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Savitsky: Fighting Alexey Oleynik Is The Best Decision For Cain Velasquez

If Velasquez is looking for redemption, he needs to fight Oleynik, writes Oleg ‘Alec’ Savitsky

By Oleg ‘Alec’ Savitsky

In the recent ESPN analysis of Cain Velasquez’ loss to Francis Ngannou, while discussing what the future holds for the former champion once considered the best heavyweight ever, Brett Okamoto suggested Alexey Oleynik would be the best option. The truth is — this matchup is a necessary fight for everyone – the UFC, MMA fans, and Velasquez himself.

Okamoto suggested that Velasquez should fight Oleynik because he will be a “manageable” opponent. I hold the opinion that if Velasquez wants to redeem himself, he must fight Oleynik. But not because Oleynik is “manageable” or easier, but precisely because Oleynik is dangerous. Alexey is well-rounded and the most experienced in the division. It’s a live or die situation for Velasquez and the fight against Alexey will reveal to Velasquez and the MMA world if he still has the skills and determination to become the dominant heavyweight he once was.

Perhaps, Cain was out of competition for too long, and shouldn’t have taken the fight against Ngannou, the most dangerous striker in the division. Perhaps, it was a combination of nagging injuries, lost confidence, poor fight strategy or the famous “cage rust” caused by prolonged inactivity that caused Velasquez, once known for his heavy hands, superior wrestling, and conditioning, to lose the fight in under 30 seconds. But they are not the reasons why now Velasquez should “step back” and take a fight with someone like Alexey Oleynik.

Fighting anyone in the top 10 of the division is risky business. A fight against Oleynik is the fight Velasquez must have, but for totally different reasons.

Previously, Velasquez lost to Fabricio Werdum and showed his vulnerability in the grappling game. He needs a fight that will display to his fans the “old” dominant Velasquez who was able to dismantle any type of fighter. To do that, the UFC needs to provide him with a well-rounded and credible opponent. Since Werdum is suspended and a rematch is out of the question, it would be a great opportunity for the No. 7 ranked Velasquez to fight Oleynik, currently ranked No. 9, to prove his relevance and ability to compete against an exceptional grappler. It’s no secret that all top fighters in the heavyweight division are avoiding Oleynik and don’t want to risk their chart position by losing to the superior submission artist. Oleynik, next to Werdum, Frank Mir, and Antonio Nogueira, belongs to the grappling elite of MMA heavyweights.

Alexey has 69 professional fights, with a record of 57 wins, 11 losses, and one tie, and is 6-2-0 in the UFC. He has more wins than majority of fighters, including Velasquez (14-3-0), have fights in their entire MMA careers. Oleynik fought around the world for every top promotion and won against the most notable names in the business. Facing another heavy-handed striker like Velasquez will be nothing new for Oleynik. He fought and submitted some of the best and most feared strikers like Mirko Cro Cop and Mark Hunt. Alexey demonstrated his durability and multi-dimensional skills by out-striking former contender and heavy puncher Travis Browne and by knocking out the brawler Jared Rosholt.

Both Velasquez and Oleynik are well-rounded fighters and pinning them against each other would give MMA fans an exciting fight they deserve to see. It will also test Velasquez and reveal if he still has what it takes or if it’s time for him to stop fighting. For Oleynik, it’s either an opportunity to move closer to his long overdue title shot, continue to fight as a “gatekeeper” for younger talent, or perhaps contemplate a well-deserved retirement.

View the story on MMA Crossfire.

Alexey Oleynik Defeats Mark Hunt in UFC Russia Debut

Alexey Oleynik Taps Mark Hunt in First Round at UFC Fight Night 136

By Mike Sloan

Russian submission savant Alexey Oleynik survived several hairy moments early on but he was able to prevail in front of nearly 20,000 fans in Moscow at UFC Fight Night 136.

Oleynik absorbed several nasty leg kicks from former K-1 Grand Prix world champion Mark Hunt (13-13-1) and was badly wobbled by a laser-like right hand to the head. But “The Boa Constrictor” hung tough and lived up to his nickname by choking out Hunt a few minutes later.

Oleynik (57-11-1) eventually took “The Super Samoan” down, seized his back and locked in the rear-naked choke, forcing Hunt to tap out. The New Zealand native bowed out 4:26 of the first, capping off the card Saturday inside Olimpiysky Arena.

Read the story on Sherdog.

 

Sherdog: 5 Questions for Alexey Oleynik

Roughly a month remains before the Ultimate Fighting Championship touches down in Russia for UFC Fight Night 136. A heavyweight battle between 2001 K-1 World Grand Prix winner Mark Hunt and 41-year-old submission savant Alexey Oleynik will headline the historic event in Moscow.

Oleynik has rattled off 14 wins across his past 16 appearances. He last fought at UFC 224 in May, when he submitted Junior Albini with his patented Ezekiel choke in Rio de Janeiro and improved his record inside the Octagon to 5-2.

In this exclusive interview with Sherdog.com, Oleynik shares his emotions ahead of his next assignment, his thoughts on Hunt and his opinion on hyping fights.

Sherdog: What has the process been like leading up to this event?

Oleynik: I didn’t wait long for an answer about my fight and opponent. After my victory in Brazil, I was asked who I wanted to fight. I said I wanted to fight Fabricio Werdum. He’s the most famous grappler in the world and one of the best. It would have been a tough fight, and I think many fans were looking forward to it. We signed to fight Werdum in Moscow, but the bout was canceled because of his anti-doping violation. Hunt was the only other option with a legendary name, and I agreed to the fight immediately.

Sherdog: What does it mean to you to headline this historic show?

Oleynik: I’m very excited to be in the main event. This is MMA history — it’s the first UFC event in Russia — and I’ll do my best to win. Of course, it means a lot to me but my focus is on the fight so I can perform as well as possible. My wings are no longer growing as strong in my 40s, and this fight is not the first, fifth or 40th of my career (laughs). I’m quite experienced, and I know what to do. You just don’t push past your limits.

Sherdog: Do you think they can fill the card with big names?

Oleynik: I believe Andrei Arlovski is a pretty big name as a three-time UFC champion; he’s on the card. There’s also [Adam] Yandiev. He may not be widely known abroad, but in the (Commonwealth of Independent States), he’s a very popular guy.

Sherdog: Do you think the UFC’s presence will eclipse Russian promotions or increase attention in their favor?

Oleynik: I don’t think the UFC will overshadow all the Russian promotions. You never know how an event will go or how the fighters will perform. Sometimes average promotions may have entertaining fights; they can use those fights for highlights and broadcast them on the Internet and TV. Plus, there are dozens of different organizations, really competitive MMA companies with high-level fighters and fights that serve as steppingstones for younger fighters.

Sherdog: Khabib NurmagomedovConor McGregor is always hot news. McGregor came to the FIFA World Cup final and met with Russian President Vladimir Putin. How do you feel about the hype?

Oleynik: Hype is the correct word, but on the other hand, it’s part of martial arts and any other sport for that matter. You need those types of things to evaluate public interest in a particular event. They try to figure out whether or not they need to give it a go. They make fame and fortune out of it. For example, Conor and [Floyd] Mayweather made a lot of money, so other fighters want to get as close as they can to Conor in order to make a lot of money. [Nate] Diaz fought dozens of times in the UFC, and his purses never exceeded $40,000 to $50,000. After two fights with Conor, he asked for six figures. You can have 20 fights in the UFC and earn $500,000 or you can get a million for just one fight. Of course, that’s what everyone wants, so they try to make money with hype and trash talk. You can name people who are successful at that and those who aren’t successful at it. Let’s see what happens next.

Read story on Sherdog.com.

Alexey Oleynik talks wanting to fight Fabricio Werdum, Mark Hunt, and UFC first visit to Russia

The only man to win by Ezekiel choke—twice–in the UFC, Alexey Oleynik (56-11) is honored to fight a mixed marital arts legend Mark Hunt, but he was looking forward to duke it out with a jiu jitsu extraordinaire Fabricio Werdum.

Oleynik has been unofficially announced to take on Mark Hunt (13-12) in the UFC’s first visit to Moscow, Russia in September 2018. His last fight was against Junior Albini where he defeated his foe by Ezekiel choke in May.

Originally, Oleynik was scheduled to fight former heavyweight champion Werdum, but he was pulled from the fight after he was busted for using illegal substances.

Oleynik last fought in Russia back in 2013, so it is like a homecoming for him.

He said he is looking forward to a fight with the New Zealand brawler.

“I am really happy to take this fight,” he said. “I am happy. It is an honor for me. This is a hard fight. This must be a hard fight. Mark Hunt is a MMA legend, in K-1. But I am not young too. I have very many fights too. I am happy to be on the main card and the main fight and first time the UFC is in Russia.”

He added that Hunt has competed against top caliber fighters and has much respect for him, but he was looking forward to fight Werdum to match skills.

“Mark Hunt is very famous. He is a legend in MMA, but he is a legend punching.,” he said. “Werdum is a wrestler and grappler all time best jiu jitsu, all time in the heavyweights. Werdum is a very famous grappler. I think I am good grappler and it would have been an interesting fight with two grapplers. Werdum is good on the punching too, when he fought Alistair both times he fought with him punching and he was good. Overeem doesn’t like grappling.”

View the story on RodolfoRoman.com.

Alexey Oleynik Talks to Fightful About UFC 224

By James Lynch

Alexey Oleynik is stepping foot in the Octagon again at UFC 224, facing Junior Albini in a heavyweight division affair.

The heavyweight is coming off of a controversial fight against Curtis Blaydes at UFC 217, but Oleynik believes he needs to win a few fights to get a rematch.

“I’m actually not seeing this (fight happening again) so soon…so fast, if I beat one or two fighters, then maybe this is worth mention. Not now, maybe one or two fights and I win these fights,” says Oleynik in an exclusive interview with Fightful’s James Lynch.

Blaydes became only the second fighter to defeat Oleynik in his UFC run, with that other competitor being Daniel Omielnanczuk.

Oleynik plans on getting back on track at UFC 224 and the fighter wants to do that by choking out Junior Albini in his native Brazil.

“Either Oleynik doing the choke or Albini doing the knockout, I think there are only two variants (for how the fight will end),” says Oleynik.

UFC 224 takes place on Saturday, May 12 from the Jeunesse Arena in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil with Amanda Nunes and Raquel Pennington headlining. Fightful is providing live coverage of the event, with a post-show podcast to follow.

View story on Fightful.

FOX Sits Down with Oleg Prudius

Former WWE Superstar Oleg Prudius (aka Vladimir Kozlov) talks to FOX5NY about who would make him come out of fighting retirement.

Oleg Prudius Challenges Brock Lesnar to MMA Fight

Former WWE Tag Team Champion “The Moscow Mauler” Vladimir Kozlov was recently a guest on The Roman Show. Kozlov said that he would like to challenge current WWE Universal Champion and former UFC Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar to a mixed martial arts fight.

Before signing with WWE back in 2006, Kozlov did have a fairly extensive background in various different forms of Martial Arts, including kickboxing, Russian Sambo, Judo, amateur wrestling, and Jiu-Jitsu.

Kozlov said the following on The Roman Show:

Wanting to face Brock Lesnar in an MMA fight:

“When I got signed with the WWE and when I was undefeated for a couple of years, fans wanted to see if I could fight Brock Lesnar. But at the time, I couldn’t find him because he left the WWE and he went to the UFC,” he said. “Since I left the WWE, he got back to the WWE from the UFC, so we couldn’t face each other. Right now everyone is asking me if I would challenge Brock Lesnar in an MMA fight. I am telling you if were to get this opportunity, I would like to face this animal. I would put in all my hard work. I will give up my productions. I’ll give up my movies, everything, to compete with the best athlete in the world, Brock Lesnar. He is strong, professional. I think the person who fights him deserves it because he is a legend. If I get this opportunity, I will train hard and face this animal. I spoke to Scott Coker of Bellator. At the time I was busy with productions,” he said. “I was in many projects because of traveling, but for a big fight like that, I will train and put everything on the table.”

Possibly returning to WWE in the future:

“WWE stays in my heart,” he said. “I am popular because of the WWE. When I used to wrestle, I created a fan base. Even in China, they know me because of WWE. The WWE is one of the biggest entertainment companies in the world. I didn’t think of joining the WWE because I was busy, but if the opportunity will come then we can figure it out. I have a management group who decides what we are supposed to do. Let’s see what happens.”

C.M. Punk’s MMA career:

“He is a great guy. He is a hard worker. This guy can sacrifice himself to follow his dream,” he said. “Since he left the WWE, his dream was to fight in the UFC. I think he can put on a very nice fight. I like C.M. Punk. He is a nice guy.”

View the story at Wrestling News Source.

Alexey Oleynik in Men’s Health

The UFC’s Alexey Oleynik – How the 40-Year-Old ‘Boa Constrictor’ Stays in Elite Shape

By Vinnie Mancuso

At 40, Alexey Oleynik is one of the oldest fighters competing in the UFC. But it’s a different, far more impressive number that earned Oleynik his “Boa Constrictor” nickname: 45, the record-breaking tally of submission victories the Ukrainian grappler has collected over his 20-year MMA career.

The heavyweight — who holds an overall MMA record of 55-11-2, 4-2 in the UFC — took a moment away from training for his May 12 bout against Junior Albini at UFC 224 to chat with MensHealth.com.

SO HOW EXACTLY DOES THE 4O-YEAR GET INTO FIGHTING SHAPE?

“In reality, I’m already in top shape year-round,” Oleynik said through a translator. According to the fighter, the months before entering the octagon is more of a fine tune-up than anything. “It’s like a train. It’s already moving, you just want to get on the right rail and move in the right direction.”

That direction doesn’t involve as much maxing out as you’d expect from UFC’s heaviest weight class. “It’s concentrating more on endurance of the muscle than the size of the muscle,” Oleynik said.

He added that because he’s a “submission artist,” he doesn’t want to “put on big muscles, to look like an Adonis. If I develop a very big chest and look like a bodybuilder, it would be hard for me to choke somebody out.”

The Workout

Oleynik’s training camp consists of 14 to 16 sessions a week, broken down into hour-and-twenty-minute periods. The first 30 minutes is always dedicated to cardio, with a focus on keeping up explosiveness over a long period of time.

CARDIO (30 MINUTES)

For strength training, Oleynik focuses especially on repetition over weight. “If I’m doing 6 to 8 reps with the heavy weight, I develop more size. I don’t need that,” he said. “My coaches know I need lighter weight, 15 to 20 reps.”

STRENGTH TRAINING (50 MINUTES)

The most important exercise of the day, Oleynik said, is a classic combination of both cardio and strength training: the sit-up.

“When you’re doing sit-ups your diaphragm constantly gets compressed, so it throws you off in terms of breathing,” he said. “This is what happens in a fight. So every time my training is over, I go down and have to finish at least 100 sit-ups with a twist.”

Recovery

Oleynik broke down some of the recovery routines that have kept him mostly injury-free over a decades-long career.

NUTRITION

“The most important thing when it comes to recovery, and actually the entire process of training, is nutrition,” Oleynik said. As a heavyweight, the fighter is in the unique position of technically being able to gain as much weight as he wants. But the 40-year-old has been able to compete at a high level for so long because his diet still consists mostly of lean meat, vegetables, and natural fats. “I coach my body as a working machine. Whatever you put in your body, that’s the outcome you’re going to have. Whatever gas you put in a car, that’s how fast it’s going to go.”

SLEEP

“You must, must sleep during training,” Oleynik told us, a feat easier said than done for the father of five. “That’s the tricky part. Some of my kids are young, they wake up in the night, they have to pee, or they want to eat.”

On average, he says, Oleynik sleeps 6 hours a night, but makes sure to sneak in an extra hour or two throughout the day.

RELAXATION

For Oleynik, the recovery process is as mental as it is physical, training your mind to switch gears when you leave the gym. Usually this starts with either an ice bath or quick stay in the sauna, but then it’s putting the fight out of mind until the next session.

“What I’m trying to do is, I’m trying to switch my mindset,” Oleynik told us. “I’m going with my kids to the zoo, to the movies, doing family things. You have to switch your mind from all the hard work and totally relax. Totally zoom out and concentrate on something, anything else.”

View the story on MensHealth.com.

MMA Crossfire Interviews IPZ Director of Combat Sports Alec Savitsky

Now that we have Conor McGregor, it’s easy to forget how reluctant many fighters were  – and still are – to embrace the importance of branding.

Conor’s fearless combination of Irish steak and sizzle skyrocketed him not only to the top of the UFC, he quickly transcended combat sports with his formidable skills, charismatic personality, and business smarts.

It’s something that former USA National Combat Sambo coach Oleg “Alec” Savitsky appreciates.

Born in the Republic of Georgia, Savtisky will be 46 years old in 2018. He became a U.S. citizen in 1997 and is a three-time world championship medal winner, with a nine-year career in Combat Sambo and MMA (2000-2009). Known to friends as “Alec,” Savitsky successfully made the transition to the business side in various roles including a TV commentator, talent scout, and promoter for M-1 Global in the USA.

Savitsky was recently named Director of Combat Sports at management consulting firm International Players + Zito Partners (IPZ). He spoke to The Crossfire’s Kenai Andrews about his career and his new position.

View the Q&A here: https://www.mmacrossfire.com/2018/02/05/ipz-director-combat-sports-oleg-savitsky-opens-importance-branding/

OLEG SAVITSKY TO LEAD IPZ COMBAT SPORTS GROUP

Former USA National Team Coach Named Director of Combat Sports for Agency

WARREN, NJ, January 24 – Oleg “Alec” Savitsky, former USA National Combat Sambo Team coach, has joined IPZ as its director of combat sports, the company announced today.

“I’m extremely excited to join IPZ and lead its combat sports group,” said Savitsky. “I’ve spent my entire life and career within combat sports, and I see a tremendous opportunity for us to help these athletes reach their full potential on and off the combat stage. IPZ has laid the groundwork for its clients’ success, and together, I believe we will be able to provide the services that every combat athlete is looking for in representation.”

Savitsky enjoyed a successful career as a Combat Sambo competitor and MMA fighter. Known as one of the most accomplished American athletes within Combat Sambo, Savitsky is a three-time World Championship medal winner. In 2008, Savitsky was selected to be a coach for the USA National Combat Sambo Team.

Following his career as a competitor, Savitsky continued to be involved in the world of combat sports as a promoter, TV commentator, and talent scout. Savitsky is a licensed promoter and was at the helm of organizing, promoting, and running M-1 Global shows throughout the U.S.

His experience as a fighter and mentor has allowed him to travel the world and develop strong relationships and contacts with the top current and former athletes, coaches, and promoters.

“Today is a very exciting day for IPZ,” said IPZ Managing Director Jeff Curtin. “Alec is a fantastic addition to the IPZ team. Alec’s experience, reputation, and global connections within the world of combat sports will allow us to immediately enter the market. From the first day Bob (Zito – managing partner of IPZ) and I met with Alec, it was evident that his character, values, and vision were in line with ours. We’re thrilled to have him officially join our team and we can’t wait to begin working together.”

About IPZ: IPZ represents clients in sports, media, and entertainment, providing management, contract negotiations, consulting, public relations and marketing communications support. The company, an alliance with Zito Partners, is built on the integrity of its professionals, maintains a family focus, and provides whole life solutions for its clients. For more information, visit www.ipzusa.com.

About Zito Partners: Zito Partners builds, energizes and defends brands. A boutique firm representing a select group of clients from a range of industries, Zito Partners believes in a “ready, aim, fire” approach – understand the client…develop the appropriate strategy against the key target constituencies…and execute against the plan. And through its strategic alliance with Ketchum, Ketchum Zito Financial, Zito Partners is assisting additional clients with their financial communications needs. For more information, visit www.zitopartners.com.