Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is set to kick off an entire month of events in Las Vegas, Nevada, this Saturday night (Aug. 8, 2020), as UFC Vegas 6 is set to go down inside the promotion’s APEX facility. Headlining the event is a crucial Heavyweight bout between Derrick Lewis and Aleksei Oleinik. In the co-headlining act, former Middleweight champion, Chris Weidman, will face Omari Akhmedov.
Lewis is looking to get back to the big dance after coming up short in his first-ever UFC title fight against Daniel Cormier a few years ago. Since then, he has gone just 2-1, but in the Heavyweight division it doesn’t take a whole lot of consecutive wins to warrant a title shot. Ranked No. 4, “Black Beast” isn’t too far off, and a win over Oleinik could catapult him into, at the very least, a title eliminator fight against Curtis Blaydes. Francis Ngannou is in line to face the winner of next week’s UFC 252 title fight between Heavyweight kingpin, Stipe Miocic, and former UFC champ-champ, Daniel Cormier, which means Lewis is likely two wins away from a title fight with whoever the champion is at the time. If not, there’s always a showdown against Alistair Overeem.
We know Lewis’ bread-and-butter is throwing bombs. Against Oleinik, that is going to be his best bet because if “Boa Constrictor” takes it to the ground “Black Beast” is going to be in a world of trouble. Oleinik has 46 wins via submission (eat your heart out Fabricio Werdum) so his comfort level obviously increases on the mat. He doesn’t have the best striking, and neither does Lewis for that matter, but if he goes toe-to-toe with the heavy-handed brawler who takes pride in knocking people out cold, it could be a short night for the 43-year old. It’s your traditional grappler versus striker match up, and you won’t confuse one for the other. Lewis has only one submission win in his combat career, while Oleinik only has two wins via knockout this decade. The fight always begins on the feet, so I’m thinking Lewis ends this fight long before Oleinik gets the chance to take it to the ground.
It’s simply not the best of cards. UFC has a roster like no other, so I’d like to think that it would have no problem finding fighters looking to compete after significant time off. It could be, also, that many don’t want to compete in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, so there is that. To the promotion’s defense, it has been putting on fights non-stop since the beginning of May so asking some to make quick turnarounds simply isn’t feasible.
Original Card Vs. Actual Card:
Nicco Montano was set to face off against Julia Avila on this card, but the bout was moved to a later date after Montano’s coach tested positive for COVID 19. Ketlen Vieira was originally set to face off against Yana Kunitskaya before she was removed from the event because of visa issues and replaced by Julija Stoliarenko. And yes, Kunitskaya duped us on April Fool’s day. Youssef Zalal stepped in to face Peter Barrett in Featherweight action after Steven Garcia was forced out of the bout.
Sergei Pavlovich and Ciryl Gane were booked to throw down at this event, but an untimely knee injury forced Pavlovich out of the card and into the surgery room. After Gane was paired up one more time against Shamil Abdurakhimov, that fight was ultimately moved to UFC 253, and then later canceled after Shamil was removed from the event for undisclosed reasons.
Joaquin Buckley has some good experience fighting under bright lights since he has competed for Bellator MMA on four occasions, winning three of those bouts. He will have a tough draw in his UFC debut against Kevin Holland, who hits like a truck and is 4-1 in his last five fights inside the Octagon. That said, a win over an experienced UFC veteran is just what Buckley needs to raise some eyebrows.
Undefeated (6-0) Lightweight contender, Alex Munoz, will take on Nasrat Haqparast in his first official fight for UFC. Munoz made good on his fight on Dana White’s “Contender Series,” defeating Nick Newell in 2018. But since it wasn’t a finish, it wasn’t good enough to warrant a jump up to the big leagues straight away. But after winning one more fight on the regional circuit, he got his fight against Haqparast. Nasrat has done fairly well during his time with the promotion, coming up short against Marcin Held and Drew Dober to record a 3-2 record. It’s a good first test for Munoz, as he isn’t being thrown into deep water straight away.
Peter Barrett didn’t get a finish in his fight on “Contender Series,” but he got an invite to fight for the promotion anyway. He will face Youssef Zalal, who is on a nice three-fight win streak. Of his 11 wins, Barrett has finished nine of them, which means he can get the job done. Now it just remains to be seen if that translated into the Octagon.
Ali Alqaisi’s five-fight win streak was good enough to earn him an invite to the world’s toughest combat proving grounds. There isn’t a whole lot of tape on Alqaisi to go by, but his 8-3 record is decent, and has a good mixture of finishes (mostly by submission). He will face Irwin Rivera,who dropped a dud in his UFC debut against Giga Chikadze earlier this year.
To get a more detailed look at all of the “New Blood” click here.
How The ‘Prelims’ Look:
There isn’t a whole lot to get excited about name value-wise for the underbelly portion of this event. We have several newcomers looking to make statements and some veterans looking to get over the hump (or simply save their careers). Headlining the “Prelims” is long-time UFC veteran, Tim Means, who will face off against Laureano Staropoli. Means has been all over the place since 2017. Indeed, he has a 3-5-1 mark since then, making him pretty much the poster boy for inconsistency. He needs a win if he wants to stay put and not have to worry about finding another promotion to fight for. Staropoli, meanwhile, has been very consistent, winning seven in a row before dropping his most recent fight against Muslim Salikhov. Prior to this loss, Staropoli picked up wins over Hector Aldana and Thiago Alves.
Who Needs A Win Badly:
The co-main event will see Weidman attempt to right his ship after losing two straight and five of six overall when he takes on Akhmedov. His lone win during that horrid streak was a submission win over Kelvin Gastelum, though he was close to getting finished himself early in the fight. It’s been a true fall from the top for Weidman, who just hasn’t looked like the former 185-pound champion who took out Anderson Silva (twice), Lyoto Machida and Vitor Belfort. Granted, all of his losses haven’t exactly been to scrubs, either, as he’s constantly faced — and lost to — the best of the best such as Luke Rockhold, Yoel Romero, Ronaldo Souza and Gegard Mousasi.
In his last outing, “All American” made the move up to Light Heavyweight to face Dominick Reyes, only to get knocked out in the first round. And that’s the troubling thing of it all, Weidman’s losses during his skid have all come by way of knockout, which can’t be good for his long-term health. He needs a win against Akhmedov, which will be easier said than done. Indeed, Akhmedov is a quiet assassin, he doesn’t make waves and ruffle feathers with his words or antics, but gets it done inside the Octagon. He has won five of his last six, with the other fight being a draw with Marvin Vettori. The knock on him is that he hasn’t finished an opponent since 2015, but he can wear out his foes with the best of them. If Weidman is looking to get back on track, he is going to have to bring his “A” game because Akhmedov has his own plans of inserting himself into the thick of the title picture.
Interest Level: 5/10
Let’s be real, it’s not the most intriguing fight card. It’s lacking depth and complementary bouts to the main event. We don’t have to speak anymore on Lewis vs. Oleinik — it should be an interesting one to say the least. And, we get to see if Weidman can somehow get back to his winning ways as he once again drops down to 185 pounds.
In further main card action, Beneil Dariush will face Scott Holtzman in Lightweight action. Dariush has quietly won four in a row in the highly-competitive Lightweight division, most recently scoring a knockout win over Drakkar Klose at UFC 248. Ranked No. 14 at the moment, Dariush — who has won three consecutive “Performance of the Night” awards — can make some waves in the rankings if he can take out Holtzman. Speaking of which, “Hot Sauce” has also been on a bit of a tear, winning two straight and five of six overall. It’s an interesting bout that could earn the victor a big boost in the rankings.
Again, it’s not the most stacked card, but we have some action to look forward to and as we’ve seen in the past, cards that aren’t thrilling on paper tend to sometimes end up delivering the goods better than expected.
Full Fight Card:
UFC Vegas 6 Main Event On ESPN+:
265 lbs.: Derrick Lewis vs. Aleksei Oleinik
UFC Vegas 6 Main Card On ESPN+ (9 p.m. ET):
185 lbs.: Omari Akhmedov vs. Chris Weidman
185 lbs.: Maki Pitolo vs. Darren Stewart
135 lbs.: Yana Kunitskaya vs. Julija Stoliarenko
155 lbs.: Beneil Dariush vs. Scott Holtzman
UFC Vegas 6 Prelims Card On ESPN+ (6 p.m. ET):
170 lbs.: Tim Means vs. Laureano Staropoli
185 lbs.: Joaquin Buckley vs. Kevin Holland
155 lbs.: Nasrat Haqparast vs. Alex Munoz
185 lbs.: Andrew Sanchez vs. Wellington Turman
145 lbs.: Gavin Tucker vs. Justin Jaynes
145 lbs.: Youssef Zalal vs. Peter Barrett
135 lbs.: Irwin Rivera vs. Ali Qaisi
***Fight card, bout order and the amount of matches subject to drastic change because of the various global quarantine restrictions.***
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” undercard bouts at 6 p.m. ET, followed by the ESPN+ main card start time at 9 p.m. ET.
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