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UFC Moscow: Aleksei Oleinik submits Mark Hunt in Round 1

Russian grappling ace rocks, then submits, Kiwi MMA legend in the first round at UFC Moscow

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Russian heavyweight submission machine Aleksei Oleinik claimed the 57th win – and the 47th submission victory – of his seasoned MMA career with a clinical first-round finish of Kiwi MMA legend Mark Hunt at UFC Fight Night in Moscow, Russia.

Oleinik played cat-and-mouse with legendary knockout artist Hunt in the early part of the opening round as he made a concerted effort to stay clear of the former kickboxer and PRIDE legend’s famed punches while looking for openings to shoot in for takedowns.

But the Ukrainian-born heavyweight couldn’t avoid Hunt’s thumping leg kicks, which started to take their toll after only a couple of efforts found their mark. With Oleinik’s mobility clearly affected Hunt moved in, looking for the knockout. But even a solid right hand from ‘The Super Samoan’ wasn’t enough to drop ‘The Boa Constrictor’ who went on to show the world just why his fighting moniker is well earned.

First, a big punch stunned Hunt, who was sent onto the back foot for the first time in the contest. Then, after another solid shot, Oleinik went for a takedown and hit the jackpot, dragging the big Kiwi to the mat.

Once there, it was almost academic.

Oleinik effortlessly took Hunt’s back and worked for a rear-naked choke. Even though the hold appeared to be hooked up from a slightly offset angle, the squeeze imparted by Oleinik left Hunt with no option but to tap out at the 4:29 mark in the opening round.

The submission win was Oleinik’s second straight first-round submission victory, the fifth submission win from eight UFC appearances and, remarkably, the 47th submission win of his 22-year, 69-fight mixed martial arts career.

And it will almost certainly propel him into the pack of contenders jostling for position at the sharp end of the UFC’s heavyweight division.

A successful first visit

The event was the UFC’s first foray into Russia and, after spending years laying the groundwork for their debut event, the post-fight numbers reflected a job well done.

The official attendance of 22,603 represented, based on previously-reported attendances, the sixth-largest crowd in UFC history.

  1. 56,214 – UFC 193: Rousey vs Holm – Melbourne, Australia
  2. 55,724 – UFC 129: St-Pierre vs Shields – Toronto, Canada
  3. 45,207 – UFC 198: Werdum vs Miocic – Curitiba, Brazil
  4. 30,000 – UFC on FOX 14: Gustafsson vs Johnson – Stockholm, Sweden
  5. 23,152 – UFC 124: St-Pierre vs Koscheck 2 – Montreal, Canada
  6. 22,603 – UFC Fight Night: Hunt vs Oleinik – Moscow, Russia

The event also saw notable Russian stars pick up key victories. As well as Oleinik’s victory in the main event, bantamweight star Petr Yan claimed Fight of the Night honours for his decision victory over Jin Soo Son, while undefeated welterweight Alexey Kunchenko extended his perfect professional record to 19-0 with a unanimous decision win over former title challenger Thiago “Pitbull” Alves.

Freelance sports writer and MMA reporter with 19 years’ experience in the UK's national media covering major sporting events including the FIFA World Cup, UEFA European Championships, Olympic Games, UFC world title fights, The Grand National and The FA Cup Final.

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