The UFC will return to Russia on April 20 for UFC Fight Night 149.
A heavyweight clash between Sergey Pavlovich and Marcelo Golm is one of the few confirmed fights for the card. The event is set to take place in the Gazprom Arena in Saint Petersburg, a stadium capable of holding 80,000 people.
Pavlovich entered the UFC in 2018, after amassing an impressive 12-0 record that saw him become Fight Nights Global heavyweight champion and defeat the likes of Kirill “Baby Fedor” Sidelnikov and Alexei Kudin. Pavlovich was thrown straight into the deep end when he arrived in the UFC.
At UFC Fight Night 141, the Russian faced former Strikeforce and K-1 champion Alastair Overeem. Overeem entered on a two-fight losing streak after he was defeated by rising stars Francis Ngannou and Curtis Blaydes. With just under two minutes remaining in the first round, Overeem tripped Pavlovich to the mat and finished the fight with ground and pound.
In April, Pavlovich will face Marcelo Golm, who will be making his fourth UFC appearance. Golm last stepped into the UFC octagon in October at UFC Fight Night 138, losing to Arjan Singh Bhullar. Despite the loss, Golm showcased a broad range of striking weapons, from flying knees to powerful leg kicks. However, there appeared to be major holes in his grappling game and this an area that Pavlovich, who trains with Eagles MMA, will certainly look to exploit.
Prior to his debut, Pavlovich was considered one of the UFC’s top heavyweight prospects. After a difficult debut bout, he will be eager to return to winning ways, especially in front of a home crowd. Golm will enter this fight on a two-fight losing streak, both via decision, and another loss may put his place in the UFC under threat.
The UFC made its debut in Russia last year at UFC Fight Night 136, which saw submission specialist Alexey Oleinik defeat former K-1 champion and UFC veteran Mark Hunt. The card also featured the likes of Petr Yan, Nikita Krylov, and Andrei Arlovski.
Whilst no other fights have been announced for the Saint Petersburg card, it is expected that a heavyweight clash between Alexander Volkov and Alistair Overeem will serve as the main event. Volkov last appeared at UFC 229, where he was knocked out by Derrick Lewis in the final moments after dominating the majority of the fight. Lewis’ victory propelled him to a title shot against Daniel Cormier.
Russian mixed martial arts has grown significantly in the last few years and this Saint Petersburg card will surely showcase some of the best and brightest the country has to offer. The event is set to take place on the 20 April, close to a year after Khabib Nurmagomedov captured the UFC lightweight championship and became arguably Russia’s most prominent fighter.