- Date & Location: Saturday Aug. 8 @ UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada
- Odds: Derrick Lewis -225, Aleksei Oleinik +185
- Prediction: Lewis by knockout
On August 8, former UFC heavyweight title challenger Derrick Lewis fights in the main event of UFC on ESPN+ 32 opposite Aleksei Oleinik in a heavyweight scrap.
Lewis, who is the No. 4 ranked fighter in the official UFC heavyweight rankings, has won his two most recent fights. Oleinik, who is also on a two-fight winning streak, checks in as the No. 10 ranked fighter in the heavyweight division.
LEWIS vs. OLEINIK ODDS
LEWIS vs. OLEINIK PREDICTION & PICK
In a simple analysis, this is contest pits a striker vs. a grappler. However, neither of these men are typical proponents of those MMA fighting bases.
Of his 23 wins, Lewis has claimed 18 victories via knockout. As for Oleinik, he has secured victory 46 times via submission. Of his 59 wins, only 13 of Oleinik’s triumphs have not come via submission.
Lewis is one of the heaviest hitters in the UFC. Where once he had to cut weight to make the heavyweight limit, Lewis has become more serious about his fitness and his increased his muscle mass throughout his career. He was in the best shape of his UFC run for his February bout opposite Ilir Latifi.
Oleinik is not a physical specimen, but he has an uncanny ability to get his opponents to the ground and secure incredibly tight chokes. He is the only fighter to win two UFC bouts via the rarely successful Ezekiel choke.
I favor Lewis in this contest by knockout.
BETTING VALUE WITH LEWIS
If Lewis wins this fight, I believe it will come by knockout. Yes, he has a tendency to run out of gas in longer contests, but his power does not leave him as his energy wanes. When Lewis has faded in past outings, he rested and then threw a power strike every 15 seconds or thereabouts.
I believe Lewis is making steady progress with his cardio and fitness. Early in his career, Lewis counted on his power to get him through. Now that he is looked at as a serious professional fighter, he has begun to act the part.
I expect Lewis to be in better shape for this bout than he was in his last outing.
WHO HAS THE EDGE?
Looking at this matchup as a striker vs. grappler contest, Lewis has the edge. He has only lost via submission once. Lewis also has an uncanny ability to simply stand up whenever he wants to after his opponent takes him to the mat.
As for Oleinik, he has lost seven fights via knockout. Oleinik’s past three losses have all come via knockout. That does not bode well for him against someone who hits as hard as Lewis.
FIGHT STATS: LEWIS vs. OLEINIK
|Derrick Lewis||Category||Aleksei Oleinik|
|2.53||Significant Strikes Landed Per Minute||3.72|
|2.14||Significant Strikes Absorbed Per Minute||3.30|
|0.48||Takedown Average Per 15 Minutes||2.41|
|0.0||Submission Average Per 15 Minutes||2.2|
WHAT’S AT STAKE
The UFC heavyweight division has largely been in a holding pattern for the past year. Current heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic took the belt from Daniel Cormier in August 2019. After the fight, Miocic spent time recovering from an eye injury. Miocic was then called to duty as a firefighter and paramedic in his home state of Ohio during the COVID-19 pandemic. Miocic recently returned to training. He faces Cormier for the title on August 15.
With the Miocic vs Cormier bout fast approaching, the fight to be in position to earn a title shot in 2020 or 2021 is on. The winner of this matchup will be in the mix for a shot at whoever holds the UFC heavyweight title on August 16.