Michal Oleksiejczuk managed to survive the typical relentless pace of a Khalil Rountree first round to win a unanimous decision at UFC 219.
Rountree, who was largely expected to finish the UFC newcomer within the first round, expended all of his energy in an attempt to stop Oleksiejczuk in the first few minutes. However, he was unable to connect with a finishing blow, which allowed Oleksiejczuk to take over the contest.
The first round began with Rountree landing some kicks to the body and tagging the chin of Oleksiejczuk, before advancing forward with aggression. After some early success, Rountree then launched a series of intense kicks and punches that depleted his gas tank quickly.
— UFC (@ufc) December 31, 2017
It wasn’t long before Rountree was taking deep breaths. Once his energy was depleted, Oleksiejczuk’s technical striking started to shine.
Through the three rounds, Oleksiejczuk consistently blocked Rountree’s wild punches with his forearms and hands before quickly scooting back out of range. On the mat, especially in the third round, Oleksiejczuk maintained heavy top pressure to keep Rountree pinned to the mat.
It was an impressive performance from Oleksiejczuk, who was called up for his UFC debut after Gokhan Saki was removed from his scheduled bout with Rountree. Going forward, Oleksiejczuk might prove a difficult test for many in the UFC, however, he does seem to be a little small for the light heavyweight division. With the potential to drop down to middleweight, Oleksiejczuk could be a welcomed addition to an already strong division in the UFC.
After the fight, Oleksiejczuk called out Gokhan Saki and said “I am young and I will be a champion. Next, I would like to fight Gokhan Saki since he was supposed to be in this fight.”
As for Rountree, we now must wonder what his ceiling truly is. After tearing through his last two opponents with ease, Rountree wasn’t able to get the job done tonight. The key to defeating Rountree is now obvious, survive the initial onslaught and take him into the deep waters; once there, Rountree’s cardio isn’t up to standard.
Jake Nichols is The Body Lock's Editor in Chief. Previously, he was the MMA Editor at RealSport.