Overeem “Very Prepared” For Oleinik
With his return to the main event a few days away, Alistair Overeem feels he’ll be able to stop Aleksei Oleinik in the main event of the UFC’s return to Russia on ESPN+.
Oleinik, a friend and former training partner to the Dutch heavyweight, stepped in with limited time to replace the injured Alexander Volkov. While Overeem won’t trash Oleinik, the former PRIDE fighter didn’t like Oleinik’s chances on Saturday night.
“It’s not going to be five rounds,” Overeem told MMA Junkie. “It’s going to be maybe two rounds.”
“I don’t know what happened to Volkov, but I know Aleksei,” Overeem said of his former opponent. “We trained together a couple of times, so yes, it is a completely different opponent, but when training is going well and you’re in shape and you’re in the flow, to me it’s all good. It’s pride, right? I’m not going to shy away from any new challenge, so it’s all good.”
The two linked up while Oleinik was training for a 2013 fight against Mirko Cro Cop, and then again in 2014 when Overeem was preparing for Frank Mir.
“He’s a veteran of the sport,” Overeem said of his training partner turned opponent. “Long limbs, long arms, very tricky submission game – he’s tough. He’s top-10, and there’s a lot of experience there. He has over 50 fights, so it’s going to be a great fight.
“I think people are aware of what can happen, but it’s a moment of weakness, a moment of not paying attention, and then it’s too late…I think that he can disguise them really well, his submissions.
“I’ve got to fight, my fight, and then it will be fine.”
“The focus is this Saturday,” Overeem said when asked if he’s looking at a potential rebooked fight with the highly ranked Volkov. “The focus is Aleksei Oleinik. I was very well-prepared for Volkov, so I’m hoping that fight is still going to materialize. I was all aiming for him, and I was in great shape for that. After this fight, I have hopes that fight will materialize.
Main Card (ESPN+ at 1 p.m. ET)
Alistair Overeem vs. Aleksei Oleinik
Islam Makhachev vs. Arman Tsarukyan
Sergey Pavlovich vs. Marcelo Golm
Ivan Shtyrkov vs. Devin Clark
Roxanne Modafferi vs. Antonina Shevchenko
Krzysztof Jotko vs. Alen Amedovski
Preliminaries (ESPN2, ESPN Deportes at 10 a.m. ET)
Movsar Evloev vs. Seung Woo Choi
Sultan Aliev vs. Keita Nakamura
Alexander Yakovlev vs. Alex Da Silva
Marcin Tybura vs. Shamil Abdurakhimov
Gadzhimurad Antigulov vs. Michal Oleksiejczuk
Magomed Mustafaev vs. Rafael Fiziev