All hail Aleksei Oleinik, king of the Ezekiel choke
Aleksei Oleinik went and did it again.
The man who has somehow made the Ezekiel choke his thing just went and pulled off his second such finish in the UFC, and this time he did it from the bottom position in half-guard against Junior Albini at UFC 224.
In case it’s not impressive enough that Oleinik, at the tender age of 40, has now finished two of his last four fights with a choke that basically no one in modern MMA ever uses, consider the fact that here in Rio de Janeiro he had to do it with blood flowing out of both sides of his face.
Oleink (56-11-1 MMA, 5-2 UFC) made it all of about 30 seconds into this fight before he was cut and bleeding. A minute or so later, Albini (14-4 MMA, 1-2 UFC) opened him up again.
And so it was that with about 90 seconds gone in the fight he found himself going from the clinch to the bottom in half-guard, his face a mask of blood, while he clamped down on Albini’s neck with one arm and used the other to sneak his hand across Albini’s throat.
For those unaware, the Ezekiel is one of those chokes that was sort of accidentally invented in jiu-jitsu gyms, and by an outsider. It’s the kind of move you learn as a beginner on the mats but then basically never hit on anyone with any experience.
Not even in practice. Not even just screwing around. And definitely not when you don’t have the sleeves of the gi to grab onto for leverage.
That might explain why, prior to Oleinik’s entrance into the UFC, the promotion had never seen a fight finished via ezekiel choke. Now it’s had two in a little over a year, and both belong to Oleinik, who is credited with 11 total wins via Ezekiel choke in his 20-year career as an MMA fighter.
At this point, maybe we should consider adding his name to the move, similar to Ovince Saint Preux’s claim to a piece of the Von Flue choke. At the very least, opponents should probably start looking out for it.
You don’t want to be the 12th person to get caught in Olenik’s signature move. Not when everyone else in the building knows it’s coming.