The Ultimate Fighting Championship moves to Russia this weekend with UFC Fight Night 149 taking place at the Yubileyny Sports Palace in Saint Petersburg. This isn’t the biggest show of the year by anyone’s standards, but it is a night of action that has followers excited with drama guaranteed. Not just one for the purists either, there’s plenty to keep casual fans and sports bettors involved. Here are our top Overeem v Oleinik betting tips.
This will be the UFC’s first visit to St Petersburg and second to Russia. That’s came as a bit of a surprise when researching this card, but everyone involved will be desperate to showcase the MMA talent coming out of Russia to the watching world, ensuring the promotion becomes a more regular visitor. The best way to do that is by offering well-matched contests, and we certainly seem to have a few of those here.
Punchy Main Card
Alistair Overeem faces off against Alexey Oleinik in a heavyweight bout that sits at the top of the bill and it’s supported be an eye-catching undercard. The main card, the best of which will be shown to UK fans on BT Sport from midnight, is made up of the bill-topper, as well as Islam Makhachev v Arman Tsarukyan at lightweight, Sergei Pavlovich v Marcelo Golm from the heavyweight division, Ivan Shtyrkov v Devin Clark light heavyweight, Roxanne Modafferi v Antonina Shevchenko women’s flyweight and Krysztof Jotko v Allen Amedovski.
Plenty to get through and we have drafted in our team of combat sports experts and betting tipsters to help guide you towards a profit. Concentrating on the main fight of the night, we look at the form of both men, as well as the betting odds attached to each fighter. We have also researched the betting to find out which firms are offering market best price on the most popular picks, helping ensure your money goes further.
All or Nothing
Followers of the UFC will be all too familiar with 38-year-old Londoner Alistair Overeem. The Demolition Man was born in the English capital but currently resides in Denver, Colorado where he represents Team Elevation, having recently joined from previous stable Jackson-Wink MMA. The 6ft 4inch fighter has campaigned at both heavyweight and light heavyweight and has a fighting style that takes its lead from his past experiences competing in Muay Thai, Judo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. He’s an all-rounder who has been successful throughout his career.
With a professional MMA record of 44 wins from 62 fights, he has one no contest and no less than 17 defeats. Of his wins, Alistair has claimed 22 by knockout, 17 submission and only five on points. On the other side of his record we see 13 of his 17 losses have come by knockout, three by decision and one submission. An exciting fighter, he’s one that will put pressure on his opponents and force the stoppage or fall on his sword trying. That’s the reason Overeem is respected by both fighters and fans of the UFC.
Overeem is as experienced as they come but his recent form is patchy, to put it politely, losing two of his last three starts and half of his last six. Stipe Miocic KO’d Overeem on UFC 203 back in 2016 before an Ohio audience, with the other defeats included in his recent form being Francis Ngannou on UFC 218 in December 2017 and Curtis Blaydes, who dealt out a TKO defeat on UFC 225 in Chicago last summer, ending things in the third round.
Boa Will Be Popular
Soviet Union born fighter Alexey Oleynik goes into this bout as a 41-year-old with 69 professional MMA fights behind him. The Florida-based Russian stands at 6ft 2inches tall and has experience fighting in the middleweight category, before progressing to light heavyweight and eventually heavyweight. His style is reliant on Combat Sambo and Jujutsu, which is obvious to this day.
Of his 69 fights, Oleinik has 57 wins, 45 of them coming by way of submission, the spares made up of eight by knockout and four decision. He has one draw and an alarming 11 defeats, distributed between five KO, four decision and two submission. If judging this fight on stats alone we see too vastly experienced gladiators who are fast-approaching the autumn of their careers, but both men are eager to show there’s still a bit left in the tank by scoring a win that would help them fend off retirement for a while longer. Will Alexey be the man to grab the bragging rights at the conclusion? Many with a shrewd eye for the game believe so and he’ll be popular with fans in the arena.
The Boa Constrictor arrives on the back of a two-fight winning run, but he is another who’s recent showings are somewhat patchy, doing little to convince backers he’s a strong bet for the win. Aleksei has lost two of his last six, that form reading lose-win-win-lose-win-win. If this one is to follow that pattern, we’ll surely see another defeat. He beat Junior Albini by submission on UFC 224 last year in Brazil, gaining a performance of the night bonus, before dealing out a similar punishment to Mark Hunt last time in Moscow, another performance of the night showing. There’s real confidence in the camp and he’ll set-up believing he can complete the hat-trick.
A solid case could be made for either of these fighters winning this and it looks close to a 50/50 on paper, with both blowing hot and cold in recent outings. The betting comes down hard in support of Overeem, however, and that came as a bit of a surprise to us. Backers of Overeem will get no better than 2/5 at 888Sport and that looks terribly short from where we’re standing. Traders think he’ll do it inside the distance too, with 7/2 offered on the bout ending before the scheduled distance. That bet will be paid out as a winner regardless of who has their hand raised.
We are going to take a bit of a risk here and oppose the bookies, mainly because we believe Oleinik offers more than his pre-match price suggests and he rates as the value play. He will be cheered on by a loyal support and the 2/1 offered out by Bet365 is simply too big. Keep your stakes to a minimum, as we’re taking a real gamble and keep your eye on the cash out values offered during the early exchanges.
If the underdog starts well, there’s a possibility you’ll be able to get out with a profit before the end. He’ll know his best chance comes from meeting Overeem in the middle of the octagon and applying pressure from the get-go.
Those looking for a bit more for their money can play the method of victory market where they’ll find the Russian fighter available at 7/2 to win by submission. If you are of the belief this bout will fall into line with the recent form of both men and end in a submission win, Overeem may attract your attention at 22/1 to win by that method. That is on the generous side, we must say.
Other specials worth a mention are the round betting. You’ll get 10/3 on Overeem to win in the first round, 17/2 his opponent. Round two looks like Overeem 9/2 – Oleinik 9/1, with the third-round reading 17/2 – 10/1 in Alistair’s favour.