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Alexander Volkov out of UFC St. Petersburg main event, Aleksei Oleinik steps in to fight Alistair Overeem

Aleksei Oleinik (pictured) fights Alistair Overeem in the heavyweight main event of UFC St. Petersburg on April 20
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Aleksei Oleinik is getting an unexpected second straight main event opportunity.

The UFC announced Wednesday that health issues have forced Alexander Volkov out of his scheduled meeting with Alistair Overeem at UFC St. Petersburg on April 20 and that Volkov will now be replaced in the headlining spot by Oleinik (57-11-1). ESPN was first to report the change.

Oleinik had previously been booked to fight Walt Harris at UFC Ottawa on May 4. Per the release, a new opponent will be found for Harris.

In his last outing, the 41-year-old Oleinik defeated Mark Hunt by first-round submission in the main event of UFC Moscow last September. Oleinik, a Ukrainian who fights out of Moscow, has won four of his last five fights, all by submission. He has 45 career wins by that method of victory.

Overeem (44-17, 1 NC) is coming off of a first-round TKO of Sergey Pavlovich at UFC Beijing last November. That snapped a two-fight skid and improved his record in the Octagon to 9-6.

UFC St. Petersburg takes place at Yubileyny Sports Palace in St. Petersburg, Russia, on April 20. The main card will air live on the ESPN+ streaming service.

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