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Aleksei Oleinik made the most of his return to home to Russia with an emphatic first round submission win over Mark Hunt in the main event of the first ever UFC event in Moscow.
With a raucous stadium filled with Russian fans, Oleinik put on quite a performance to rack up the biggest win of his UFC career while taking a step forward in the heavyweight rankings.
It was a true battle of striker against grappler early with Hunt doing everything to goad Oleinik into an exchange before unleashing several blistering leg kicks that definitely did some damage.
Hunt followed that with a monstrous right hand that has snuffed out many of his past opponents but Oleinik survived the shot and miraculously never even looked worse for wear.
In return, Oleinick ended up clipping Hunt with a quick punch of his own during another exchange that appeared to rattle the former K-1 kickboxer, putting him down on a knee for a brief moment.
Oleinik continued to press forward until he finally caught Hunt in a scramble, which allowed him to take the back and then drag the fight down into his world on the ground.
From there it was all Oleinik as he quickly transitioned to sink his hooks before slipping a forearm underneath Hunt's chin to lock up the rear naked choke. With nowhere to escape, Hunt had no choice but to tap out with the end of the fight coming at 4:26 into the opening round.
For Oleinik it was his second win in a row and fifth submission victory since joining the UFC roster back in 2014. Afterwards, Oleinik was more interested in soaking in the moment with the Russian fans but he hopes his next fight will come with an opportunity to climb further up the heavyweight ladder.
"It doesn't matter as long as he stands higher than me in the rankings," Oleinik said about his next opponent.
While the top contenders in the heavyweight division are already tied up, Oleinik definitely appears to be in an advantageous position for his next fight following his latest submission victory.
As for Hunt, he has now dropped back-to-back fights with a 1-3 record in his past four outings. Hunt has been rather vocal about fighting out his UFC contract due to his ongoing concerns about performance enhancing drug use in the sport — including a lawsuit he has filed against the promotion currently — and following this latest loss he has one bout left on his deal.
"I got caught," Hunt said about the submission. "Congratulations to Aleksei. That's just business, you win, you lose."