Mark Hunt will make his Octagon return this weekend when he battles Aleksei Oleinik at the UFC’s first ever Russian event. The card will take place at the Olympic Stadium in Moscow and the main card starts at 4 am (AEST) on Sunday the 16th of September. Both of these men currently sit in the top 10 of the heavyweight division with Hunt ranked number 6 and Oleinik currently sitting just below at number 10.
It will be Hunt’s (13-12-1-1NC) first appearance in the UFC since a disappointing loss to Curtis Blaydes at UFC 221 in Perth where he suffered a three-round unanimous decision loss. Aleksei Oleinik (56-11-1) last fought at UFC 224 in Brazil where he won a very impressive match up with Junior Albini after securing an Ezekiel choke in the first round.
Hunt only has a handful of fights left on his UFC contract and had vowed to not re-sign with the promotion.
“I am taking each fight as it comes and I would like to fight on the Adelaide card”, Hunt told Submission Radio.
In typical ‘Super Samoan’ fashion Hunt also said his game plan against Oleinik was ‘to knock his face off’.
The Sydney based heavyweight is prepared for the fight going to the ground but won’t fight fire with fire against a dangerous submission expert.
“I don’t know much about Aleksei, he is a nice guy… I look forward to the dance with Alexei,” Hunt said.
“I train for everything and prepare for the worst, he knows what I want to do”.
The now 44-year-old fighter is looking to finish his year off on the Adelaide show and retire from the UFC as his contract would expire.
“It would be my last fight with the UFC and to retire with Dan Kelly would be fun,” he continued.
Hunt has recently been training in Thailand for this fight alongside Tai Tuivasa and Tyson Pedro who will both be in his corner come fight night. The heavy hitter predicts he will knock Oleinik out and will be looking to keep the fight standing against Olenik who is a known ground specialist. His last knockout victory came against Derrick Lewis in Auckland last year in June.
Aleksei Oleinik boasts an incredible 40 plus wins by submission in his MMA career while Hunt has yet to win a professional fight by making his opponent tap out. While Oleinik also has home advantage, Hunt is never one to shy away from a challenge and famously stepped up to fight Brock Lesnar at UFC 200 in the WWE superstar’s first fight back after a 4-and-a-half-year absence.
The Russian fans are in for a treat as both men have over 100 professional fights between them and are not used to being in long drawn out fights. It will be interesting to see how Hunt responds to his loss to Blaydes while submission expert Oleinik has won 14 of his last 16 fights and looking to break into the top 5 with a victory here. In his MMA career, Oleinik has managed to win by Ezekiel choke a record 12 times and he has managed to pull it off twice inside the UFC octagon.