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UFC Fight Night 136 took place in Moscow at the Olimpiyskiy Stadium. Heavyweight Aleksei Oleinik was able to stun former title contender Mark Hunt and finish with a signature submission on the ground.

Both men are north of 40 and on the backside of their careers, but both men were hoping to get a run toward the top. It proved to be Oleinik who can make that final ascent.

In the co-main event, Jan Blachowicz got a submission of his own when he made a returning Nikita Krylov tap out. The win was the fourth straight for Blachowicz.

It was a fight card that went through a slog, but the main card came through with meaningful action. But no matter how lackluster some of the early showings were, there were still those who got their hand raised and marched forward in their UFC careers.

But who were the real winners and losers? That is a question we will examine.

This is a look at the real winners and losers following the UFC’s trip to Moscow for UFC Fight Night 136.

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They got to avoid watching the dreadful Fight Pass preliminary card.

And maybe that is taking it too far. Perhaps the fights weren’t all that awful. But there were better things to be watching early on Saturday than the six-fight prelims.

The first bout was a 30-25 sweep for Merab Dvalishvili over Terrion Ware. It wasn’t competitive or overly exciting. And it continued on from there.

Remember Rustam Khabilov? He had a split decision against Kajan Johnson. That is how downtrodden this preliminary card was. Fans that woke up early to tune in were treated to some rough outings while college football fans got flip around and have fun.

They are the true winners.

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With CB Dollaway turtled up, conceding the fight, Herb Dean watched him take a beating without stopping the fight for several seconds.

Eventually, the contest was stopped, but way too late.

This isn’t the first time Dean has been late, but it is the most recent example of how poorly officiated MMA fights truly are even at the highest levels. Dean is supposedly one of the best referees in the sport. Can taht be the case when he can’t recognize a fighter not intelligently defending himself?

Truly terrible.

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He was a former title contender at 170-pounds, but the loss on Saturday put an end to any hopes Thiago Alves could return to former glory.

Alexey Kunchenko beat Alves on all three cards.

Alves wasn’t completely outclassed or beaten to a pulp, but he didn’t show anything to suggest he can still compete against the elite. The performance may make a good case study or film review to show fans just why Father Time is undefeated in the world of sports.

The American Top Team standout has been around a long time. Eventually, all the training and battles catch up to your body. It appears it has for Alves.

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As with much of the show itself, Shamil Abdurakhimov’s win over Andrei Arlovski wasn’t super exciting. but for Abdurakhimov, it was crucial.

Abdurakhimov was battling a former UFC champ with name value. And he won. That is big for his career.

An emphatic win would put Abdurakhimov into the thick of things at heavyweight, but the more muted victory may be more beneficial. The UFC can give him another fight before thrusting him into the upper echelon. Abdurakhimov will be able to avoid lofty expectations.

Heavyweight is a division that can swing wildly and quickly. Any victory is big, but adding a name to ones resume will help to bolster a claim for contendership.

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Jan Blachowicz entered the UFC with a fair amount of hype, but a 2-4 ruined the thought that he could be a factor in the light heavyweight division. Saturday’s win over Nikita Krylov put him on a four-fight win streak and a 6-4 overall UFC record.

He has turned into the fighter people expected.

This was supposed to be Krylov’s big moment. After leaving the UFC, he was set to return and show why he was a fan favorite by knocking off the much maligned Blachowicz. Instead, Blachowicz is forcing fans to take notice once again.

Blachowicz’s submission victory also was a showcase of his well-rounded skill set.

Is Blachowicz going to be a champion? That is still a tall task. But what Saturday’s performance did show is that he has been able to adjust and become a true contender. This is what the UFC thought they were getting in 2014.

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Within the first two minutes of the main event it appeared like an easy night for Mark Hunt.

Hunt landed violent low leg kicks to Aleksei Oleinik’s lead leg. The damage was evident and he was having a bit of trouble putting weight on it. It seemed like it was only a matter of time before Hunt found the KO blow.

Oleinik’s grit and determination would not allow that to be the case.

In fact, Oleinik landed a heavy shot of his own that wobbled Hunt. Shortly after, Oleinik was able to secure a takedown. Hunt tried to scurry away, but Oleinik stuck with him and secured the back. Hunt had one minute to survive until the end of the round, but Oleinik sunk in the rear-naked choke to force the tap.

It was a massive win for the unlikely contender, Oleinik.

It is a win that forces the UFC to take him seriously as a heavyweight threat, and should put him into a major marquee heavyweight tilt in his next fight. Oleinik is on the backside of his career, but that backside may include a shot at UFC gold.

The win gives him back-to-back victories inside the Octagon, but in a division that is shallow it is enough to grab attention. Oleinik still needs another big win or two before challenging for the title, but the win over Hunt puts him in a position to get a fight with another top contender.

Bleacher Report – Front Page

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