UFC Fight Night takes place Saturday at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas and will feature a heavyweight bout between Derrick Lewis and Aleksei Oleinik.
Here's a top play for the event.
The main event truly can go either way, so it should essentially be a pick 'em. While the oddsmakers favor Lewis at a 2-1 margin, I'm actually leaning the other way. And ultimately, there's too much value on Oleinik to pass up.
Oleinik is one of the best grappling specialists in heavyweight history. Of his 59 professional wins, 46 have been submissions. If you combine his age of 43 and his subpar striking, he doesn't seem like the most intimidating heavyweight. But Oleinik - and his unorthodox style - will surprise you.
The ezekiel choke is Oleinik's specialty, but he can lock up just about any kind of submission. Oleinik happens to be going up against a guy who hasn't fought too many grapplers - and when he has, he's struggled.
Lewis has a clear advantage standing up, as he's one of the most powerful strikers in the UFC, and Oleinik has been knocked out before. But his biggest weakness comes on the ground - Daniel Cormier had his way with "The Black Beast" in their November 2018 title bout en route to a second-round submission. Cormier is a much better wrestler than Oleinik, but this is such an odd matchup for me that I have to think it'll make it to the ground at some point throughout five rounds.
Assuming it does get there, Lewis will be in trouble. He can always rely on his brutal ground-and-pound if Oleinik isn't careful. But "The Boa Constrictor" is stronger than he looks, and he'll be able to smother Lewis and potentially catch him in a rear-naked choke or some other submission.
This fight will either end in an Oleinik submission or a Lewis knockout - any other result on Saturday would be purely shocking. Oleinik continues to be underestimated because of his age, but riding a two-fight winning streak, he's proven that age isn't a factor. I see him picking up another solid win this weekend in what will surely be a bizarre contest.
Here are the full odds from theScore Bet for UFC Fight Night on Aug. 8:
Derrick Lewis (-200) vs. Aleksei Oleinik (+165)
Chris Weidman (-135) vs. Omari Akhmedov (+105)
Darren Stewart (-160) vs. Maki Pitolo (+130)
Yana Kunitskaya (-230) vs. Julija Stoliarenko (+185)
Beneil Dariush (-170) vs. Scott Holtzman (+140)
Laureano Staropoli (-140) vs. Tim Means (+110)
Kevin Holland (-475) vs. Joaquin Buckley (+350)
Nasrat Haqparast (-245) vs. Alex Munoz (+195)
Wellington Turman (-160) vs. Andrew Sanchez (+130)
Gavin Tucker (-130) vs. Justin Jaynes (+100)
Youssef Zalal (-425) vs. Pete Barrett (+325)
Irwin Rivera (-210) vs. Ali Alqaisi (+170)