“Don’t Sleep On This” is a new segment, produced in the lead up to every UFC card focussing on a fighter and/or matchup that should not be missed (aka slept on). This week we’re talking about and previewing an entire card. The UFC visits Russia for the first time in the organization’s history and if you don’t already have UFC Fight Pass, now is the time to subscribe.
One of the first interesting fights comes in the middleweight division, featuring two undefeated fighters. Jordan Johnson (9-0) faces promotional newcomer Adam ‘Beard’ Yandiev (9-0). A former light heavyweight champion with RFA, Johnson is coming off three division wins with the organization and will now be moving down a weight class. Yandiev hasn’t fought since 2015 but has a finish in the first round in each of his fights. We’ll see if the wrestler Johnson can stop that trend. My pick: Johnson
One of the most explosive fighters in the lightweight division and competing in front of his home country, Mairbek Taisumov will take on Desmond Green. Taisumov is 6-1 in the UFC and on a 5-fight win streak, with all five of those fights ending with a knockout before the second round has ended. Desmond Green is coming off a decision win against Gleison Tibau after losing two straight. The former Titan FC featherweight champion is looking to put together another win streak of his own, but he will have to stop the Russian on his home turf first. My pick: Taisumov
Another fighter who has been excelling in the lightweight division is fellow Russian Rustam Khabilov. Khabilov is 8-2 in the UFC and on a 5-fight win streak as well; all of those being decision wins, Khabilov hasn’t had a finish since his UFC debut in 2012. Kajan Johnson, who suffered his first loss in July after a 4-fight win streak of his own, will be looking to bounce back to the win column against Khabilov. My pick: Khabilov
Bantamweight Petr Yan, who impressed at UFC Fight Night 132 in June, is back in action this weekend against promotional newcomer Jin Soo Son. The former ACB bantamweight champion is coming off a crushing 1st-round knockout of Teruto Ishihara and looks to keep the hype train going against Son. My pick: Yan
One of the most anticipated debuts on the card, current M-1 welterweight champion and undefeated at 18-0, Alexey Kunchenko will take on veteran Thiago Alves. There has been a lot of excitement around Kunchenko after it was announced he was picked up by the UFC. Thiago Alves is coming off a knockout loss to Curtis Millender at UFC Fight Night 126 back in February. My pick: Kunchenko
Nikita Krylov will make his UFC return against light heavyweight contender Jan Blachowicz. Krylov chose not to resign after his contract ran out in 2016, instead, he went to Fight Nights Global and racked up four straight wins and a light heavyweight title. Krylov will look to stop the 3-fight winning streak of Jan Blachowicz, who recently avenged his 2015 loss to fellow contender Jimi Manuwa. My pick: Krylov
In the main event, heavyweight’s Mark Hunt and Aleksei Oleinik square off. Hunt is coming off a decision loss to Curtis Blaydes at UFC 221. Aleksei Oleinik, with a whopping 68 pro fights to his name, is looking for his 12th Ezekiel choke. Oleinik stopped Junior Albini with an Ezekiel choke from the bottom in his last fight at UFC 224. Will Hunt be able to land the walk-off or will Oleinik collect another submission? My pick: Hunt
UFC Fight Night 136: Hunt Vs. Oleinik airs on UFC Fight Pass starting @ 10:30AM ET/7:30PM PT.