John Kavanagh’s reaction to extremely rare UFC finish really says it all
Oleksiy Oliynyk’s performance at UFC 224 caught the attention of John Kavanagh.
Ezekiel chokes are an incredibly rare method of victory in MMA… for everyone except Oleksiy Oliynyk. The Russian veteran has 12 of them on his record.
He secured lucky number 12 against Junior Albini on the UFC 224 preliminary card. After getting cut in the opening exchanges, Oliynyk had enough of fighting on the feet. He went back to his bread and butter. Oliynyk latched onto Albini’s neck, locked in an Ezekiel choke and fell backwards to the mat. He dragged Albini on top of him before applying the squeeze that forced to tap at the 1:45 mark of the first round.
That was the second Ezekiel choke in UFC history. As you’ve probably already guessed, Oliynyk also got the first. Viktor Pesta was on the receiving end of that one at UFC Phoenix in 2017.
The choke caught everyone who was watching off guard, including Daniel Cormier and Jon Anik who were on commentary duty that night. Cormier was actually praising Pesta for using punches to move into the mount position when the Czech Republic native tapped. Anik screamed in genuine surprise when the fight was over.
SBG head coach John Kavanagh was tuning in. Unsurprisingly, the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt was blown away by a move that is generally used with a Gi. It’s rare with a gi, rarer without a gi and in MMA, as we’ve said, it’s rare for anyone bar Oliynyk.