On Sunday evening, Russian heavyweight Alexey Oleynik posted a photo to Instagram that showed a bout agreement for the UFC’s September 15 debut in Moscow, Russia.
Shortly thereafter, MMA Fighting’s Ariel Helwani reported that a bout between Oleynik and Fabricio Werdum has been “seriously discussed as a top fight” for this anticipated Moscow card.
Aleksei Oleinik vs. Fabricio Werdum has been seriously discussed as a top fight for the UFC’s debut event in Moscow on Sept. 15, sources confirm. Not finalized at the moment. Oleinik told reporters he was interested in fighting Werdum next after his win at UFC 224.
— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) May 21, 2018
“Aleksey Oleynik vs. Fabricio Werdum has been seriously discussed as a top fight for the UFC’s debut event in Moscow on Sept. 15, sources confirm,” Helwani said in his Tweet. “Not finalized at the moment. Oleinik told reporters he was interested in fighting Werdum next after his win at UFC 224.”
From there, BJPenn.com’s Tom Taylor spoked with sources close to Oleynik, confirming that the Russian will indeed be fighting on the UFC Moscow card, and that his opponent should be made official by the UFC in “1-3 days.”
I've been told we can expect news about Alexey's Oleynik's #UFCMoscow opponent in "1-3 days." Let the rampant speculation begin! Who do you think it will be?
— Tom Taylor (@TomTayMMA) May 21, 2018
“I’ve been told we can expect news about Alexey’s Oleynik’s [UFC Moscow] opponent in ‘1-3 days,'” Taylor said in a Tweet.
Interestingly, Werdum is an opponent that Oleynik asked for after his last fight, a first-round submission win over Junior Albini.
“People call [Werdum] the best grappler in the heavyweight division,” Oleynik told reporters after his win, which went down at UFC 224 Rio de Janeiro (via MMAjunkie). “It’s very interesting for me to try my grappling with him.”
Oleynik, of course, has become renowned for his incredible grappling skill — particularly his Ezekiel choke, which he has used to finish a remarkable 12 of his opponents, including Albini.
With his victory over Albini, Oleynik rebounded from a TKO loss to Curtis Blaydes, which was preceded by a rear-naked choke defeat of Travis Browne, and yet another Ezekiel choke win over Viktor Pesta. The Russian grappler is 56-11-1 overall and 5-2 in the Octagon.
Werdum, meanwhile, last fought in March, when he surrendered an early lead to succumb to punches from Russian contender Alexander Volkov. For Werdum, this loss marked the end of a two-fight win-streak, composed of defeats of Walt Harris and Marcin Tybura. He’s 23-8-1 overall.
At present, no other bouts have been announced for the UFC’s September debut in Moscow.
Who do you think wins a potential heavyweight showdown between Alexey Oleynik and Fabricio Werdum?
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 5/21/2018.