Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns to Russia this Saturday morning (April 20, 2019) with a clash of Heavyweight veterans at the helm. UFC Fight Night 149’s main event in Saint Petersburg sees submission master Aleksei Oleinik step up on short notice to face Alistair Overeem. The main card also includes top Lightweight prospect Arman Tsarukyan’s Octagon debut against division dark horse Islam Makhachev and Heavyweight prospect Sergei Pavlovich attempting to rebound against Marcelo Golm.
Let’s see what we can’t squeeze out of this:
What Went Wrong at UFC 236?
Jalin Turner laid an egg, that’s what went wrong. His lack of urgency allowed a far shorter, far less able striker in Matt Frevola to repeatedly score takedowns and kept him from racking up enough damage on the feet to offset “Steamrolla’s” top control time. Luckily, Belal Muhammad was there to mitigate the damage, but it’s still frustrating.
UFC Fight Night 149 (ESPN+ 7) Odds For The Undercard:
Movsar Evloev (-275) vs. Seung Woo Choi (+235)
Sultan Aliev (-120) vs. Keita Nakamura (EVEN)
Alexander Yakovlev (-140) vs. Alex da Silva (+130)
Marcin Tybura (-155) vs. Shamil Abdurakhimov (+135)
Michal Oleksiejczuk (-210) vs. Gadzhimurad Antigulov (+175)
Magomed Mustafaev (-160) vs. Rafael Fiziev (+140)
Thoughts: Well, that’s a whole mess of risky propositions, but I suppose this is gambling, after all. Antigulov is the best underdog bargain, though a bit on Rafael Fiziev wouldn’t go awry.
You know those fighters who will come out throwing nothing, but haymakers and either score an immediate knockout or gas themselves out in three minutes? Antigulov has somehow made that mindset work with grappling. He goes for instant takedowns and locks up chokes in scrambles, a tactic that has netted him a dozen finishes in less than two minutes apiece. Oleksiejczuk has to deal with this on short notice, and Antigulov is such a unique fighter that I’m not sure that’s doable. Even though the Russian’s stock is low after his loss to Ion Cutelaba, I have him scoring the early finish.
Magomed Mustafaev is infinitely more proven than Rafael Fiziev, but he’s also been out for over two years and is going up against a technically superior striker. Fiziev’s enormous wealth of Muay Thai experience and ability to consistently punish overaggressive opponents have me leaning his way. Fiziev’s a newcomer, so don’t go crazy, but there’s value here.
UFC Fight Night 149 (ESPN+ 7) Odds For The Main Card:
Alistair Overeem (-240) vs. Aleksei Oleinik (+200)
Islam Makhachev (-370) vs. Arman Tsarukyan (+310)
Sergei Pavlovich (-270) vs. Marcelo Golm (+230)
Ivan Shtyrkov (-175) vs. Devin Clark (+155)
Antonina Shevchenko (-360) vs. Roxanne Modafferi (+300)
Krzysztof Jotko (-190) vs. Alen Amedovski (+165)
Thoughts: I know Aleksei Oleinik was designed in a lab to make mixed martial arts (MMA) pundits look stupid, but I like the line on “The Reem.” Overeem just recently demolished a strong top control specialist in Sergei Pavlovich, and the only submission loss of his career was tapping to strikes against a prime Ricardo Arona in 2006. Oleinik’s only real hope is clipping Overeem’s shaky chin, and while that’s always a possibility with Overeem, Oleinik is so slow and hittable that I don’t see him pulling that off. Parlaying Overeem with “Prelims” headliner Movsar Evloev, a blue-chip talent, gives near-even odds, so go with that.
UFC Fight Night 149 (ESPN+ 7) Best Bets:
- Single bet — Gadzhimurad Antigulov: Bet $60 to make $105
- Single bet — Rafael Fiziev: Bet $40 to make $65
- Parlay — Movsar Evloev and Alistair Overeem: Bet $50 to make $46.72
UFC Fight Night 149 is coasting on interesting prospects and the potential for dramatic finishes rather than name value, but if you’ve already got an ESPN+ subscription, there’s no reason not to tune in. See you Saturday, Maniacs!
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver live UFC Fight Night 149 results on fight night, which is as good a place as any to talk about all the action inside the Octagon, as well as what you’ve got riding on the sportsbook.