Tomorrow night veteran Alistair Overeem makes his 16th walk into the Octagon as he prepares to take on Ukrainian born Russian Alexey Oleynik in the main event of the evening. Speaking to the world’s media before the St Petersburg showdown, Overeem (44-17-1NC) is in confident mood as he looks to notch up win number 45 in his 20-year professional MMA career.
“I’m feeling really good and well-prepared for the weekend. Everything has gone to schedule and as planned so I feel great.”
Overeem’s last fight in the UFC was on the Beijing card in November last year against another Russian, Sergei Pavlovich, which resulted in a 1st round TKO victory. When asked about his fight camp for this fight, Overeem is most certainly raring to go
“It was really good. I’ve been working incredibly hard and feel like I’m peaking just at the right time which is always nice. It’s safe to say I’m firing on all cylinders and operating at 100%.”
In Alexey Oleynik, Overeem squares up against another highly experienced mixed martial artist. Oleynik has notched up an impressive 69 professional fights which have resulted in 57 wins, 11 defeats and 1 draw. Known for his grappling ability, Overeem is all too aware of the potential threat facing him.
“I’ve had to make some adjustments for sure. I was facing a striker before but now I’m taking on a grappler so had to adapt my prep slightly. At the end of the day I’m confident in myself, I’m in great shape so it ultimately doesn’t matter who I face.”
With confidence obviously riding high, Overeem doesn’t see anything less than a victory on Saturday night proclaiming “I’m going to finish him before the third… all I need is two rounds.”
Olyenik stepped in earlier this month after original opponent, Alexander Volkov pulled out of the fight but will still have the backing of what will no doubt be a vociferous Russian crowd. Overeem however is looking forward to returning to Russia.
“It’s very exciting to be fighting in Saint Petersburg! I fought there in 2002 so I can’t wait to return as a headliner and put on a show for the crowd.”
Should Overeem’s prediction come to fruition tomorrow night, The Reem feels that he would only be one more win away from a title shot.
“Right now, my focus is on the next fight and getting another a victory. To get a shot at the title I think I need three victories. I’ve got one under my belt and am confident of making it two come Saturday night. If I could secure a bout in September to win that third, then that would be ideal.”
Main Card (BT Sport 6pm)
Heavyweight: Alistair Overeem vs. Alexey Olyenik
Lightweight: Islam Makhachev vs. Arman Tsarukyan
Heavyweight: Sergei Pavlovich vs. Marcelo Golm
Light Heavyweight: Ivan Shtyrkov vs. Devin Clark
Flyweight: Roxanne Modafferi vs. Antonina Shevchenko
Middleweight: Krzysztof Jotko vs. Alen Amedovski
Preliminary Card (UFC Fight Pass 3pm)
Featherweight: Movsar Evloev vs. Seung Woo Choi
Welterweight: Sultan Aliev vs. Keita Nakamura
Lightweight: Alexander Yakovlev vs. Alex da Silva Coelho
Heavyweight: Marcin Tybura vs. Shamil Abdurakhimov
Light Heavyweight: Gadzhimurad Antigulov vs. Michał Oleksiejczuk
Lightweight: Magomed Mustafaev vs. Rafael Fiziev