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411’s UFC on ESPN+ 7 Report: Overeem Wins

April 20, 2019 | Posted by Robert Winfree
Alistair Overeem

MAIN CARD (ESPN+, 1 p.m. ET)
#7 Alistair Overeem (245 lbs.) vs. #9 Aleksei Oleinik (237 lbs.)
Islam Makhachev (155 lbs.) vs. Arman Tsarukyan (155 lbs.)
Marcelo Golm (250 lbs.) vs. Sergei Pavlovich (254 lbs.)
#7 Roxanne Modafferi (125 lbs.) vs. #12 Antonina Shevchenko (125 lbs.)
Alen Amedovski (186 lbs.) vs. Krzysztof Jotko (185 lbs.)

PRELIMINARY CARD (ESPN 2, 10 a.m. ET)
Seung Woo Choi (145 lbs.) vs. Movsar Evloev (146 lbs.)
Sultan Aliev (170 lbs.) vs. Keita Nakamura (171 lbs.)
Alex Da Silva (156 lbs.) vs. Alexander Yakovlev (155 lbs.)
#13 Shamil Abdurakhimov (258 lbs.) vs. #10 Marcin Tybura (249 lbs.)
Gadzhimurad Antigulov (204.5 lbs.) vs. Michal Oleksiejczuk (206 lbs.)
Rafael Fiziev (155 lbs.) vs. Magomed Mustafaev (154.5 lbs.)


Hello everyone and welcome to 411mania’s coverage of UFC on ESPN+ 7. I’m Robert Winfree and I’ll be your host for this event, relaying all of the action to you good people just as I see it. This morning the UFC is back in Russia for just the second time in the promotions history, and they brought a card chock full of local talent that most of the main UFC fan base probably hasn’t heard of. That said the main event is a solid enough fight on paper as ranked heavyweights Alistair Overeem and Aleksei Oleinik battle it out for position in the division. Those two have an absurd number of fights between them and in many ways it’s a classic striker vs. grappler match up. Beyond that there’s not a whole lot here, Islam Makhachev is fighting but he’s taking on a promotional new comer and it’s hard to think he’s being positioned with the softest touch the UFC could justify. Frankly the other fight on this card I’m kind of looking forward to is the curtain jerker when Magomed Mustafaev returns for the first time in a little over two years, I was rather high on Mustafaev’s potential and am curious to see if he can get back to form after such a long layoff. That all comes with the natural caveat that fights might look dull on paper then deliver in practice, so let’s all hope we get a fair bit of that this evening.

More specifically UFC on ESPN+ 7 is being held in the Yubileyny Sports Palace in Saint Petersburg, Russia. This is the UFC’s first visit to that specific city. On commentary we have the solid trio of John Gooden, Dan Hardy, and rising lightweight contender Paul Felder. This trio has been together a couple of other times and I’ve enjoyed the grouping. As for the rules we’re under the new rule set, so you need both palms or fists flat on the mat to be considered downed, extending the fingers towards your opponent is a foul regardless of contact being made, and the language/criteria around scoring is more encouraging of 10-8’s.

Magomed Mustafaev just had a massive thirteen fight winning streak snapped when he was submitted by Kevin Lee, a loss that brought his UFC record to 2-1. That fight was back in November of 2016 and Mustafaef is just now making his return, he’s trying to get back on the winning side of things and remind everyone that he’s an up and coming lightweight. Rafael Fiziev is undefeated and making his UFC debut here, he could make an immediate impact by taking out a respected up and comer like Mustafaev. The odds are with Fiziev at -140 to a +120 comeback on Mustafaev.

Lightweight Bout: Rafael Fiziev (6-0, 155 lbs.) vs. Magomed Mustafaev (13-2, 154.5 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: These two are the same height while Fiziev has half an inch of reach advantage. They touch gloves to get us going, both men doing a bit of stance switching. Mustafaev lands a glancing spinning back kick to the head that off balances Fiziev for a moment. Leg kick from Mustafaev lands. Fiziev lands a leg kick, Mustafaev with another spinning back kick to the head that floors Fiziev, this time he gets on top and pounds him out from the ride position and forces the stoppage.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Magomed Mustafaev via TKO, spinning back kick and punches, at 1:26 of Round 1

The First Round Finish Club thanks Mr. Mustafaev for his work this morning. That was a darn good way to get a card going, there was serious force behind that kick from Mustafaev who now gets an interview. He plays a bit with the crowd and notes he was training all the time despite the layoff and is grateful to have been able to perform. He talks us through the finish, notes that he practices that kick a lot and is happy to have gotten the win. Asked about staying busy after the layoff he notes he wants to be more active, references the broken arm in the Lee fight but wants a rematch with Lee.

Take a look at this. Fiziev is able to get his guard up but it’s right against his head which doesn’t mitigate the force as well and Mustafaev puts a ton of force into this kick.

For those having issues with geoblocking, hopefully this will work.

Gadzhimurad Antigulov just had a fourteen fight winning streak snapped by Ion Cutelaba, that streak included two wins in the UFC and now he’s trying to avoid his first UFC losing streak. Michal Oleksiejczuk hasn’t lost in his last eleven fights, a streak that includes two UFC appearances and he was last seen stopping Gian Villante. Now Oleksiejczuk is trying to prove he’s a light heavyweight prospect to watch by extending that streak even further. Oleksiejczuk is your -210 favorite to a +160 payout on Antigulov.

Light Heavyweight Bout: Gadzhimurad Antigulov (20-5, 204.5 lbs.) vs. Michal Oleksiejczuk (13-2 1 NC, 206 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Oleksiejczuk is an inch taller and has three and a half inches of reach advantage. Southpaw for Oleksiejczuk, and they touch gloves to get us going. Antigulov lands a couple of rights and looks for a takedown but can’t finish. Oleksiejczuk avoids an uppercut and floors Antigulov with a left. Another left from Oleksiejczuk drops Antigulov but he’s back up and still coming forward, Oleksiejczuk lands another pull back counter left uppercut that drops Antigulov again and this time he pounds him out.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Michal Oleksiejczuk via KO, punches, at :44 of Round 1

The First Round Finish Club thanks Mr. Oleksiejczuk for his work this morning. That was a lovely display of counter punching in the face of a wildly aggressive opponent. Mic time for Oleksiejczuk, we’ve got the double translators going for Russian and Polish, he says he knew about the aggression of Antigulov and worked on countering that and hopes the crowd liked the fight even if it was short. Asked about what’s next for him he wants to climb through the ranks to the top of the division and plans on becoming the best sooner rather than later.

Counter striking in the face of this kind of raw aggression is difficult, though fundamentally what it’s designed around. Oleksiejczuk keeps his feet moving the entire time and finds the chin of Antigulov as Antigulov keeps ducking down over his stance, that leans right into the uppercut.

And for the Canadian contingent, let me know if this works better for you.

Marcin Tybura just broke a two fight losing streak when he defeated Stefan Struve, he’s trying for his first UFC winning streak in a couple of years and start making his way up the heavyweight rankings. Shamil Abdurakhimov is on a two fight winning streak, in fact he’s a solid 4-2 overall in the UFC and is trying to move up in the rankings with a three fight winning streak here. Tybura is the -145 favorite against +120 for Abdurakhimov.

Heavyweight Bout: #13 Shamil Abdurakhimov (19-4, 258 lbs.) vs. #10 Marcin Tybura (17-4, 249 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: These two are the same height while Tybura has two inches of reach on Abdurakhimov. They touch gloves to get us going. Tybura showing some stance switching but is mostly orthodox. Both men probing the distance but not finding the target yet. Bit of a right from Tybura then a jab. Abdurakhimov lands an inside leg kick then a jab. Abdurakhimov lands an uppercut in close but neither guy is finding a lot of consistency yet. Bit of a right from Abdurakhimov as Tybura was walking in. Jab from Abdurakhimov and Tybura lands an inside leg kick. Abdurakhimov lands a right, he’s also been landing a left hook to the body into a left hook to the head so nice work doubling up on that. A couple more rights land for Abdurakhimov but Tybura landed a body shot that takes the wind out of his sails for a second, that might have strayed low but the ref didn’t see it. Abdurakhimov lands a stiff jab. Tybura avoids a spinning back fist. They trade uppercuts in close, then a bit of a right from Abdurakhimov will close out the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Abdurakhimov

ROUND TWO: Both men still moving well as we start the second round. Spinning back kick to the body from Abdurakhimov lands. Abdurakhimov lands a right, he’s got some blood from the bridge of Tybura’s nose now. Tybura lands a bit of a head kick and then defends a takedown from Abdurakhimov. Abdurakhimov lands an uppercut in close and Tybura avoids a takedown attempt. Spinning back fist from Abdurakhimov is blocked. We get time for a second or two as Abdurakhimov took a groin shot but they keep fighting. Tybura lands another bit of a head kick. Abdurakhimov lands a right to the body. Left hook from Abdurakhimov staggers Tybura and Abdurakhimov swarms him along the fence and gets our third consecutive finish of the card.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Shamil Abdurakhimov via TKO, punches, at 3:15 of Round 2

A little sloppy at times but a nice finish I’ll get into in more detail in a moment. Abdurakhimov gets some mic time because there’s a lot of time to fill after these finishes, he thanks the crowd and notes he started his career in Saint Petersburg and the fight went mostly how he planned it though he expected more grappling from Tybura. He jokes that the left hook was almost an accident in terms of landing. Asked about what’s next especially with more heavyweights to come on this card, he says it doesn’t matter but he’d like a top five guy as he just took out a top ten opponent.

This is a really solid straight right to the body then a left hook to the head to start the end of things. Especially well done as Abdurakhimov had been landing that left to the body first for the rest of the fight then switches up the timing and target to catch Tybura flush with this left hook.

Alexander Yakovlev has gone just 2-4 in the UFC and is on his second two fight losing streak during that stretch, he’s trying to break that streak and gain a bit of job security. Alex da Silva brings a two fight winning streak into his UFC debut, he’s looking to extend that streak and make a good first impression to the UFC audience. The odds are with Yakovlev at -135 to a +115 comeback on da Silva.

Lightweight Bout: Alex Da Silva (20-1, 156 lbs.) vs. Alexander Yakovlev (23-8-1, 155 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Yakovlev is seven inches taller but only has one inch of reach on da Silva. They touch gloves, Yakovlev fighting southpaw. They trade body kicks at distance. They clinch up and Yakovlev gets da Silva on the cage. A few knees go back and forth before da Silva spins free. Another clinch after a failed takedown from Yakovlev and da Silva gets a takedown via slam into half guard. Da Silva to side control and is fishing for an arm. Yakovlev to his knees and they scramble, Yakovlev after a single leg from his knees and da Silva is trying to get free. A few elbows from da Silva and they wind up standing and now it’s da Silva after the takedown along the fence. Now it’s Yakovlev’s turn to land some elbows while da Silva is bent over and they start jockeying for position. Da Silva is now on the fence and Yakovlev works knees to the body. Da Silva is able to turn Yakovlev again as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 da Silva

ROUND TWO: Yakovlev slips on a kick and da Silva off balances him then gets on top in the guard of Yakovlev. Odd choice in the timing there. Da Silva lands a couple of punches and passes into 3/4 mount. Yakovlev rolls to his knees looking for a reversal, da Silva is back up but still on the fence and looking for a guillotine as Yakovlev gets a slam takedown. Another scramble and now da Silva is after the takedown along the fence but Yakovlev has a pretty good defensive posture at the moment. A few elbows land for Yakovlev and punches as well. Da Silva is trying to get something going from his knees as Yakovlev sprawls on him and starts fishing for a front choke of some variety. Yakovlev gets his hands together, I couldn’t see what kind of choke/crank it was specifically but whatever it is da Silva winds up tapping.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Alexander Yakovlev via Submission, anaconda choke, at 3:10 of Round 2

Calling that one an anaconda choke based on the arm/hand position but there’s probably a more accurate term for that particular variant. Mic time for Yakovlev, and Dan Hardy asks him about the finish first off and calls it a move from freestyle wrestling that he had a lot of success with back when that was his primary discipline. He says he feels great at lightweight and plans to stick around, then says he wants to really get into proper shape for his next fight.

If anyone knows a better descriptor/name for this anaconda/front choke kind of thing please let me know. After a bit of looking around I think it’s just a really tightly locked up wrestling front headlock, though the specific body positioning also cranks the neck in some nasty ways.

Sultan Aliev has gone 1-2 in the UFC and is coming off of a loss to Warlley Alves, he’s trying to avoid his first ever losing streak. Keita Nakamura is a veteran of the sport, he’s been trading wins and losses while going 4-3 in his current UFC run. Nakamura is looking for his first ever UFC winning streak. Nakamura is a slight -115 favorite against -105 for Aliev.

Welterweight Bout: Sultan Aliev (14-3, 170 lbs.) vs. Keita Nakamura (34-9-2 1 NC, 171 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: These two are the same height while Aliev has an inch and a half of reach on Nakamura. They touch gloves, Nakamura fighting southpaw and he tries a body kick. Aliev lands a stiff jab. Another jab from Aliev. Bit of a straight left from Nakamura lands. Both men just probing more than anything else. They trade rights, Aliev’s landed better. Another exchange of rights that land flush. Aliev lands a right then a left hook and another right, they clinch up and Nakamura tries a judo toss but Aliev rolls through and they’re back up though still clinched. Both men land some body shots then Aliev gets a takedown along the fence. Nakamura trying to wall walk and does so but he can’t get free of the clinch. Nakamura is able to spin Aliev but Aliev lands some punches on the break then they clinch up again. The round comes to a close along the fence.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Aliev

ROUND TWO: A touch of gloves to start the second round. Both men circling and pawing a bit with the lead hand. Aliev lands a straight right. Nakamura avoids a right then misses a high kick. Inside leg kick from Nakamura lands. Bit of a left to the head from Aliev. Jabs land for Aliev now, then a right hook but Nakamura fires back and they clinch up again. They break and Aliev misses a spinning elbow. Nakamura lands a straight left. Single leg from Aliev, he switches to a rear waist lock and elevates then slams Nakamura. Nakamura is looking to wall walk but Aliev has his legs scooped trying to make that more difficult. They trade rights and Nakamura gets to a knee then is back up but still clinched. Aliev gets a body lock and looks to reap a leg as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Aliev, 20-18 Aliev overall

ROUND THREE: They touch gloves for the last round. Both men miss leg kicks. Aliev blocks a high kick. Another exchange of rights then they trade jabs. Aliev punches into a takedown attempt along the fence. Aliev gets the takedown along the cage, Nakamura immediately looking to wall walk. Nakamura looks to grab a kimura roll but gives up his back and Aliev gets the ride position and starts looking for hooks. Aliev is after the choke but has no hooks and that lets Nakamura spin into him and then stand up as Aliev looks to take him down again. This time Nakamura is able to spin free and separate. Aliev lands a right but he’s looking a bit fatigued after the pace and style to this point. Nakamura is coming forward and Aliev lands a one two. Left then a right hook land for Nakamura. Bit of a head kick from Nakamura, Aliev lands a right that stuns Nakamura for a second. Nakamura misses a middle kick, they trade rights again as time runs all the way down.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Aliev, 30-27 Aliev overall

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Sultan Aliev via unanimous decision (30-27 x3)

The streak of finishes had to end at some point. Not a bad fight, hopefully that winds up being the worst of the evening. Mic time for Aliev who says he’s feeling great and is happy to have fought in his home country. He says he didn’t worry about the layoff he had, it was about two years, then mentions he was well prepared for the fight.

Movsar Evloev is undefeated and making his UFC debut here, he’s trying to make a good first impression to the UFC fans. Seung Woo Choi is also making his UFC debut here, in his case on the back of a two fight winning streak and is looking to upset the undefeated prospect in his home country. Evloev is your favorite at -360 to a +280 comeback on Choi.

Featherweight Bout: Seung Woo Choi (7-1, 145 lbs.) vs. Movsar Evloev (10-0, 146 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Choi is five inches taller and has two inches of reach on Evloev. They touch gloves to get going. Bit of a leg kick from Choi, Evloev lands a left hook. Evloev falls short with a right. Right uppercut from Evloev lands flush and Choi’s left eye is swelling a bit already. A stepping knee from Choi warns Evloev away from bad shots. Evloev gets a double leg along the fence and starts landing punches while moving to side control. Knees to the body from Evloev but Choi is able to get full guard. Choi is trying to keep this close but Evloev is able to get some posture and lands a few rights to the body and head. Evloev passes towards side control and Choi scrambles to get his guard back though now Evloev is nearly in half guard. Choi is able to close his guard but he’s getting controlled and getting hit pretty consistently by Evloev. Choi back up and Evloev lands a knee the drives him into the fence and works more knees to the body and head. Evloev with uppercuts then a quick double leg. Choi back up, and back down and Evloev lands more knees as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Evloev

ROUND TWO: Choi is trying to get his kicking game working this round, Evloev doesn’t seem bothered yet. Both men miss rights then Evloev drives Choi into the fence and gets him down. Rights from Evloev, Choi is trying to get up but Evloev is constantly attacking him with either level changes or strikes. Choi is bleeding from the nose now, he lands a knee of his own but Evloev gets him down and works him over from the ride position. Evloev is landing short lefts as Choi gets vertical and lands some elbows, a few of them illegal but Evloev gets him down again. Full guard for Choi but he’s not doing anything with it but holding on looking to either stall or explode. Evloev postures through a triangle attempt and gets the ride position and this time lands an illegal knee as Choi had a knee down and Evloev kneed him in the head. The ref takes a point, even under the new rules there was a knee down and that means you’re downed. Commentary somehow confuses which rules we’re under, despite them updating us at the top of the show. Choi showing the right kick or counter knee but Evloev is in against the fence and gets Choi to the fence again. Punches from Evloev, this time he lands a legal knee as there was only one hand down for Choi. The round will end with them clinched on the fence.

SCORECARD: 9-9 DRAW after the point deduction, 19-18 Evloev overall

ROUND THREE: They touch gloves for the last round. Choi lands a leg kick. Evloev gets a quick knee tap takedown though and is in the guard of Choi. Choi has full guard, Evloev landing some rights to the body and looking to pressure pass. Choi back up to a knee, Evloev into the ride position and landing rights to the head. Body shots from Evloev and he’s fighting to keep Choi on a knee or on the mat. Choi tries a judo throw but can’t get free and Evloev has him back on the cage. A couple of elbows land for Choi but Evloev gets a body lock and works some short punches. Evloev picks the ankle to drive Choi to a knee and lands rights as Choi wall walks but he can’t get free. Single leg from Evloev works and he’s drowning Choi in constant grappling and cage wrestling. Choi is able to get free finally but he tries a spinning attack and Evloev drives him into the fence again. More offense from Evloev, now to the body and head as he’s just smothering Choi. Choi is back up but Evloev gets an elevated takedown and moves to the back standing and lands a few more rights. The fight comes to an end in that position.

SCORECARD: 10-8 Evloev based on the level of domination, 29-26 Evloev overall

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Movsar Evloev via unanimous decision (29-26, 29-27 x2)

Evloev is a bit of a buzzsaw, he normally fights at bantamweight and I’d be curious to see him down there. No interview for Evloev as we’re short on time. That fight will close out the prelims, on to ESPN+ for the main card.

Krzysztof Jotko showed some promise in the UFC, including a five fight winning streak at one point, but is currently on a three fight losing streak and he’s been finished in his last two losses. Jotko needs a win pretty badly here as a four fight losing streak would probably spell the end of his UFC run. Alen Amedovski is undefeated and making his UFC debut here. I believe he’s one of the first, if not the actual first, Macedonians to fight in the UFC. Amedovski is trying to make a good first impression and take out a once promising prospect. Jotko is the -190 favorite against +160 for Amedovski.

Middleweight Bout: Alen Amedovski (8-0, 186 lbs.) vs. Krzysztof Jotko (19-4, 185 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Jotko has three inches of height and reach on Amedovski. Southpaw for Jotko, and they touch gloves to get us going. Jotko working his kicks early, looking to control the range of combat. Bit of a left hook lands for Amedovski. Front kick to the body from Jotko then a bit of a right hook. They clinch up and Jotko is able to hit a bit of a sacrifice throw and gets on top in half guard. Amedovski tries to explode but gives up his back and Jotko nearly gets the choke before Amedovski rolls into him and gets on top, lands a few elbows then Jotko kicks him off and they reset on the feet. Jotko lands a spinning elbow that wobbles Amedovski and they trade hooks. Jotko gets a takedown and moves to side control very quickly. Now Jotko is looking to get the mounted crucifix, he uses that threat to get full mount but Amedovski shrimps to half guard. A few lefts to the head land for Jotko and he’s setting up a pass. The round will come to a close in that position.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Jotko, might be a 10-8 argument in there somewhere

ROUND TWO: They touch gloves for the second round. Both men pawing a bit with the lead hand, Jotko is trying to set up a kick off of that motion. Amedovski lands a jab. High kick from Jotko is blocked and then he gets a takedown into side control again. Jotko is landing some short blows trying to set up a better position or force Amedovski to make a bad decision. Mounted crucifix for Jotko for a second but Amedovski gets his arm free. Body to head shots from Jotko. Jotko looking for knee on belly but he can’t really secure it and keeps side control. Elbows from Jotko and he gets the mounted crucifix again. Amedovski’s face is bleeding solidly at this point and Jotko lands a series of rights to the head, now a few elbows and if Amedovski can’t defend himself they should stop it. Fortunately for Amedovski there’s not much time and he’ll see the end of the round.

SCORECARD: 10-8 Jotko, 20-17 Jotko overall

ROUND THREE: They touch gloves for the last round. Jotko lands a left and avoids the counters. Amedovski does a bit of shadow boxing then avoids a high kick. Jotko lands a glancing left then shoots a double leg and gets Amedovski down. Amedovski closes his guard, Jotko lands an elbow. Some offense from Jotko to the body and head, Amedovski is kind of tossing his legs up but isn’t really finding anything from his back. Another couple of elbows from Jotko land. Jotko moves to half guard, now side control. A few short elbows from Jotko but he’s more concerned with control and giving Amedovski as few options as possible. Jotko is after the mounted crucifix again but can’t quite secure it. Jotko postures up and then lets Amedovski stand but Amedovski wont get anything off before time runs out.

SCORECARD: 10-8 Jotko, 30-25 Jotko overall

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Krzysztof Jotko via unanimous decision (30-25, 30-26 x2)

Amedovski just wasn’t ready for that. Jotko celebrates with a bit of break dancing then gets an interview and hopes everyone enjoyed the fight, he talks about his injuries and losing streak then mentions he almost retired but kept going and got the win. He notes this was the last fight on his contract and thinks with this win the UFC will give him another one. He says he’s been working to fight more like himself and fighting to his strengths, puts over his sports psychologist for helping him get his mind right to close the interview.

Roxanne Modafferi is a longtime veteran of the sport, she’s gone 1-2 since returning to the UFC including a failed bid to become the first UFC women’s flyweight champion. Modafferi is coming off of a loss but her opponent missed weight for that fight, she’s trying to rebound and assert herself in the title picture. Antonina Shevchenko is undefeated including a successful UFC debut late last year, now she’s looking to remain perfect and take out a respected veteran in the sport. Shevchenko is the -280 favorite to +230 for Modafferi.

Women’s Flyweight Bout: #7 Roxanne Modafferi (22-15, 125 lbs.) vs. #12 Antonina Shevchenko (7-0, 125 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Shevchenko is an inch taller while Modafferi has two inches of reach advantage. They touch gloves to get things going, Shevchenko fighting southpaw. Straight left from Shevchenko lands. Modafferi is moving well, looking for an angle that she likes. Shevchenko avoids a combination, and lands a bit of a counter left. Short right hook from Shevchenko off balances Modafferi for a second. Another couple of punches land for Shevchenko. Leg kick from Shevchenko lands. The distance is troubling Modafferi so far. Shevchenko lands a right hook while angling away from Modafferi, she’s been landing that punch every time Modafferi tries to close distance. Modafferi lands a right. Head kick from Shevchenko, they clinch up and Shevchenko lands a few knees before Modafferi looks to change levels along the cage. Modafferi looking to get a single leg, Shevchenko looking for a kimura roll to counter but loses the grip. Shevchenko now looking to wall walk, Modafferi trying to keep her down on the mat. They’re back up and Modafferi is after an outside reap, winds up just kind of off balancing Shevhcenko and lands on top in half guard. Modafferi gets to 3/4 mount and lands a few short blows as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Modafferi

ROUND TWO: Shevchenko lands a side kick to the face to get the second round started. Body kick from Shevchenko, she’s coming forward more this round. Straight left lands for Shevchenko then she just misses a spinning back fist. Modafferi is coming forward now, she doesn’t like the fight when she’s backing up. A few punches land for Shevchenko, a good one two punctuates a combination. Modafferi bulls into a clinch on the fence and is after a takedown again. Shevchenko lands a couple of knees to the body while staying upright but Modafferi is persistent. Modafferi is able to tip Shevchenko over and get on top in half guard. Modafferi is trying to set up a pass, Shevchenko kicks her upright but can’t get up before Modafferi is back into her half guard. Shevchenko lands some hammer fists from her back before Modafferi really secures the position. Modafferi lands a couple of short lefts and looks to pass into 3/4 mount again. Shevchenko blocks that pass and retains half guard. A bit of offense from Modafferi will close out the round.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Modafferi, 20-18 Modafferi overall

ROUND THREE: Shevchenko coming forward now and looking to land combinations. body kick from Shevchenko then a straight left. More punches from Shevchenko, she’s fighting like she needs at a minimum this round. Body kick from Shevchenko then another one. Another body kick from Shevchenko but Modafferi catches this one and gets her down then moves to the ride position. Modafferi gets both hooks in but loses the back and Shevchenko tuns into her and gets on top in her guard. Body shots from Shevchenko but she’s going to get stalled out here. Modafferi hits a sweep into full mount and lands an elbow. Modafferi working punches and elbows, Shevchenko doesn’t seem to have an answer for this position. Shevchenko is finally able to buck and reverse, Modafferi back up but now Shevchenko has her on the fence. They look to break, Shevchenko lands knees to the body as Modafferi gets her on the fence and looks for another takedown. A few knees to the head from Shevchenko land then one to the body. Modafferi is gutting through some of these positions. More knees from Shevchenko, Modafferi gets the takedown into guard though and that’s where the fight will close.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Shevchenko, 29-28 Modafferi overall

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Roxanne Modafferi via split decision (28-29, 29-28 x2)

I can see Shevchenko stealing the first, even if I disagree, or possibly the third going to Modafferi if you gave Shevchenko the first. Mic time for Modafferi, she’s happy to be in Saint Petersburg and puts it over as a destination before thanking all of her coaches. She talks about preparing for takedowns against a southpaw and lots of movement to deal with Shevchenko. Asked who she’d like to fight next she jokes that she wants to fight Cyborg, then notes that her call out doesn’t matter she just wants to fight someone tough who will let her show off her growing skills.

Sergey Pavlovich suffered his first professional loss when he met Alistair Overeem in his UFC debut, now he’s looking to bounce back from that loss and establish himself as a heavyweight prospect going forward. Marcelo Golm has gone 1-2 in the UFC and is currently on a two fight losing streak, he’s looking to get his career back on the right track here and prove that he’s the prospect to watch going forward. The odds are with Pavlovich at -260 to Golm’s +210 comeback.

Heavyweight Bout: Marcelo Golm (6-2, 250 lbs.) vs. Sergei Pavlovich (12-1, 254 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: These two are the same height but Pavlovich has a significant eight and a half inches of reach on Golm. Both men showing the jab early, and miss power hand punches. Leg kick from Golm, Pavlovich fires back and they trade some punches. Pavlovich lands a chopping right. Jabs from Pavlovich then a right and Golm is basically out of his feet, an uppercut form Pavlovich drops Golm and that’ll do it.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Sergey Pavolovich via KO, punches, at 1:06 of Round 1

The First Round Finish Club thanks Mr. Pavlovich for his work this afternoon. At least it ended quickly. Mic time for Pavlovich, he thanks everyone for coming out, thanks his coaches, then talks a bit about really wanting to get back to winning after the loss to Overeem. He talks us through the finish briefly, then says he’d like to take some time off and make sure his next career move is the right one.

There’s some really solid shot selection from Pavlovich here, and while the uppercut is telegraphed it was absolutely the correct punch and it puts Golm down and out.

Islam Makhachev has gone an impressive 5-1 in the UFC and is currently on a four fight winning streak. Makhachev is trying to get that streak to five in a row and make a case for himself to take on a ranked opponent for his next bout. Arman Tsarukyan has won his last twelve fights coming into his UFC debut, he’s trying to upset a recognized prospect and announce himself as a player in the bloodthirsty lightweight division. Makhachev is a big -300 favorite against +240 for Tsarukyan.

Lightweight Bout: Islam Makhachev (16-1, 155 lbs.) vs. Arman Tsarukyan (13-1, 155 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Makhachev is three inches taller while Tsarukyan has two inches of reach on him. They touch gloves, Makhachev fighting souhtpaw. Both men miss some kicks, mostly range finding. Both men slip, Makhachev uses that to dive into a clinch and they hit the fence. Tsarukyan looks for the single leg, Makhachev defending well and they wind up chest to chest. Makhachev turns Tsarukyan into the fence and starts landing some rights to the body. They trade knees then Makhachev hits a really nice foot sweep and moves into full mount immediately. That was beautiful from Makhachev. Makhachev lands some offense, Tsarukyan is able to elevate him with his hips and get up but Makhachev has a front headlock and lands some knees then tries to roll backwards but Tsarukyan rolls through and is up now it’s him holding a threat of the guillotine. Tsarukyan bails on that to save his arms. More knees to the body go back and forth and Tsarukyan is able to get a go behind to a rear waist lock and it takes a lot of energy and he’s finally got Makhachev down but Makhachev isn’t conceding the position and he’s back up with Tsarukyan holding his back. Makhachev breaks his grip and turns into Tsarukyan then lands body shots and is looking for a trip. Bit of a right from Makhachev as they break. Tsarukyan ducks under a left hook and looks for a single leg as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Makhachev

ROUND TWO: They touch gloves again. Makhachev working his way forward, Tsarukyan looks for a takedown but Makhachev uses a front headlock to stall that and snap him down. Tsarukyan lands a right as they break apart. Bit of a high kick from Tsarukyan. Another clinch, they trade body shots while looking for angles of attack. They’re in space not against the fence and trading body shots. Foot sweep from Makhachev, Tsarukyan back up but Makhachev is on him and drives him into the fence. Tsarukyan is trying for a double wrist lock to break the grip but can’t and Makhachev gets the double leg, Tsarukyan holding the kimura but Makhachev seems rather safe at the moment. Tsarukyan bails on that and wraps up the head but can’t get all the way around it and Makhachev moves to half guard. Tsarukyan back up and they hit the fence again. Makhachev defending a single leg attempt and lands a few elbows while turning Tsarukyan into the fence. Makhachev after a high crotch now, he wont quite be able to finish it before the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Makhachev, 20-18 Makhachev overall

ROUND THREE: They touch gloves for the last round. Tsarukyan coming forward with kicks, Makhachev defending. Right to the body from Tsarukyan lands. Tsarukyan tries a combination, it’s mostly blocked then Makhachev lands a head kick that wobbles Tsarukyan for a second. Tsarukyan shoots a single leg, Makhachev defending and looking to cradle Tsarukyan. Makhachev is back up from his knees and lands a knee to the body as they hit the fence. They break and Tsarukyan misses an elbow. Tsarukyan dives for a takedown, Makhachev defends and lands a knee as they’re getting up into the clinch. Makhachev is coming on strong and gets a double leg as Tsarukyan is slowing down. Some rights from Makhachev as he moves to the ride position, but Tsarukyan is able to wall walk. Makhachev has him still on the fence and smothers a throw attempt. Another double leg attempt from Makhachev against the fence and he’s got Tsarukyan down this time into butterfly guard. Tsarukyan is trying to use his legs and guard but Makhachev is floating nicely. Tsarukyan moves to the fence but Makhachev mounts the legs and lands some punches to the body and head as the round ends.

SCORECARD: 10-9 Makhachev, 30-27 Makhachev overall

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Islam Makhachev via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27 x2)

Fun little scrap, Tsarukyan gained a fair bit even in defeat for how well he fought. Mic time for Makhachev who says he hasn’t gone the distance in a while but is glad to have won. He says he expected to have a bigger advantage on the ground and puts over Tsarukyan as an opponent. Asked about what’s next he thanks the crowd and then says he’ll fight anyone in the top fifteen.

Alistair Overeem is one of the premier heavyweights of his generation, but his career is in a bit of an odd spot right now. Overeem just broke a two fight losing streak to bring his recent record to 3-2 and if he wants to make another run towards the title he cannot afford a loss here even in a division like heavyweight. Aleksei Oleinik brings a two fight winning streak into this bout, and a win here would be the biggest of his career, possibly even carrying him into the title discussion. Overeem is your -240 favorite against +190 for Oleinik.

Heavyweight Bout: #7 Alistair Overeem (44-17 1 NC, 245 lbs.) vs. #9 Aleksei Oleinik (57-11-1, 237 lbs.)

ROUND ONE: Overeem will do some stance switching, they touch gloves to get us going. Quick clinch up and Oleinik pulls guard immediately and is looking to set up an Ezekiel choke. Overeem reads that and gets his head free and starts looking to posture up. Oleinik blocks a kick as they get up. Overeem lands a knee as Oleinik was stepping in. Bit of a right from Oleinik, Overeem with a quick foot sweep but wont follow him down. Oleinik clips Overeem but Overeem covers up and blocks the attempted flurry then Oleinik breaks free. Overeem lands a knee as Oleinik goes into a clinch and starts digging to the body with rights before they separate. More stepping knees from Overeem when Oleinik tries to close distance. Oleinik is trying to go Donkey Kong on Overeem against the fence but Overeem pulls free. Oleinik back into the clinch and digs more body shots before Overeem spins him and lands a couple of heavy knees. They’re trading knees and punches, Oleinik is really committed to the body work as they break. Oleinik with more body shots from a clinch and he’s got Overeem on the cage again. Overeem spins him and lands a knee to the body then the head before separating. Both men breathing heavy, given the pace that’s not surprising. Oleinik punches into the clinch again and they start working from that position. Knees to the body and head from Overeem and one drops Olieinik. Overeem follows him down and starts teeing off from the back until the ref stops the fight.

OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Alistair Overeem via TKO, knees and punches, at 4:45 of Round 1

The First Round Finish Club thanks Mr. Overeem for his work this afternoon, they would also like to express their regrets that the Final Round Finish Club couldn’t make the trip to Russia and wish them better luck next time. Solid stuff from Overeem, the man is one of the few heavyweights with a legitimate clinch game and he showed that off here. He puts over Oleinik as an opponent, and puts over the Russian fans and hopes to fight in Russia again. He talks us through the finish, noting his knee selection and he knew on the ground that Oleinik was done because he felt weaker in those moments than before. Asked about who he’d like to fight next he notes he was supposed to fight Alexander Volkov here but is very open to that fight in the future. To close he puts over the city again.

Oleinik gets some mic time as well, he thanks Overeem for the fight then notes how short notice the fight was and apologizes to the fans then hopes next time will be better. He says he’ll fight anyone and wants to fight soon if possible, then thanks the UFC and hopes to be back in about three months.

A quick look at the finish here. Overeem’s ability to find offense in the clinch, especially with his knees, and to more importantly find the correct timing and placement for them is really impressive stuff.

On that note UFC on ESPN+ 7 comes to a close. The card over performed for me, not perfect or anything like that but a solid morning of fights relative to expectations. Sunday on the 411 Ground and Pound MMA Podcast we’ll be breaking down all of the action and previewing UFC on ESPN 2 from next week when Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza battles Jack Hermansson in your main event. I’ll be back for that event next Saturday, and I hope you’ll be here as well. Until then thanks for reading, stay safe out there, and keep checking 411mania for all of your pop culture needs.

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article topics :

UFC on ESPN+ 7, Robert Winfree