MadLab’s UFC Saint Petersburg Breakdown and Predictions!!!
[responsivevoice_button voice=”UK English Female” buttontext=”Listen to Post”]
Alistair Overeem $8900 vs. Aleksei Oleinik $7300
Both of these guys are complete wild cards. If this fight was 5-6 years ago it wouldn’t even be a thought in my mind. I would be taking the Reem all day, but now there is def a flag as he has gotten older and how sneaky the older man in Oleinik has been as of late. I think it really borders on the premise of style fitting their age and their form as older fighters. The Reem really tried to change his style in his older years because he understood that his chin was not what it was and instead of standing and banging shot for shot, he was going to use his striking ability to be much more cautious in his engagements. Whereas Oleinik understands that his freaky grappling and his insane grip is always going to be his ace in a hole. There is not much about his style that he really needed to change. It is what it is at this point and it is a style that he can carry to the end of his career until he is ready to really just hang them up which I am assuming isn’t too far off. The problem with his style is that he really is a complete mummy on the feet and providing you understand that coupled with if he grabs you it may be over, then you should be just fine with a decent stand-up game. The problem is so many people get baited into this odd style with Oleinik. You would think that a sharp fighter would just pick him apart from the outside like target practice, but it seems as if he magnates you towards him. He has the ability to somehow just lure you into a spot where he can just somehow get his hands on you. With many fighters, if they grab you then you can more likely than not weasel your way out, but when Oleinik grabs you, the chances of you escaping are extremely thin. His grip is tremendous, and the way he slowly ties you up; it is a slow process you start to understand that you are becoming engulfed by him, and it is no longer escapable at that point. I mean, I think his record speaks for itself. 57 Wins with 45 by way of submission is a very good indicator on how good this guy’s grappling game is. With that said, The Reem should really be able to stay away from this type of fight. Using lateral movement, staying on his bike, and just keeping away from that close-quarters style of fight. If they do clash in a close range then push away and reset. I don’t see Reem having any disadvantage on the feet and even tho he has a very underrated grappling game, I think he understands its cant go there. Both men don’t have a tremendous gas tank so If this makes it into the 3rd, 4th, or 5th round then you can expect this to become a sloppy labored fight. I just think The Reem is going to be too much for him here and I think he finishes the master submission artist before the horn.
The Pick: The Reem
Islam Makhachev $9400 vs. Arman Tsarukyan $6800
TSA impressed me believe it or not when I watched his film. Before I even looked at his record, at first look I said to myself “this kid is pretty well rounded”. Then when I saw his record it made sense. In his 13 wins, 5 have been by way of submission and 5 is by way of KO. So my first look on this kid was very accurate. Standing, he throws a very diverse attack and his kicking game high and low is pretty tricky for such a young fighter. His grappling is on point as well and I have seen him make some pretty timeful and explosive level changes that set him into perfect hip entry for the takedown as well. The kid isn’t just a name off the street, I must admit. The kid looks like he has potential. At 13-1 despite if the competition is bad or not, the kid is doing his job and he’s winning and that is all you can really ask for. But debuting against someone like Makhachev that is ok such an upswing with a super high ceiling, it’s kind of hard to believe the UFC debuting fighter will be able to capsize the momentum of the hometown fighter that is 5-1 under the UFC umbrella. With a total record of 17-1, he without a doubt brings more promise into the Russian influx of talent that has been rolling in. A very calculated fighter with a Sambo background, Makhachev trades with you until he can really try and secure some type of top control. Averaging over 4 takedowns a fight, it is really no secret where he wants this fight to go, but it is going to but up to the young fighter to really not let it get there. Mackachev has a very unmerciful top game, and the chances of you having success when you are under him are not really in your favor. I m expecting this kid to at least carry his own on his potential and talent early, but in the end, it will be all Makhachev getting the control he wants, the positioning he wants, and the win that he wants in front of his home crowd.
The Pick: Makhachev
Sergei Pavlovich $9200 vs. Marcelo Golm $7000
This is a fight that, believe it or not, should really be a little closer than its showing. Both of these guys really aren’t good enough to warrant any price tag in the $9k range but I think what they are looking at is the fact that Pavlovich is a southpaw which is usually trouble for people and on top of it, he holds 9-inch reach advantage which is pretty crazy. This is a fight in which if Golm was much more of a wrestler that I would feel much more comfortable taking him, but he is more of a striker and that’s fine too, but getting by that 9-inch reach could def cause some issues for Golm. In Pavlovich’s last fight against Overeem, that was a completely different animal altogether. Overeem isn’t getting technically outstruck by many. Catch him? Sure, but his striking is extremely technical and if you don’t catch him then he is most likely going to find his mark eventually against these youngsters. That’s exactly what he did by finishing off Pavlovich in the very first round of the set. Golm is not The Reem and I can assure you that he will never be, so comparing that fight is quite stupid, but I will say this. If Golm can get in on the inside and make this a phone booth fight or drag it to the ground, then you can be seeing a very different outcome, but I can’t really bank on that here. I do see a situation that Golm can lock this up on the ground and steal some precious time winning him some rounds, but I really just don’t want to bank on that against a guy who holds so many more attributes on the feet and will make it dangerous for Golm getting in on him.
The Pick: Pavlovich
Ivan Shtyrkov $8700 vs. Devin Clark $7500
I am very interested to see how Shtyrkov does in the big show with a record of 15-0 and has beaten some game opponents as well. As big as he is you would think that he would be just some kind of a brawler, but not so fast. With his winning finishing ratio at 6 KOs and 5 Submissions, you can see he is much more well rounded than expected and even holds a submission win against extremely high pedigree grappler and ADCC Champion Jeff Monson. At only 30 years of age, he seems to be really primed for this spot and it looks like he will have all of his country behind him here. There is a lot of hype swirling around about this kid and after his submission win against former UFC player Thiago Santos, I think it was time to introduce this big heavyweight to the big show. He will take on Devin Clark who brings in a game that usually is able to outmuscle the opposition with a good solid wrestling foundation but that has not always been the right of passage for him and I wouldn’t consider him to be the smartest fighter on the roster but he is very athletic and physically can really compete with a lot of the more powerful men in the division. With that said he is not a huge finisher and that can be a problem against a guy like Shtyrkov because he just finds ways to put you in really bad positions when he has the opportunity to do so and I don’t think that even given Clark’s athletic ability and lower power in, he will be able to handle the overwhelming power and pressure of Shtyrkov here. The UFC has him here for a reason. He is fighting in front of his country, he is undefeated, and they don’t want him to lose. Losing to Devin Clark will not be a good look for him and a no win for the UFC, so even tho he needs to go out and get this done, I see no reason he doesn’t.
The Pick: Shtyrkov
Roxanne Modafferi $6900 vs. Antonina Shevchenko $9300
This fight is just written all over the wall. Even tho Antonina is not her sister Valentina, she still has a very dynamic striking game with very good in and out movement. Setting a fight up with Modafferi just seems like a very hand fed fight for her to keep her active against a fighter that is very very tough and will eat a lot of what she is throwing. There is no denying the overall toughness in Modafferi and her skills but there is also something to be said about her lack in athletic ability. She fights extremely robotic and she just won’t be able to beat Antonina to the punch. Everyone knows that I am a huge advocate of toughness, but if you have no athletic ability behind it, then you can see a record like hers at 22-15. She has a very good ability to will her way to victory, mostly by decision, which can really be a curse in this fight. With 13 of 22 decision wins, I really don’t see where she wins a decision against the long and rangy high pedigree striker in Antonina. With a 39-1 kickboxing record and a 7-0 MMA record, Antonina should really be able to pick the slower Modafferi off at range and at will. However, finishing Modafferi won’t be an easy task and Antonina does have 5 decisions in 7 wins. It just seems like a total setup for Valentina’s sister to win. A points match in which I highly doubt Modafferi can keep up with. The UFC gets what they want and adds another win in Antonina’s win column.
The Pick: Shevchenko
Krzysztof Jotko $8600 vs. Alen Amedovski $7600
This line can seem a little weird, given the downslide of Jotko as of late and the record of Amedovski coming into this one. Amedovski is 8-0 with all of his fights ending in the 1st round by KO except for 2 of them. Those fights ended by KO in the 2nd round. JOtko, on the other hand, has been KO’d in his last 2 fights and dropped his last 3. So many people will look at this like it doesn’t make much sense, but here’s why it actually does. First off, if you watch Amedovski then you will see that he really isn’t that very good. He has a very explosive striking style in the pocket and he tends to clip you with something big, but there is zero discipline behind it and when he starts to fighters that understand how to actually stay away from brawls, he will most likely become taken advantage of. Another thing that makes me nervous about him and his style is you really don’t know how long that pace and style will last because he hasn’t shown us anything out of the 2nd round. Will he fade? Will he be able to keep up that pace? I am going to say no. I am going to say that Jotko has a prime opportunity to get off the wall here and get a much-needed win. The thing with Jotko is that we are all nervous about the chin and that is really understandable, but a few things that I really like in his corner is that he has the UFC experience and unlike Amedovski he tends to go to the cards in his wins which is 12 out of 19 wins, so we know he has the cardio to do so. Believe me, I know the dangers of a Rustic chin after a few flat lines, but if you really watch this guy in slow motion, he really doesn’t have great mechanics and majority of his strikes in heated exchanges are thrown very blindly. Someone with power will eventually catch him, but someone with chops will stay away from it and make him desperate. I think Jotko fights a smart fight, lets him empty his tank a bit and then starts to engage with more a disciplined style in which just makes him look like the fighter in much more control. Good matchup for both men on paper, but this is Jotko’s fight to win or lose in my opinion.
The Pick: Jotko
Movsar Evloev $9100 vs. Seungwoo Choi $7100
At 10-0, Evloev brings a very interesting style to his game. A push forward pressure fighter that has a well-rounded game that is still raw but has a good ceiling. He seems to really use his striking for a means to really get in close and start using his clinch game to try and tie up with you in the hopes to start imploring his grappling where he has pretty heavy hips. In his 10 wins, he has 3 by KO, 4 by way of Submission, and 4 by way of decision. He can get it done everywhere, but the ground is really where he likes to do his work. In all honesty, it would probably be his best bet in a fight where Seung-Woo will be holding a clear size advantage here. Even tho he only holds a 2-inch reach advantage here, he will be fighting much longer as holds the clear height advantage with a 5-inch difference. Evloev’s punches will need to travel up and that is more space to cover which can always be a task. With that said, the pro here for Evloev is the clear path that he will have to really implore what he likes to do by literally flying in underneath to suck in the hips on Seung-woo and secure some ground control that will surely be to his advantage. Even tho he will be the one bringing the pressure, Staying on the feet will not be something that I would suggest. Take it in close, take away the range, and put him on his back. That should be the 1 and only game plan. At 7-1 Seung-woo does have 5 by way of KO and that is something that can come to fruition if Evloev’s decides to dance with him. I don’t think he does tho. I think Evloev knows where his path here and I think he takes it.
The Pick: Evloev
Sultan Aliev $8000 vs. Keita Nakamura $8200
At first, I saw Nakamura’s name and my first thought was “Well, this is going to a decision” and then I saw who he was fighting and I was curious now to see if Aliev can do to Nakamura what 1 person in 48 fights has been able to do and that is KO him. I find it doubtful to be quite honest. The guy is so durable and he just understands how to really slow things down and bring things into his terms whether he wins or loses. Both men have very contrasting styles. At one time Nakamura was a submission machine with 17 Subs in 34 wins, but as time grew past his favor he became very content to win any way he could, which has led to 5 of his last 6 fights ending by way of decision. Aliev is a looking to take your head home on a platter and more times than not he is usually successful in doing so with 10 of his 14 wins coming by way of KO. With that said, we have also seen him get KO’d twice on the UFC level and that just shows that he himself gets reckless at times and can be caught in a firefight that he chooses to play in. This is not one of those fights for him in which I fear him getting Knocked out, but I do fear him not being able to really get off on Nakamura and the longer the fight does drag on it will give Nakamura more of an edge to get this to the ground and possibly even submit Aliev. With that said, I just feel Nakamura has seen it all before and will be able to really adjust to whatever style is thrown at him and although the upside of Alievs power is very real, I am not want to really think that he will be able to impose that the way he wants here and that is putting my on Nakamura to take this fight over late when Aliev runs out of gas and answers.
The Pick: Nakamura
Alexander Yakovlev $8300 vs. Alex Da Silva $7900
It amazes me that when a country hosts a fight the fighters will come out of the woodwork lobbying for a spot so they can be a part of it in front of their home people. Which is normal but Yakovlev has not fought since 2016 since his loss to Zak Cummings. Makes you wonder what the motive is here. With a 23-9 record, he has a very good wrestling game that can control the dictation of the fight if you let it get to that point. Against a pressure fighter, he will fight on his bike and wait for you to throw before he level changes or just tries to tie you up. With a very good top pressure game, he is more calculated than oozing with offense. But its been 3 years since he has fought and what the hell can we expect from him? Well, the only thing we can really gauge from is his past showings from then maybe a step or 2 slower. He will be fighting Brazilian Da Silva who brings a very high octane striking style. In his 20 wins, he has 13 by way of KO and 7 by way of submission, but it is clear that he likes to throw leather and that can actually work right into the wheelhouse of Yakovlev to slow things down and really just fight at his pace. I think this will be a fight of control. I know it’s been a lay-off but it is in his hometown and I highly doubt they are setting him up to fail here. At the end of the day, he will need to do his job and get the win, but I don’t think he would take the fight if he put himself completely on the shelf for this long in front of his people. Scary fight due to the layoff but a fight that is his to win if he slows things down and drags the fight where he wants it.
The Pick: Yakovlev
Marcin Tybura $8400 vs. Shamil Abdurakhimov $7800
This is def one of the tougher fights to call because both men are actually well rounded for the division. Tybura comes in at 17-4 and 4-3 under the UFC umbrella. Tybura has gotten the opportunity to face some big names in his stay here, but it seems that he just can’t beat the guys that he needs to beat to get spring boarded. However, here he is back in the mix of it all and it seems that both men need this fight to climb an extra rung to start rearing their heads again. For Tybura, he will look to tie 2 wins together after a 2 fight losing streak. For Abdurakhimov he will look to make it 3 straight in which he would not be denied after that for a better look. ADB is very similar to Tybura in a sense that they both can take things anywhere, but sometimes when styles matchup so similarly you wonder where they are taking it and what loopholes they will be looking for. This fight is not a fight that has 2 men with great cardio so this can very well come down to who secures what in the later part of this fight. I think this fight might be somewhat unproductive, to be honest. I think the first round can be very important here. As this fight goes on, these boys will slow down and can become very messy and this may be a lay and pray type of fight after the first round. I think I am going to take the dog here. I think he will be the one that comes out of the gate looking to get something done leading the dance. Given his cardio down the stretch, I think Tybura can gain some ground but he may just have enough to fend off the Polish fighter by a hair.
The Pick: Abdurakhimov
Gadzhimurad Antigulov $7400 vs. Michal Oleksiejczuk $8800
Olek is coming in with some promise here. The 25-year-old is looking like he has some good skills and potential to work with. He is totally willing to strike with you and is pretty durable for the most part. He tends to take care of business very early with majority of his wins coming in the 1st round. It will be very wise of him to really pull back the throttle here. Fighting Antigulov, the game plan is very simple. Let him blow his wad early, stay off the canvas and then pop the throttle later. Antigulov is a known gasser, and despite his 15 wins by submission, he is at a tipping point that he really needs to get things done early or they aren’t going to really end well for him later in fights where guys can weather the storm. He is going to look to get this to the ground very early and if he does get it there then you can hold onto your hats because things can get rough for Oleksiejczuk. With that said I would rather bank on Oleksiejczuk lasting early then I do Antigulov grabbing a limb before he gasses.
The Pick: Oleksiejczuk
Magomed Mustafaev $8500 vs. Rafael Fiziev $7700
Very fun fight here, but one that I see dangerous for both men. Both of these guys throw with firepower and look for the KO. Mustafaev has 14 wins and 10 by way of KO. In his 2 losses, he was submitted twice. Has very heavy hands, good kicks, and puts on a very good pace. With that said, he has never really gone past the 2nd round and you wonder if he will have the steam if this goes to the 3rd against the more technical patient striker in Fiziev. The other issue here is that Mustafaev has been on the shelf since 2016 and you wonder what he will look at. If you have a very technical game then I can see you being able to really keep away from him and play Matador with him. Fiziev in his own right has 6 wins with 5 KOs, so he is looking for the finish as well. With that said, Fiziev is the better and more polished fighter that can play that Matador game with him. The problem I have here is that Fiziev hasn’t fought a major step up like this before. Mustafaev is a nut when he fights and sometimes that is something you can’t plan for. If this goes deeper you will start seeing the difference in actual skills, but Mustafaev is going to bring so much heat that I have to lean on him here to possibly catch him with something big by surprised
The Pick: Mustafaev
- The Reem $8900
He keeps this standing and doesn’t get caught in the grasp of the boa constrictor. He wins this inside the horn… Get Some…
- Oleinik $7300
If he gets this to the ground, things can get very very dicey. I don’t see it happening, but I sure as shit can’t doubt him totally. Very small dose.
- Makhachev $9400
Russia loves him… UFC Loves him… His price is high but against such a youngster with him being on a roll is a one eye open and one eye closed play but one I am willing to take a few swings on.
- Tsarukyan $6800
I am not seeing it here… The kid is talented, but I don’t think it’s his time…
- Pavlovich $9200
He’s big and he likes to bang. 12 wins with 9 by way of KO tells you something about his style. He comes to end the dance early. Although he is a little pricey here against Golm who has never been finished, he is in Russia and he does have the ability to get it done inside the horn. I am not sold on his price at all but the big boys are always intriguing and it’s hard not to take a small swing in this spot.
- Golm $7000
Don’t mind this price at all. He is a heavyweight, has decent power in his hands and he is a very capable grappler. I picked him to lose the fight but at heavyweight anything can happen. $7k is worth a small heavyweight swing.
- Shtyrkov $8700
I think the guy is the poster board for steroids but he is a pretty solid fighter with some good skills early on. It’s later on in the fight that concerns me. Carrying that much muscle can take some wind from your sails so you will be looking for him to come out of the gate early and hope he doesn’t get rolled early. He is worth a few swings with his upside but you may have company.
- Clark $7500
If he can weather the storm early, there is a clear window for him to take over late. He is worth a flyer in some lineups, but he will need to get through a war early.
- Modafferi $6900
She is tough and probably will last, but I am off her.
- Shevchenko $9300
She is expensive, and Modafferi is not one to be easily disposed. She may be a bit more owned then she should be due to her name but the price tag is a little high for me here.
- Jotko $8600
Jotko may go overlooked here for his price and the combo that he has been KO’d in his last 2 fights and now is facing an 8-0 KO artist with all of his wins by KO. A dangerous spot for him to be in with his landslide as of late, but he is the better fighter and I think this fight is going to look much different than his last 3. I’m interested.
- Amedovski $7600
All his wins are by way of KO, and he does come to party, but he has never faced this level of competition before and it may cause him to overreact in ways that he feels like he needs to really finish the fight. If things don’t go his way and adrenaline dump just may set in here. I think I am passing
- Evloev $9100
He is comfortable on the feet but more comfortable on the ground. He will be fighting a much taller man that will most likely give him some good looks at his hips. If he decides to expose that, then he can be a guy that scores well. The price is high, people may tend to shy away a bit, but I am actually interested here. I think if he fights underneath, he can ground this early. I will have some.
- Seungwoo $7100
The price is right and if he keeps it standing then he should be able to dictate terms. I don’t hate it but I also don’t love it. Even tho there is a path for him here, I don’t see him staying off his back. In turn will affect the points and the possible outcome to the fight.
- Aliev $8000
I don’t hate him, but I will say this. Nakamura is not one to be finished easily. So take that for what it’s worth in a fight that I think may more than likely go to the cards
- Nakamura $8200
He isn’t a huge finisher lately and his game is really his crafty submission game. If he wins inside the distance it will most likely be that way. He isn’t a horrible play, but with a guy who has been comfortable on his feet and tends to go to the cards lately, you need to play with caution and expect a capped ceiling.
- Yakovlev $8300
His wrestling should be able to really control the time here, but it is scary that he hasn’t been active. You are rostering him blindly but at his price with a win and some active takedowns he can cover his value in a win.
- Da Silva $7900
If he can find a way to keep this standing, then his window is good, but it will be rough sledding I think if he gets grounded. Not a play I am super high on but given Yakovlev has been shelved for 3 years, you really never know. Not a terrible play.
- Tybura $8400 / Abdurakhimov $7800
A fight that may not score very well, but it can end in a finish at some point so picking the right side is crucial, considering both men really have rough tanks. But someone has to come out on top, right? I am more prone to the dog in these spots so the weight I do play here will lean heavier on the dog, but I won’t have too much here.
- Antigulov $7400
I am not going to say no because the upside is there, but it has to be there early. His gas tank is weak and if he doesn’t grab a limb early then it could be a bad fight for him down the stretch. With that said, he will look to get it to the ground early. Whether he gets it there or not is an entirely different ball of wax, and if he gets it there early enough before his gas is gone is a situation too. I will take a few small ones on his early upside but I am not expecting much from him if he can’t find his window early.
- Oleksiejczuk $8800
If the finish comes it will come late when Antigulov is good and gassed. At $8800, people may avoid him a bit. I like the window he has and feel he can finish Antigulov late if he can manage to stay off his back. He is worth a look with KO upside.
- Mustafaev $8500
The upside is there, but Mustafaev has been on the shelf. With that said, I have to say the style of fighter that he is gives him an intriguing upside that I personally have a hard time overlooking all together. 1st fight of the night so I will play with caution but I will play.
- Fiziev $7700
He is the better technical fighter, and if he plays the right game, then he can surely get this done against a guy that will possibly have some cage rust. I don’t hate it, and I will have a taste to hedge in the first fight of the night.
Not crazy about these fights at all, but these are the 1 bet I will be making:
- Overeem -230
- 2.3 Units to win 1 Unit
Good luck ya’ll
[responsivevoice_button voice=”UK English Female” buttontext=”Listen to Post”]