Best bets for UFC Fight Night: Lewis vs. Oleinik


The UFC returned to Las Vegas last week, and this Saturday they'll host the second of five fight cards at the APEX Arena during a packed August.

The main event offers a pair of top-10 heavyweights with highly contrasting styles in a fight no one thinks will go the full five rounds. When you have heavyweights in a small cage, that's always interesting.

Heavyweight main event: No. 4 Derrick Lewis (-230) vs. No. 10 Aleksei Oleinik (+190)

Tale Of The Tape

Last fight weight class Heavyweight Heavyweight
Age 35 43
Height 75 74
Reach 79 80
Stance Orthodox Orrhodox
Analyzed minutes 189 60
Standup striking offense
Total knockdown ratio (scored:received) 5:2 2:4
Distance knockdown rate 2.9% 3.9%
Head jab accuracy 23% 36%
Head power accuracy 28% 30%
Total standup strike ratio 1.1 1.0
Striking defense
Total head strike defense 64% 69%
Distance knockdown defense ("Chin") 97% 94%
Wrestling and grappling
TD attempts per min standing/clinch 0.18 0.80
Takedown accuracy 24% 46%
Advances per takedown/top control 2.1 1.1
Opponent takedown attempts 73 10
Takedown defense 53% 20%
Share of total ground time in control 28% 59%
Submission attempts per trip to ground 0.00 0.55
The main event is scheduled for five rounds, but the market sees the chances of the judges getting involved as fairly slim. That's because we have two fighters who finish fights in opposite ways and are fairly one-dimensional in their successes and failures.

Lewis has won almost exclusively by strikes, while Oleinik has racked up more MMA submission wins than almost any active fighter -- and certainly any heavyweight. Oleinik has also shown competence facing strikers and getting them to the mat. His technical standup metrics are actually superior to those of Lewis on paper, but it's Lewis who will want to keep the fight standing.

Lewis will have to be cautious with his offensive striking, however, so as not to overcommit and allow Oleinik to shoot for a takedown. And that's usually the case for Lewis, who averages an abysmally low average standup output of just 5.5 strike attempts per minute -- by far the lowest of any fighter on the card. When he can't stalk opponents and is instead fighting for position, it eliminates his greatest threat.

Should they spend time staring at each other from a distance, Oleinik will use his strikes primarily to back Lewis up and cut off the cage, where a clinch and takedown will come easier. During those pursuits, the fight will be binary, as one clean power shot from Lewis would probably alter the course of the night.

But if that doesn't happen early, expect Oleinik to use his grappling first to tire Lewis out, and then to set up submissions. If he's still conscious, he'll rinse and repeat as the fight goes on, but each time taking a risk with Lewis when in open water.

E+ recommends: Pass at current odds, if Lewis gets any more chalk, an Oleinik upset by submission prop will offer a high return. Use "fight does not go the distance" for parlays.

Other values on the card

The Chris Weidman (-115) experiment at light heavyweight was a short one, and he's back in a division where he has seen the greatest success as a former champion. He's practically a pick 'em against Omari Akhmedov (-105), who used to compete at welterweight. Weidman will want to leverage his size and wrestling base.

E+ recommends: Money-line play on Weidman.

Beneil Dariush (-170) is coming off of three straight Performance of the Night wins and now takes on Scott Holtzman (+150) in a fight that should frankly have higher billing on the card. Both men are competent grapplers, but Dariush's striking is more dangerous against a somewhat porous defense for Holtzman.

E+ recommends: Money-line play on Dariush.