Aleksei Oleinik’s status as the oldest fighter on the UFC roster isn’t, of itself, all that significant. Heavyweights, after all, often compete into their 40s; Cheick Kongo is about to receive a title shot in Bellator just over a week out from turning 47.
But with Oleinik’s 44 years comes a wealth of experience unrivaled in the major promotions. 76 fights, with 14 wins by the rarely seen Ezekiel choke (two of those have come inside the UFC octagon). At UFC 273, opponent Jared Vanderaa’s 12-7 record was dwarfed by Oleinik. He was also stepping in on short notice in a heavyweight scrap that had both men badly in need of a win.
Oleinik was once again hunting win number sixty. Once the fight went to the ground Saturday night, he locked it up.
Both fighters took the center of the octagon after a touch of gloves. A low kick from Oleinik followed by two looping hooks started the fight. Oleinik landed another jab and hook. Front kick from Oleinik, and he ate a stiff right hand. Oleinik pulled guard but Vanderaa defended. Vanderaa decided to go to follow Oleinik to the ground. Vanderaa caught Oleinik in a triangle and started landing punches. Oleinik survived and transitioned to Vanderaa’s back in a flash. Vanderaa survived Oleinik’s rear-naked choke but then got caught in a scarf hold. Vanderaa tried to pop his head out, but it was too late, and he was forced to trap.
Win # 6️⃣0️⃣ @OleynikUFC JUST DID THAT!
— UFC (@ufc) April 9, 2022
Oleinik snapped his three-fight losing streak, and obtained pro win #60, while handing Vandreaa his third straight loss. Vanderaa might be headed back to the regional scene in his next fight, though taking this match-up on short notice may just keep him on the roster for another go.
Official Result: Aleksei Oleinik def. Jared Vanderaa via submission (scarf-hold) Round 1, 3:39