The main event of the UFC’s April 20 debut in St. Petersburg, Russia, has experienced a pretty significant change. The card was originally supposed to be headlined by a heavyweight showdown between former Strikeforce, Dream and K-1 heavyweight champ Alistair Overeem and former Bellator heavyweight champ Alexander Volkov. But now, Volkov has been forced off the card and replaced by Russian grappler Alexey Oleynik.
This news was first reported by Ariel Helwani of ESPN.
For Overeem, this represents a pretty significant change, as he’ll now have to prepare for a crafty grappling specialist instead of a rangy knockout artist.
Alistair Overeem last fought in November when he mauled the debuting Sergey Pavlovich to a first-round TKO win. This victory separated the decorated former champion from a pair of stoppage losses to Curtis Blades, who he now trains with, and Francis Ngannou. He’s currently 44-17 overall.
Alexey Oleynik, meanwhile, is 57-11 overall. He’s currently on a two-fight streak. In his last fight, he submitted Mark Hunt in the UFC’s first-ever show in Moscow. His next most recent win saw him lock up one of his patented Ezekiel chokes on Junior Albini. His last loss occurred in November of 2017 when he was defeated by Curtis Blaydes.
At this point, it is not known why Alexander Volkov has withdrawn from the card.
Who do you think will win the new UFC St. Petersburg main event between Alistair Overeem and Alexey Oleynik?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 4/2/2019.