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Sean Shelby's Shoes: What's next for Aleksei Oleinik and UFC Fight Night 136's other winning fighters?

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Aleksei Oleinik may be 41, but he continued his rise up the heavyweight rankings on Saturday when he defeated Mark Hunt in the UFC Fight Night 136 main event.

Oleinik (57-11-1 MMA, 6-2 UFC) capped off the UFC’s debut in Russia when he submitted Hunt (13-13-1 MMA, 8-7-1 UFC) in the opening round of the headlining bout, which took place at Olympic Stadium in Moscow and streamed on UFC Fight Pass.

Prior to Hunt’s win, Jan Blachowicz (23-7 MMA, 6-4 UFC), Shamil Abdurakhimov (19-4 MMA, 4-2 UFC) and Alexey Kunchenko (19-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) earned victories on the main card.

After every event, fans wonder whom the winners will be matched up with next. And with another night of UFC action in the rearview mirror, it’s time to look forward, put on a pair of Sean Shelby and Mick Maynard’s shoes, and play UFC matchmaker for UFC Fight Night 136’s winning fighters.

* * * *

Alexey Kunchenko

curtis-millender-ufc-226-1.jpg?w=300&h=2

Curtis Millender

Should fight: Curtis Millender
Why they should fight: The remarkable winning streak of Kunchenko was extended through his UFC debut when he beat former welterweight title challenger Thiago Alves on the scorecards to move to a remarkable 19-0 in MMA competition.

It wasn’t the most thrilling of affairs, but Kunchenko was able to win a decision over a veteran opponent who has shared the octagon with some all-time greats. That should boost his confidence going forward as he attempts to find an opponent who can threaten his perfect record.

Millender (16-3 MMA, 2-0 UFC) seems like a perfect candidate for the job. He scored a nasty knockout of Alves in his promotional debut at UFC Fight Night 126 in February and followed it up with another win at UFC 226 in July. The size and length of Millender is problematic for a lot of people and it would certainly be interesting to see how Kunchenko handles it.

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Alexey Kunchenko def. Thiago Alves at UFC Fight Night 136: Best photos

Shamil Abdurakhimov

marcin-tybura-ufc-fight-night-121-1.jpg?

Marcin Tybura

Should fight: Marcin Tybura
Why they should fight: It wasn’t exactly exciting, but Abdurakhimov added a signature win to his resume when he edged former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski on the scorecards.

Abdurakhimov won a unanimous decision over Arlovski in a rather uneventful affair. Nevertheless, the Russian now has emerged on top in four of his past five bouts and proved he’s deserving of his top 15 spot in the UFC’s official rankings.

“Abrek” will need a few more wins before he’s viewed anywhere in the realm of title contention, but luckily for him, there are many names who has yet to share the octagon with. Tybura (17-4 MMA, 4-3 UFC), who is coming off a unanimous-decision win over Stefan Struve at UFC Fight Night 134 in July, is looking for a fight and would be a logical next foe.

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Shamil Abdurakhimov def. Andrei Arlovski at UFC Fight Night 136: Best photos

Jan Blachowicz

volkan-oezdemir-ufc-220-ap.jpg?w=300&h=2Should fight: Loser of Volkan Oezdemir vs. Anthony Smith at UFC Fight Night 138
Why they should fight: Blachowicz continued to show the best form of his career when he spoiled Nikita Krylov’s return to the octagon by second-round submission.

Blachowicz largely had his way with Krylov before finishing the fight with a D’Arce choke, and now his winning streak sits at four consecutive bouts. He called out light heavyweight champ Daniel Cormier post-fight, but with “DC” teed up to defend his heavyweight belt against Brock Lesnar next year, the likelihood of such a matchup seems slim.

The Polish fighter mentioned Alexander Gustafsson as a backup plan, but he already lost to Gustafsson just two years ago, and that rematch isn’t especially attractive. A matchup against the loser of October’s UFC Fight Night 138 main event between Oezdemir (15-2 MMA, 3-1 UFC) and Smith (30-13 MMA, 6-3 UFC), however, seems much more realistic.

The winner of that fight will have stronger wins than Blachowicz and therefor closer to a title. The loser would be the perfect foe, though.

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Jan Blachowicz def. Nikita Krylov at UFC Fight Night 136: Best photos

Aleksei Oleinik

Should fight: Alistair Overeem
Why they should fight: Watch the video above to see why Oleinik should fight Overeem (43-17 MMA, 8-6 UFC) next.

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 136, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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Aleksei Oleinik def. Mark Hunt at UFC Fight Night 136: Best photos

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