Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is back in action this weekend with the UFC Vegas 6 mixed martial arts (MMA) event, scheduled for Sat., Aug. 8, 2020 inside UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada, and headlined by the Heavyweight showdown between Derrick Lewis and Aleksei Oleinik. Elsewhere on the card, which airs exclusively on ESPN+, Chris Weidman will attempt to return to the Middleweight division and win column opposite Omari Akhmedov.
Before we dive into the main and co-main events, be sure to check out the complete UFC Vegas 6 preliminary card breakdown, expertly deconstructed by Patrick Stumberg here and here. Earlier in the week, I analyzed the rest of the main card bouts here. For the latest “Lewis vs. Oleinik” odds and betting lines click here.
Let’s get to work …
265 lbs.: Derrick Lewis vs. Aleksei Oleinik
Record: 23-7 (1) | Age: 35 | Betting line: -190
Wins: 18 KO/TKO, 1 SUB, 4 DEC | Losses: 4 KO/TKO, 1 SUB, 2 DEC
Height: 6’3“ | Reach: 79” | Stance: Orthodox
Significant Strikes Landed Per Minute: 2.53 (49% accuracy)
Takedown Average: 0.48 (24% accuracy)
Current Ranking: No. 4 | Last fight: Decision win over Ilir Latifi
Record: 59-13-1 | Age: 43 | Betting line: +155
Wins: 8 KO/TKO, 46 SUB, 5 DEC | Losses: 7 KO/TKO, 2 SUB, 4 DEC
Height: 6’2“ | Reach: 81” | Stance: Orthodox
Significant Strikes Landed Per Minute: 3.72 (50% accuracy)
Takedown Average: 2.41 (46% accuracy)
Current Ranking: No. 10 | Last fight: Decision win over Fabricio Werdum
Aleksei Oleinik does not hide his intentions. He goes straight forward, trying to club his opponents with winging right hands. Should they cover up for an instant, he’ll drop down to the hips and try to drag them down to the mat. As evidenced by his 46 SUBMISSION WINS, “Boa Constrictor” clearly knows what to do once the fight hits the mat.
It’s been fun to watch the Ukranian submission master climb up the ladder and score big wins into his 40s. I cheer for the veteran every time. But, that doesn’t mean he’s going to win.
There is a clear way to defeat Derrick Lewis: be an overwhelmingly better striker or wrestler, and don’t make any mistakes. Both parts are critical, as Lewis has battered several men (such as Alexader Volkov and Marcin Tybura) who are notably better in one area or another. However, when his opponent’s cardio or will fails him, “The Black Beast” is still there, ready to throw ugly power shots that send his opponent to sleep.
Are we supposed to expect that Oleinik can survive these brutal shots at 43 years old? Unless Oleinik scores an early takedown and submits Lewis in the very first exchange of the fight, it’s very difficult to see the jiu-jitsu ace having his hand raised.
Prediction: Lewis via knockout
Record: 14-5 | Age: 36 | Betting line: -140
Wins: 6 KO/TKO, 4 SUB, 4 DEC | Losses: 5 KO/TKO, 0 SUB, 0 DEC
Height: 6’2“ | Reach: 78” | Stance: Orthodox
Significant Strikes Landed Per Minute: 3.14 (42% accuracy)
Takedown Average: 3.82 (50% accuracy)
Current Ranking: Unranked | Last fight: Knockout loss to Dominick Reyes
Record: 20-4-1 | Age: 32 | Betting line: +110
Wins: 7 KO/TKO, 5 SUB, 8 DEC | Losses: 2 KO/TKO, 0 SUB, 2 DEC
Height: 6’ | Reach: 73” | Stance: Orthodox
Significant Strikes Landed Per Minute: 2.99 (34% accuracy)
Takedown Average: 2.40 (50% accuracy)
Current Ranking: No. 11 | Last fight: Decision win over Ian Heinisch
There is one story line to this fight: Can Chris Weidman get back into the win column? I don’t care how Weidman chooses to explain away five brutal knockout losses in six bouts, it’s bad string of losses, and it’s hard to feel confident in “The Chris” moving forward.
The unfortunate aspect of Weidman’s current streak is that he still shows glimpses of brilliance. The snapping jabs and boxing in the first round opposite “Jacare” Souza? His high-crotch takedown against Gegard Mousasi? Strangling Kelvin Gastelum? Striking, wrestling, jiu-jitsu — it still all seems to be there!
Then, Weidman slows down, and someone drops a bomb on his jawline. This brings us to Omari Akhmedov, who, quite honestly, has never been overly impressive. He can wrestle well enough and throw some clubbing punches, but “Wolverine” has yet to fully live up to his very impressive credentials.
At the very least, the Dagestani combatant has solved his conditioning problems, which is more than I can currently say for Weidman. Plus, he appears to be figuring out his game and succeeding as a result, whereas Weidman is only finding worse and worse results over time.
Is Weidman the better fighter? Yes. I am at all confident that means he wins this bout? Nope.
Prediction: Akhmedov via knockout
Remember, the rest of the UFC Vegas 6 main card predictions are RIGHT HERE.
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Vegas 6 fight card RIGHT HERE, starting with the ESPN+ “Prelims” matches, which are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. ET, then the remaining main card balance on ESPN+ 9 p.m. ET.
To check out the latest and greatest UFC Vegas 6: “Lewis vs. Oleinik” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.