Open Fighting Championship out of Russia was first introduced last December. The first two cards had names like Vladimir Seliverstov, Aleksandr Maslov, Elismar Lima, Viktor Kolesnik, Sharaf Davlatmurodov, and more. A handful of events later, and Open Fighting Championship 3 will be going down this Saturday in St. Petersburg, Russia. Headlining the card is former UFC fighter Luis Henrique, squaring off with prospect Aleksandr Maslov. The fight that really catches the eye, however, is another pair of heavyweights in Oleg Popov and Hugo Cunha.
Tale of the Tape
Oleg Popov (10-1)
Age: 29 years old
Fighting out of: Kalmykia, Russia
Gym: BARS Of The Northern Fleet
Karate World Champion/National and South American Champion
Combined Record of Opposition: 96-52-2
Hugo Cunha (5-0)
Age: 28 years old
Fighting out of: Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Gym: Tata Fight Team
Former Brazilian National Wrestling Team/BJJ Black Belt
Combined Record of Opposition: 9-2
Pros and Cons
- Good/Relentless wrestling
- Good top control
- Decent ground and pound
- Good cardio
- Scrambles well
- No setups
- Throws in singles
- Low volume
- Will telegraph his takedowns at times
- Good Jab
- Excellent wrestling
- Good top position
- Excellent jiu-Jitsu
- Good step-in knee
- Questionable striking defense
- Backs up too much
Who has the advantage?
Neither men make their bread and butter striking, and realistically they aren’t even secondary strikers. I do think it’s clear, however, that Cunha is the better striker. Popov may have a little more power but he has little to zero volume as he just spams overhands. Cunha at least throws a nice jab and throws in combinations. He isn’t the most refined striker but has a good volume edge.
Knockout power: Popov
Popov has a slight edge in power but it’s not even a clear cut at all. Popov has had more fights to show off his power, so Cunha may actually have the edge here.
Popov does a lot of in and out movement to land a strike and get right back out of the way. Cunha doesn’t have bad movement but at times is flat-footed whereas Popov is always on his toes.
Both men are good wrestlers. Popov is a better chain wrestler but Cunha always gets the takedown on the first attempt. Popov has to work hard to get the fight to the mat and his relentless attack is what makes him succeed at getting the fight down. Cunha will just throw guys around and has a good single leg he’s used many times. While both are good wrestlers I think Cunha is the more physical guy.
Grappling/Ground game: Cunha
Popov has decent ground and pound and good top position but Cunha is levels above on the mat. Cunha is a BJJ black belt and watching him fight it shows. Popov a lot of times relies on top position and staying busy enough to avoid getting the fight stood up. Cunha is always bettering his position and from anywhere he’s always attacking. Cunha is a big dude too so his top position is good.
Cunha is a finisher not ever going the distance, not even once. Popov has gone the distance four times. Due to his low output, Popov has been able to conserve his energy very well.
The biggest factor coming into this fight is the size. Popov should be fighting at light heavyweight. Popov usually weighs in at 245lbs where Cunha weighs in at the limit of 265lbs. Cunha is also three inches taller.
When you’re factoring in size and weight between two guys at heavyweight that really matters.
Skill for skill alone Cunha is a much better wrestler despite the size advantage.
It could be close on the feet between two heavyweights that hit hard and don’t have the best striking defense. Neither has been knocked out so going off the technical ability and volume Cunha has looked much better.
It will be interesting to see how Cunha will do if he can’t put away Popov. Even when the fight is slowed the size of Cunha is gonna be the key to victory. The pick is Cunha.