UFC: Heavyweight Heroics Or Heartbreak
By James Lee
As mixed martial arts leading promotion are set to partake in a week of fights, it could be said that those with the most to either gain or lose convene tightly in the heavyweight division.
As UFC President Dana White has set about delivering the most entertaining week of combat this year, the heavyweight competitors are a significant part of that. However, they cannot be in Florida for animation, as serious career ramifications exist.
It is difficult not to start with the fight between Fabricio Werdum and Alexey Oleinik that will take place on the UFC 249 preliminary card.
Both men are aged forty-two and have a lot to dissipate. Werdum especially is somebody who must reinstate his position amongst the strong with a win, considering he has spent the past two years away from the sport for a USADA doping violation.
The former heavyweight champion’s lasting memory currently is a knockout loss to Alexander Volkov, and he must erase that if he wants to pursue a championship run shortly.
His opponent Alexey Oleinik is much of the equivalent. Although UFC 246 primarily centred about Conor McGregor’s triumphant return, Oleinik’s submission victory over American Maurice Greene did not go unnoticed.
With a record of 58-13-1, which includes wins across a broad range of competition, there is one thing that the Russian heavyweight does, and that is win. His second-round submission finish in January was his 47th win in the grappling department. Still, most importantly, he broke a two-fight losing streak in the process. The fight with Werdum allows him to continue on to the championship capability he deems worthy of.
The UFC 249 main card opener lacks the most utmost significance, but still holds high pertinence for those competing.
Greg Hardy has amassed everything but positivity since his arrival to the sport, and although deemed widely undeserving, he has cemented his spot on yet another landmark event.
Although rightfully a dark cloud will permanently shadow his career, all he can do for acceptance is to win and attract. He has another chance at that against Yorgan de Castro.
Undefeated Jairzinho Rozenstruik has the chance to cement his chance at UFC gold when he faces Francis N’Gannou in Jacksonville. It is seen that Rozenstruik has followed the heavyweight blueprint that his counterpart set out, with his past two wins coming over Andrei Arlovski and Alistair Overeem, much like N’Gannou previously.
The pair share arguably the most critical asset in the sport; unadulterated, inexorable and unspecified power. Championship ambition awaits for the winner, who shall mark themselves as the most dangerous fighter in the history of the sport.
Finally, the card on May 16th will be headlined by Alistair Overeem and Walt Harris. Sadly, the situation regarding Harris last year shook the sporting world. Next Saturday will be his return to competition and a chance to continue his recent breakthrough against a bonafide fable of combat.
Although entirely successful since his loss to Fabricio Werdum in 2017, the step up to fight Overeem is a meaningful one. The Dutch fighter has seen everything in the cage, and the American must use his recent progress as confidence to stake his claim at the top of the division.
Ultimately, it is unquestionable that every fight in the coming week signifies something. However, something feels different for those at heavyweight. A variation of championship potential and a definite drop exists. Whatever the future holds, though, drama is guaranteed.