Derrick Lewis has never been one to pull punches inside the Octagon or during one of his many memorable interviews. It was no surprise that he bluntly shared his game plan for Saturday's UFC Fight Night: Lewis vs. Oleinik main event against Aleksei Oleinik. The top-10 heavyweight battle tops the UFC showcase at the Apex facility in Las Vegas, where the main UFC fight card is scheduled for 9 p.m. ET. Although other aspects of his game have improved, the heavy-handed Lewis told the media Thursday his goal is to come out strong and deliver an early finish.
That's likely his best chance against the crafty Oleinik, who is one of the sport's top submission artists. Lewis is a -200 favorite (risk $200 to win $100), down from -220, while Oleinik is a +170 underdog in the latest Lewis vs. Oleinik odds from William Hill. In the co-main event, former middleweight champion Chris Weidman (-120) takes on rising contender Omari Akhmedov (+100). Before making your UFC Fight Night: Lewis vs. Oleinik picks, make sure you see what SportsLine MMA analyst Kyle Marley has to say, given the epic run he's on.
Marley won the first-ever "ToutMaster" UFC betting contest sponsored by MMAOddsBreaker and appears regularly on multiple MMA betting and daily Fantasy shows. He watches every single fight for every single UFC card and does extensive research before each event.
Over the past 17 months, $100 bettors who have followed Marley's picks are up nearly $20,000. The accomplished MMA analyst has been on fire as he has connected on 15 of his last 17 main-event selections, a stretch that included a streak of five straight underdogs. At UFC Fight Night two weeks ago, Marley called the decision victory for top-ranked middleweight Robert Whittaker (-135) against fifth-ranked Darren Till (+115). He also nailed his pick of Mauricio Rua (-200) against Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (+175) in the co-main event. Anyone who has consistently followed Marley is way up.
Now, with UFC Fight Night: Lewis vs. Oleinik fast approaching, Marley has carefully studied every matchup on the card, identified the best value in the UFC odds and released his MMA picks for every fight. Those selections are only available at SportsLine.
Lewis vs. Oleinik preview
Marley knows the main event will have major implications for a heavyweight division that could soon be in a phase of serious transition. Champion Stipe Miocic faces former champ Daniel Cormier in their trilogy bout Aug. 15, and it could be the last fight for both veterans regardless of the outcome. Francis Ngannou appears entrenched for the next title shot with his No. 2 ranking, but the division remains relatively open. Lewis has a win over Ngannou to his credit, while third-ranked Curtis Blaydes has twice lost to Ngannou.
Lewis (23-7-1) would be well-positioned with a victory Saturday. The 35-year-old New Orleans native lost a short-notice title shot against Cormier in November 2018, followed by a stoppage defeat to former champ Junior Dos Santos in March 2019. Those losses had some observers questioning whether Lewis was past his prime, but the slugger has rebounded with consecutive wins over veterans Blagoy Ivanov and Ilir Latifi.
He faces a daunting challenge in Oleinik (59-13-1), who has seen a recent career resurgence of his own. The 43-year-old Russian submission specialist is noted for his ability to stop any opponent at any time with his vast array of fight-ending techniques. Oleinik is looking for his third win of 2020 after he used an armbar to stop Maurice Green in January, followed by a split decision over former champ Fabricio Werdum in May. You can only see Marley's coveted Lewis vs. Oleinik picks here.
Top UFC Fight Night: Lewis vs. Oleinik predictions
We'll share one of Marley's UFC Fight Night selections here: He is backing Maki Pitolo (+160) to spring the upset of Darren Stewart (-180) in a middleweight clash.
Stewart (11-5-1), 29, became part of pandemic sporting history when his bout against Bartosz Fabinski was moved to the Cage Warriors promotion in March after a UFC event scheduled in his home city of London was canceled because of coronavirus concerns. He was heavily favored but lost by unanimous decision to end a two-fight winning streak.
Pitolo (13-5), also 29, has shown power and versatility while moving through the ranks and has nine stoppages among his 13 victories. The Hawaiian lost his UFC debut against Callan Porter last October but responded with a win over Charles Byrd in June.
"Stewart is mainly a striker and I don't believe he has that big of an edge on his feet," Marley told SportsLine. "Pitolo wants this fight to stay standing and he might have more power. I could also see him landing more volume."
How to make UFC Fight Night: Lewis vs. Oleinik picks
Marley also has strong picks for Lewis vs. Oleinik and every other bout on the UFC Fight Night card. He's also backing one fighter who is getting "his easiest fight on paper" in a long time. You can see those UFC Fight Night: Lewis vs. Oleinik picks only at SportsLine.
Who wins Lewis vs. Oleinik at UFC Fight Night? And how exactly does each fight end? Visit SportsLine now to get detailed picks on every fight on Saturday's UFC Fight Night: Lewis vs. Oleinik card, all from the accomplished expert who's up almost $20,000 and has nailed 15 of the last 17 main events, and find out.
UFC Fight Night: Lewis vs. Oleinik odds (via William Hill)
Derrick Lewis (-200) vs. Aleksei Oleinik (+170)
Chris Weidman (-120) vs. Omari Akhmedov (+100)
Darren Stewart (-180) vs. Maki Pitolo (+160)
Yana Kunitskaya (-230) vs. Julija Stoliarenko (+195)
Beneil Dariush (-160) vs. Scott Holtzman (+140)
Laureano Staropoli (-135) vs. Tim Means (+115)
Nasrat Haqparast (-235) vs. Alex Munoz (+195)
Wellington Turman (-155) vs. Andrew Sanchez (+135)
Gavin Tucker (-145) vs. Justin Jaynes (+125)
Youssef Zalal (-410) vs. Peter Barrett (+330)
Irwin Rivera (-200) vs. Ali Al Qaisi (+170)