UFC St. Petersburg: What Next for the Losers
By James Heaney
Despite numerous fight changes and cancellations UFC St Petersburg delivered an entertaining card and helped raise the profile of some of the organisations lesser known fighters.
It was always going to be a tall order for Oleinik, stepping in on just 17 days notice to fight Alistair Overeem- replacing Alexander Volkov. The Ukrainian born veteran took the fight to Overeem immediately- pulling guard and threatening one of his outstanding chokes. But Overeem weathered the early storm and finished in classic Overeem style- with heavy knees and ground and pound. Oleinik’s stock should not drop too much given the circumstances and it is only his second loss in his last six.
There will be options for his next fight- but Justin Willis, coming off a loss to Curtis Blaydes, who also beat Oleinik nearly 18 months ago could be a good option. Alternatively, a fellow Eastern European heavyweight, Shamil Abdurakhimov had a great win in St Petersburg and will be looking for a step up in competition. Oleinik could well be the man to provide that.
Tsarukyan gave a great account of himself in his UFC debut, surprising many by taking Islam Makhachev the distance and earning himself a Fight of The Night Bonus in the co-headline slot. Makhachev admitted in his post fight interview that he too was surprised by Tsarukyans strength on the ground, although it was not enough, as Tsarukyan moved to 13-2 in his MMA career.
Tsarukyan looks to have the potential for a bright future. Exciting fighter Jalin Turner, coming off a recent loss to Matt Frevola at UFC236 is an option, as is South African prospect Don Madge who impressed with a finish at UFC Moncton a in late 2018.
It took just over a minute for heavy hitting Sergey Pavlovich for stop Marcelo Golm, taking him to 0-3 in his last 3. A three fight skid often leads to being released from the UFC but if the American Top Team rep gets the chance, fellow Brazilian Junior Albini, also on a losing streak could provide the competition, potentially on the undercard of the UFC’s trip to Paraguay later this year.
Former Contender Series standout Shevchenko suffered her first MMA loss at the hands of veteran Roxanne Modafferi, who was a great test for Antonina to test how her skills matched up in the division. Shevchenko went in as a -345 favourite but her kickboxing prowess was muted by Modaferri’s outstanding grappling.
Antonina will be looking to showcase her striking in her next bout and Ashlee Evans Smith, coming off a loss to Andrea Lee could be an option. Elsewhere, Molly McCann is coming off a wild and exciting fight at UFC Liverpool and pairing her with Shevchenko could produce fireworks, although McCann has a fight already signed and sealed.
Krzysztof Jotko’s dominance of debutant Amedovski was reflected in the judges scorecards, with two 30-26s and a 30-25 supporting the one sided fight stats. It was, however, the first loss of his MMA career.
Having previously finished most of his fights with strikes, the Macedonian, fighting out of American Top Team may need a striking match up in his next fight.
Anthony Fernandez, also 0-1 in the UFC is an option, coming off a submission loss to Markus Pérez, as is Jack Marshmann, who would happily stand and exchange with Amedovski.