A battle of two excellent grapplers was fought primarily on the feet at UFC 249, with Aleksei Oleinik proving to be too much for Fabricio Werdum to handle.
A grappling fan’s dream was set to go down Saturday at UFC 249. Fabricio Werdum, former UFC heavyweight champion, was returning to the octagon, a USADA suspension served. Aleksei Oleinik, in recent years, had become known to UFC fans (following a lengthy career outside the promotion) as the king of the Ezekiel choke.
The two 42-year-olds met in the center of the cage and Oleinik went to an overhand right while Werdum tried to fire a front kick. From the first punch, Oleinik was on Werdum like glue. Hooks and uppercuts continued to connect for Oleinik and Werdum had no answer. Clinches slowed Oleinik down, but Werdum had little to offer Oleinik. The hooks landed consistently for submission specialist throughout the first five minutes. Werdum had a bit of a hole to climb out of.
After a kick from Werdum, Oleinik clinched up with the Brazilian, nearly finding himself in a choke. Oleinik broke free and the onslaught continued. Werdum succumbed to simply backing up against the cage and covering up. Werdum was able to get a takedown and take the back of Werdum, but Oleinik slid out and was able to land even more strikes before the round came to an end.
Oleinik continued pushing forward in the final round, showcasing more cardio than we are used to from the longtime veteran. After backing Werdum up with strikes, Oleinik notched a takedown. Werdum began working for a kimura, then cranked it free, rolling into top position. Somehow, Oleinik wriggled his arm loose then stood up. Another takedown was achieved by Werdum towards the end of the fight.
Aleksei Oleinik def. Fabricio Werdum by Split Decision (29-28 x2, 28-29)