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What really mattered at UFC on ESPN+ 7 in St. Petersburg on Saturday? Here’s a thing or five.
1. The big guy’s still got it – in brief bursts
The way Aleksei Oleinik talked before this fight, one got the sense that he had not gone ahead and planned himself a victory party. He came in as a late replacement and a roughly 2-1 underdog, and it’s surprising that the odds didn’t ratchet up further after his recollections of being unable to do anything at all to Alistair Overeem in the gym.
But in the fight itself, lo and behold, Oleinik had his moments. His overhand right stung Overeem on the feet, and if he hand’t been so concerned with getting a takedown he might have avoided sticking his face right in clinch knee range.
One thing Overeem has after all this time is patience and cage savvy. He knows how to roll with the ebbs and flows of a fight, and he still has enough power and technique to make opponents pay for their impatience. If you mess up against the guy, you’ll get hurt. So he’s still got that going for him. And who’s to say just how much he might make of it, if given the chance?
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