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UFC Moscow Recap: Alexey Oleinik chokes out a game Mark Hunt in the first round

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Mark Hunt looked fine for the majority of his fight with Russian submission wizard Alexey Oleinik. But, once Oleinik got on top (or rather on back), it only took a couple of seconds to end the Super Samoan’s night.

The first round of the UFC Moscow main event was spent mostly on the feet. From the outset Oleinik looked to stalk Hunt, which seemed an odd choice given Hunt’s KO bona fides. It only took three leg kicks from the PRIDE and K-1 vet to have Oleinik limping and second guessing his stand-up strategy.

The Russian fighter looked rudderless with his damaged left leg, but he kept winging punches. One of which glanced Hunt and dropped him to a knee. But Hunt recovered quickly. Not long after that though, Oleinik threw himself into a desperation takedown attempt. And it paid off. Hunt had shrugged off earlier attempts with ease, but this time the two big men hit the canvas with a thump.

Oleinik looked like he was late for dinner, as he rushed to take Hunt’s back and immediately started hunting for a rear naked choke. With the clock ticking down under a minute, Oleinik got under Hunt’s chin and got the tap.

What was the high point of the fight?

The rear-naked choke finish is undoubtedly the high point of the fight, unless you’re Mark Hunt. It was another example of Oleinik’s inhuman squeeze ability, which tonight was powerful enough to have the extremely tough Hunt tapping almost instantaneously. Oleinik’s work leading up to the tap was impressive, too. But you wonder if it would have been harder for him had he been working against an opponent with better defense and less miles on the clock. Regardless of the opponent, this goes down as only the 45th submission of ‘The Boa Constrictor’’s career.

Where do these two go from here?

Personally, I don’t want to see anyone over 40 have to fight in MMA to make a living (or just do it for kicks) given the risks involved in the sport. However, with the MMA landscape as it is (which includes the UFC controlling a market that woefully underpays fighters) I think we’ll see both Oleinik and Hunt competing a few more times yet.

For Oleinik, he’s 6-2 in the UFC and now has two wins back-to-back. He’s not a serious title challenger, though stranger things have happened in this sport. Even so, he’ll land in the top ten rankings after this one. Once there, maybe Marcin Tybura comes next? Failing that, you could see Oleinik against someone like Stefan Struve or his fellow UFC Moscow winner Shamil Abdurakhimov.

In Mark Hunt’s post-fight interview there was no official retirement announcement. He didn’t exactly sound emphatic about returning to the cage, though. The veteran didn’t take any damage in this fight, so I imagine he will finish out the final fight of his UFC contract. If he does, I think he versus Andrei Arlovski makes sense. Arlovski also lost at the event (to Abdurakhimov). It seems crazy that Hunt and Arlovski haven’t fought before. It needs to happen soon if it’s going to happen at all.

Watch it now, later, or never?

This fight definitely had potential to land in the ‘never’ category. However, it was a pretty entertaining round of heavyweight action. I say watch it now. It was an intriguing at first, with Hunt looking spry and alert, and the finish was masterful in its execution.


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