Saturday, August 8th
UFC Fight Night: Lewis vs. Oleinik
UFC APEX – Las Vegas, Nevada
Top 10 heavyweights collide in the main event this weekend as Derrick Lewis and Aleksei Oleinik both go after their third successive win, pushing them closer to a chance at heavyweight gold.
Derrick Lewis (23–7–0, 1NC) is the former Legacy FC heavyweight champion and holds the most KO/TKO wins in UFC heavyweight history with ten (joint with Cain Velasquez and Junior dos Santos). A UFC heavyweight since 2014, Lewis won his last fight in the state he trains in, Texas, by unanimous decision against Ilir Latifi in February.
14–5 in the UFC, Lewis is looking for his third win in a row having won his last two by decision, and has never been to the fifth round. He has 18 KO/TKO victories in his career and has only won by decision on four occasions.
“The Black Beast” has only ever lost by submission once — in his title fight against Daniel Cormier at UFC 230 in December 2018 when he was caught by a rear-naked choke in the second round.
Lewis also has experience fighting former champion dos Santos in March last year, a fight he lost by TKO in round 2 in the Fight of the Night. Lewis will be keen to keep the fight this weekend standing to utilise his boxing skills and stay out of Oleinik’s grasp.
A victory will keep Lewis in title contention along with Francis Ngannou and Curtis Blaydes — they will all be watching in anticipation when Stipe Miocic and Daniel Cormier complete their trilogy next weekend.
Aleksei Oleinik (59–13–1) made his professional debut in 1996 — he is the former World Cup of MMA heavyweight champion and has won seven other heavyweight tournaments and grands prix along with an openweight (202.8lbs) and middleweight tournament across various promotions. Along with Alistair Overeem, he is the only MMA fighter to have won a bout in four different decades.
With a background in BJJ, combat sambo, and jujutsu, Oleinik has also been a UFC heavyweight since 2014 and has amassed an 8–4 record in the promotion comprising six wins by submission and five round 1 stoppages. “The Boa Constrictor” has three UFC losses by KO/TKO with two coming in the first round, the most recent coming just 12 seconds into the fight.
The Russian is also looking for his third successive victory; his last fight was a split decision win against former champion Fabricio Werdum at UFC 249 in May. In a career with 59 victories, 46 have come by submission and only five via the judges, and Oleinik has never been past the third round, so I am expecting a finish in this contest one way or another.
This is a classic striker versus grappler matchup in which Oleinik will aim to stop Lewis’ effectiveness by taking him down and trying to control the fight on the ground, looking for a submission. At 43 years old the Russian is nearly eight years older than his opponent — Oleinik knows a win elevates him into the title contention conversation.
Prediction: Lewis by KO/TKO in a POTN.
Follow Rob Bartle on Twitter
Other articles by Rob Bartle vis his Medium page