BJPENN: Alexey’s Next Opponent?

Ezekiel choke specialist Alexey Oleynik eyes showdown with Fabricio Werdum

By Tom Taylor

On Saturday night, on the undercard of UFC 224, 40-year-old Ukrainian-Russian submission specialist Alexey Oleynik did it again — he pulled off a win with an Ezekiel choke.

Remarkably, this Ezekiel choke victory, which came at the expense of Brazil’s Junior Albini, was the 12th on Oleynik’s record. Given this absurd statistic, it should come as no surprise that the extremely experienced veteran is quickly developing a reputation as one of the heavyweight division’s best grapplers.

As his reputation for grappling grows, the Ezekiel choke specialist Oleynik is now hoping to test himself against perhaps the best grappler in the history of the heavyweight division: former UFC heavyweight champion Fabricio Werdum.

Oleynik expressed interest in a fight with Werdum, who recently lost to Alexander Volkov, shortly after his victory over Albini.

“People call him the best grappler in the heavyweight division,” Oleynik told the reporters on-scene at UFC 224, which went down in Rio de Janeiro (via MMAjunkie). “It’s very interesting for me to try my grappling with him.”

While Oleynik is interested in a fight with Werdum, he’d also accept a fight with a legend of a similar vintage: heavyweight knockout artist Mark Hunt.

“He says he is old – I’m not very young, too,” Oleynik said of Hunt. “Not young, not fast, but I have something to win.”

That being said, the priority for Oleynik is simply another top-flight foe. He doesn’t really care who he fights, because every member of the UFC heavyweight top-15 is dangerous.

“I’m ready for any opponent,” he said. “I want to fight the strongest fighters in the world. I’m top-10 or top-15, so I can’t say, ‘This guy is too strong for me.’ Anybody who the UFC gives me, no problem. Wrestler or puncher.”

Would you be interested in seeing Alexey Oleynik fight Fabricio Werdum in the future? Which grappling ace do you think would come out on top?