UFC on ESPN+ 7 Preview

ufc-espn+7The UFC returns to Russia with a card highlighted by what is becoming a more familiar story in the heavyweight division.

The heavyweight division continues to be a division waiting for the next big young star to come through and make an impact.

Currently, the UFC is loaded with talent when it comes to the lighter weight classes with some very tough divisions.

There are divisions where just getting noticed among the talented fighters is hard enough let alone getting a title shot.

As the weight increases, the talent level begins to thin out and although the heavyweight division has great fighters there aren’t many of them.

Worse for the division is that there are still a number of older fighters who are doing enough to stick around.

Although these fighters are good they don’t necessarily bring the excitement because they are the same people fighting for years.

Even the title holder is now a fighter closer to retirement than a lengthy run at the top of the division.

The UFC has seen a surge of young fighters in the division looking to make an impression in the division but none have been able to do what they wanted.

Francis N’Gannou looked like the guy and although he is still an exciting fighter and has a lot of promise he was exposed in a big way when he took on Stipe Miocic.

Every other fighter that showed a lot of promise has fallen either against the champion or on their way to the champion.

It is the nature of the division as anything can happen when two big fighters go head to head with plenty of power between them.

Still, for the UFC, it is frustrating as the heavyweight division just seems to continue to get stuck in the past while the lighter weights continue to move forward.

With young stars like Israel Adesanya, Max Holloway and Tony Ferguson taking over in the lower weight classes the UFC wants to see the most exciting division do the same.

They continue to look to younger heavyweights to see who can actually make that impact that they are looking for in the division.

To do this they often take a promising younger fighter and put them against one of the old guard to prove that they can be the difference maker.mma-sidebar.fw

That is somewhat the case as the UFC heads to Russia where a not so young rising star takes on a living legend.

Although Alexey Oleinik is the older fighter in this matchup he is just beginning to make a name for himself in the UFC.

Oleinik only has eight fights in the UFC and two of those took place in 2014 but brings in a wealth of experience with 69 total professional fights.

He is only now starting to rise through the UFC rankings through as he started to add big names to the win column.

With wins over Mark Hunt and Travis Browne, he is beginning to look like a future contender in the division.

To prove that he will take on Alistair Overeem who continues to hang out around the top of the division.

Overeem has been in the UFC since 2011 but was a K-1 legend before he entered the UFC.

Through his years in the UFC, he has remained one of the top contenders but has yet to earn the title belt he has been working for.

Every time he gets close he seems to be stopped but there is no doubt that he is constantly dangerous.

He will look to be that gatekeeper at the top this time around with eyes on upsetting the home crowd.

If Oleinik can get the win in this fight he likely won’t get a title shot against Cormier, who is looking for big fights only, but he will put himself in line.

With Cormier planning to retire this year the race for many fighters like Overeem and Oleinik is to get to that top contender spot.

The fighters who can do that early in the year can find themselves fighting for a vacant belt before the end of 2019.

Both Overeem and Oleinik will need this win if they hope to do that as neither have a lot of years left in them but both have that end goal in mind.

ufc-espn+7

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