Kia ora and welcome to live coverage from Moscow as Mark Hunt takes on Aleksei Oleinik in the main event of UFC Fight Night 136.
It's the first time the promotion has ventured into Russian territory, and a partisan crowd will be hoping local Aleksei Oleinik can avoid the Kiwi's stand-up bombs and put his lethal ground game into effect in what should be an intriguing heavyweight encounter.
Fight-by-fight coverage will start from around 6:30am (NZ time) before we move into blow-by-blow commentary of the main event.
Mark Hunt vs Aleksei Oleinik - Oleinik wins via submission
8:02am - Hunt gives a big thanks to the Russian crowd and makes a hasty exit. Stay tuned for video highlights.
8am - That was Oleinik's 45th win by submission. Extraordinary. Plenty of respect paid to the Kiwi in his post-match celebration as the cheers rain down from the locals for their fighter.
Round one - Here we go! Nice low kick from Hunt to open proceedings. Oleinik flurries but cops another heavy leg kick from Hunt for his troubles. Big overhand right from Hunt, right to the temple. Another kick to the leg and Oleinik is clearly bruising up. Might be time to start checking those if you're Oleinik. And another one. Oleinik catches Hunt with a left now and that's buckled the Kiwi's legs. Oleinik scores the takedown and moves to the back, this is danger time for Hunt. In comes the rear-naked choke, Hunt desperately looking to turn but the Russian has it cinched, and there's the tap.
7:49am - Bizarre selection of generic smooth jazz for Hunt's entrance. Okay.
7:47am - And here comes the 44-year-old "Super Samoan", making that trademark casual stroll to The Octagon. Have we ever seen Mark Hunt flustered?
7:42am - Oleinik (surprisingly) makes the first walk to middle. He boasts a pro record of 56-11-1, jaw-dropping stuff.
7:36am - Four straight wins now for Blachowicz, and that one was dominant. Mark Hunt should be making his entrance momentarily.
Jan Blachowicz vs Nikita Krylov - Blachowicz wins via submission
Round two - Krylov rolls for an ankle lock just seconds into the round, Blachowicz sweeps again and moves right back into side control. Deja vu. Moves to the back now and he has the arm triangle sinking in, and there's the tap! Clinical stuff from the fourth-ranked fighter.
Round one - Krylov explodes for an early takedown. Blachowicz sweeps and moves to half-guard, then side control. Looks to be setting up a kimura. Landing elbows from the top as the Pole controls proceedings through to the end of the round. Comfortable one for Blachowicz.
7:22am - It's the first time back in The Octagon for Ukrainian Krylov for a number of years after he left to join a Russian promotions. A dynamic kicker with 21 first-round finishes from his 25 wins, this could be a quick one.
7:16am - Co-main event up next, a light heavyweight clash between Jan Blachowicz and Nikita Krylov. Then it's Hunt time.
7:15am - Well there you have it, Abdurakhimov claims victory. Some questionable juding right there, but however, we move on.
Shamil Abdurakhimov vs. Andrei Arlovski - Abdurakhimov wins via unanimous decision
Round one - Rough going here between the two veterans. Arlovski blitzes with a couple of flurries, nothing heavy lands but likely enough to win the round.
Round two - Arlovski taken down, always a surprising sight. But he responds with a couple of his own and ends the round on top. That should be two in the bank for Arlovski.
Round three - Both fighters starting to fade here. Arlovski takes a couple of low shots which stall proceedings. Scrappy conclusion, Abdurakhimov liekyl grabbed that round.
Head to head:
Mark Hunt - $1.65 Aleksei Oleinik - $2.15
Mark Hunt vs Aleksei Oleinik
Jan Blachowicz vs Nikita Krylov
Andrei Arlovski vs Shamil Abdurakhimov - Abdurakhimov wins via unanimous decision
Alexy Kunchenko vs Thiago Alves - Kunchenko wins via unanimous decision
Mark Hunt: From Russia…with no love
By Grant Chapman
On the eve of his return to the UFC stage in Russia, Kiwi fighting legend Mark Hunt has taken another jab at the sordid underbelly of his chosen sport.
Hunt, 44, takes on local favourite Alexei Oleinik in Moscow on Sunday morning (NZ time), headlining the nation;s first-ever UFC event.
Oleinik offers Hunt an evenly matched opponent that is similar in age and experience, and one even more important quality.
"He's a clean fighter, so it's great," Hunt told media.
The veteran heavyweight admits he may be nearing the end of his career, with two fights left on his UFC contract, but he's determined to leave his legacy on a code that has been blemished by drug scandals.
Hunt fell out with the promotion's management, after losing to Brock Lesnar, who was subsequently suspended for failing two drug tests.
The Kiwis expressed fears about the impact juiced-up opponents was having on his health and those comments echoed through the sport this week, when another former opponent - Brazilian Fabricio Werdum - received a two-year drug suspension this week.
"I'm glad that Fabricio Werdrum got caught, that little b****!" Hunt said. "Good job, go back to the favelas.
"He was supposed to be here, but that's what you get for being weak. That's what you get, Fabricio, for being a weak-minded person.
"See you later."
Werdrum was supposed to face Oleinik this weekend, but was pulled from the encounter in May, after the positive test.
"If I get known for my great fighting or if I get known for making things even, it doesn't matter to me," Hunt said, about his struggle against drug cheats.
"Actually, that's more important to me, to be honest. It's been a chain of them and it's not a good feeling."
Hunt hasn't ruled out extending his current contract, despite his pending legal action against the UFC, but admits his aging body is catching up with him.
"If the offer's good, I'm not stupid," he said. "I have to pay bills too.
"If the offer's good enough, I'll do it, but if not, I'll do it on my own terms."
Hunt is predicting a knockout over Oleinik, known for his Ezekiel choke move, in the first two rounds, but says he is prepared to go the five-round distance.
"Strangulation to the death, whatever," he said. "I'm ready for it."