage to keep this one standing and finishes the Russian by the third round.
Alistair Overeem wins by TKO in Rd3.
Islam Makhachev vs. Arman Tsarukyan
This is an interesting fight as Mackachev has been slowly building a four-fight winning streak in the UFC and will be hoping to take the next step to stardom in 2019, but is now going up against a tough newcomer in Tsarukyan who will be looking to steal his thunder.
Tsarukyan is only 22, but already holds a 13-1 record including a couple of wins over former UFC fighters.
He also has similar skills to Makhachev, being a strong wrestler who can also hold his own on the feet, but while that should make for a close fight I do still think that the more experienced Makhachev will prove to have the edge, particularly in the grappling, and that will lead to him earning a decision victory.
Islam Makhachev wins by decision.
Marcelo Golm vs. Sergei Pavlovich
Pavlovich had a tough UFC debut against Overeem, so this match-up feels like a better fit for him as he looks to find his feet in the UFC heavyweight ranks.
Golm appeared to be a force on the regional scene, finishing a string of fighters inside the distance by strikes, but he’s since came up short twice in a row inside the UFC’s Octagon.
Pavlovich can largely match Golm’s power punching here, but more importantly is the better striker overall and I expect him to use that to comfortably outpoint his opponent and emerge with his first UFC win via decision.
Sergei Pavlovich wins by decision.
Devin Clark vs. Ivan Shtyrkov
Known as ‘The Ural Hulk’ Shtyrkov makes his UFC debut tomorrow and will surely catch people’s eye due to his imposingly muscular physique.
He’s got big power in his punches to go with it as you might expect, and perhaps unsurprisingly also has a tendancy to run low on gas long before the final bell.
That won’t have gone unnoticed by Clark, who will be worried about the chances of his less than stellar chin getting caught early in the fight, but with his athleticism and wrestling might fancy his chances of taking control if he survives into the later stages of the bout.
However, Shyryrkov is strong, so he’ be difficult to get down and is also a threat with submissions on the mat, while I think his early aggression could well pay off as he lands big and delivers a second round TKO stoppage.
Ivan Shtyrkov wins by decision.
Roxanne Modafferi vs. Antonina Shevchenko
Antonina Shevchenko will look to continue to prove that it’s not just her sister Valentina who is a force at flyweight when she takes on the always game Modafferi tomorrow.
Shevchenko isn’t quite as strong a wrestler as her younger sibling, but she does have very good muay thai and operates well from range, while also being dangerous in the clinch too.
Modafferi’s lack of athleticism has hampered her ability to fully evolve her striking game, but it has improved over time and she’s deceptively tough. Nevertheless, it’s on the mat when she can use her jiu-jitsu that this crafty veteran is at her best.
I don’t think this will be her night though as Shevchenko should be able to outstrike her from a distance and shut her down in the clinch if she gets in close, leading to a win on the scorecards.
Antonina Shevchenko wins by decision.
Alen Amedovski vs. Krzysztof Jotko
On just a few weeks notice Amedovski arrives from Bellator, where he’s racked up a couple of quick knockout victories, but he’s going up against a tougher opponent now in Jotko who has hit a rough patch of form of late courtesy of a trio of losses.
Still, Jotko is better than that recent record suggests and is the more well-rounded fighter here. Amedovski may put up a fight on the feet with his heavy hands, but Jotko should have a clear edge if he takes the fight to the mat and uses his wrestling to control the newcomer and grind out a decision victory.
Krzysztof Jotko wins by decision.
Prelims (Predicted winners in bold)
Movsar Evloev vs. Muin Gafurov
Sultan Aliev vs. Keita Nakamura
Teemu Packalen vs. Alexander Yakovlev
Shamil Abdurakhimov vs. Marcin Tybura
Gadzhimurad Antigulov vs. Michal Oleksiejczuk
Rafael Fiziev vs. Magomed Mustafaev