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UFC Fight Night: Lewis vs. Oleinik staff picks and predictions

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Check out the Bloody Elbow staff’s picks and predictions for Saturday’s UFC Vegas 6 card.

The Bloody Elbow team has made its picks for UFC Vegas 6, and brace yourselves because we all picked Derrick Lewis to beat Aleksei Oleinik in the main event. As for the co-main event, it’s crazy to think that there’s a slight lean towards Omari Akhmedov to beat former middleweight champion Chris Weidman, yet here we are.

Derrick Lewis vs. Aleksei Oleinik

Mookie Alexander: This fight can go so many ways. Lewis is not difficult to hurt so Oleinik might be able to knock him out. Oleinik might go for one of those weird chokes and Derrick will just stand up and slam him into unconsciousness. Aleksei could just submit Lewis and be on his merry way. Lewis could just bomb out Oleinik early because he’s way bigger than Aleksei and he hits stupidly hard. Yeah I’ll just go with the bomb out method, but this is heavyweight and Derrick Lewis fights do not have any inkling of normality. Plus we all picked Lewis so I guess Oleinik wins. Derrick Lewis by KO, round 1.

Phil Mackenzie: Lewis has never really dealt well with unchecked aggression, having largely racked up his wins against outfighters, counter specialists or mid-range guys. If Oleinik just comes out windmilling hams, this could get interesting. However, Oleinik’s durability is on its way out and he is approximately twenty thousand years old. Derrick Lewis by TKO, round 1.

Zane Simon: I’m pretty sure Oleinik will have a strong first round. He’ll put Lewis on the back foot early, could very easily take him down, and may even get one of his remarkably wild submission wins. But, if he doesn’t, I have no faith that his cardio will hold up, or that he can successfully out-last and grind on Lewis for 25 minutes. At some point (probably fairly early) his gas tank will go, and then Lewis will light him up. Derrick Lewis via KO, round 2.

Staff picking Lewis: Stephie, Phil, Zane, Dayne, Mookie
Staff picking Oleinik:

Chris Weidman vs. Omari Akhmedov

Mookie Alexander: This pick is largely on the basis that Akhmedov is a much worse fighter than anyone Weidman has lost to, and as he’s gone up in weight his power hasn’t really shown itself to trouble anyone. Weidman’s chin is clearly shot so if Akhmedov knocks him out then that’s got to be the end for him, otherwise Weidman would be wise to outwrestle Omari and just keep heavy top pressure and perhaps get a submission. I know it won’t be that easy, and instead he’ll engage in far too much kickboxing and make this more competitive than it needs to be. Chris Weidman by unanimous decision.

Phil Mackenzie: Chris Weidman is better than Omari Akhmedov. His weak points of poor defense combined with slightly waning durability should be alleviated by the fact that Akhmedov isn’t much of a finisher, and Weidman’s tendency to fade down the stretch is similarly unlikely to be capitalized on because Akhmedov himself has to choose between a glacial pace or blowing his tank early (reference: Jan Blachowicz). Weidman is bigger and a better wrestler, and should be able to just stand on the outside throwing combinations into Akhmedov until he hurts him or opens up takedown opportunities. Then again, he might get his jab countered by a low kick and look lost? Omari Akhmedov by unanimous decision.

Zane Simon: I really don’t know what to make of Weidman, at the end of the day. Clearly there are defensive gaps, and clearly there are durability problems, and clearly there are gas-tank issues. I think for a while, however, he still had the confidence of a man who had been UFC champion—and beaten the MW GOAT to get there no less. But, that loss to Reyes was damned ugly. And the things Weidman is saying lately sound a lot more like a man trying to find his swagger than a man who still hasn’t lost it. All of which is to say that Weidman is a better striker, better wrestler, and better grappler than Omari Akhmedov. And a better athlete. But as a less durable, less confident one, who is also more likely to get shook up and gas out? Omari Akhmedov via TKO, round 3.

Staff picking Weidman: Stephie, Mookie
Staff picking Akhmedov: Phil, Zane, Dayne

Darren Stewart vs. Maki Pitolo

Phil Mackenzie: A battle between two guys that have relied on physical gifts to bail them out of dodgy situations. With Pitolo its power and with Stewart it’s physical strength. Pitolo is the better, rangier fighter on the feet, but also tends to willingly let himself get into clinch wars and ground exchanges, and while Stewart can be worn down and submitted, he’s absurdly hard to put away with strikes. Should be very fun, I think. Darren Stewart by TKO, round 3.

Zane Simon: This is a really tough fight for me to pick. Stewart is a bit more collected, and a bit less likely to give fights away to poor athletes, but he’s also more easily taken off his stride and made to fight a fight he’s not comfortable with. Pitolo, on the other hand, is all too willing to ignore any & everything his opponent is doing and just keep plugging away with the same walk-forward, throw handz offense no matter what. As such, he’s taken some wild losses he absolutely could have won. But, I have more faith that Pitolo sticking to his guns here will pay off than I do that Stewart can take advantage of the obvious gaps Pitolo provides. Maki Pitolo via TKO, Round 2.

Staff picking Stewart: Phil, Mookie, Dayne
Staff picking Pitolo: Stephie, Zane

Yana Kunitskaya vs. Julija Stoliarenko

Phil Mackenzie: Kunitskaya is good on the ground and has beaten some good competition. Stoliarenko is an aggressive armbar merchant, who hasn’t. Yana Kunitskaya by unanimous decision.

Zane Simon: Really good chance Stoliarenko comes out, pulls guard and gets an armbar in the first minute. If that doesn’t work, she’ll probably gas out pretty bad and get beat up for the remainder of the fight. Yana Kunitskaya via decision.

Staff picking Kunitskaya: Stephie, Phil, Mookie, Zane, Dayne
Staff picking Stoliarenko:

Beneil Dariush vs. Scott Holtzman

Phil Mackenzie: Of notable concern is the way that Dariush has been getting hurt in almost all his fights lately. Yes, the Klose comeback was fantastic but how many opponents does Klose typically have wobbled like that? Holtzman is a huge, accurate and clean puncher, who nonetheless somewhat struggles to actually put people away, so this may be something of a referendum on his power. Perhaps more significant is the way that Holtzman concedes clinch and grappling positions, seemingly waiting for opponents to get bored of chaining together shots or tying up the rear waist cinch. Dariush is still a quality wrestler and even if he gets hurt, the ground should be a position of safety for him. His other issue has been running out of steam, so it’s possible that we get both a dicey first and last round for Long Back Benny, but I’ll still take Beneil Dariush by unanimous decision.

Zane Simon: Holtzman can absolutely have a competitive fight standing with Dariush, who loves to stay aggressive, but doesn’t always have the chin or cardio to carry himself through a 15 minute standup war. Unfortunately, at least in the UFC, Holtzman’s finishing ability has been basically non-existent. And, especially a concern against Dariush, anyone who has really looked to wrestle him has done so with a lot of success, no matter how tired they’ve ended up getting. Should make for a fairly straightforward avenue for Dariush to control the action. Beneil Dariush via decision.

Staff picking Dariush: Stephie, Phil, Mookie, Zane, Dayne
Staff picking Holtzman:

Tim Means vs. Laureano Staropoli

Mookie Alexander: Props to Means for cutting that extra weight so he could get some of Staropoli’s purse. I’d pick him in this type of matchups even two years ago but I think we’re starting to see Means’ steady decline; his durability is by far the biggest problem I have and he won’t be able to keep up with that volume. Laureano Staropoli by unanimous decision.

Phil Mackenzie: Means has a technical edge, as per usual, but that seems to mean less and less these days. Even back in his physical prime, he struggled with keeping centered in the face of pure pace (the Magny fight etc), and Staropoli will throw at a consistent clip. Laureano Staropoli by unanimous decision.

Zane Simon: Staropoli doesn’t have the kind of stopping power that makes me really worried for Tim Means’ willingness to maintain exchanges as a way of producing offense. But, if Means is starting to get shook up by shots more and more easily, Staropoli’s insane volume is still a big concern. Means is a much more accurate, crafty striker, but most opponents who can stay tough and throw with him tend to land at a pretty consistent percentage to whatever Means is producing. Staropoli is big, he’s tough, and he’s going to throw a lot. I think that’ll be enough to get him a win in exactly the kind of fight Means might have won 3-4 years ago. Laureano Staropoli by decision.

Staff picking Means:
Staff picking Staropoli: Stephie, Phil, Mookie, Zane, Dayne

Rest of the card

Nasrat Haqparast vs. Alex Munoz

Staff picking Haqparast: Stephie, Phil, Mookie, Zane, Dayne
Staff picking Munoz:

Andrew Sanchez vs. Wellington Turman

Staff picking Sanchez: Stephie, Phil, Mookie, Zane, Dayne
Staff picking Turman:

Kevin Holland vs. Joaquin Buckley

Staff picking Holland: Stephie, Phil, Mookie, Zane, Dayne
Staff picking Buckley:

Gavin Tucker vs. Justin Jaynes

Staff picking Tucker: Zane
Staff picking Jaynes: Stephie, Phil, Mookie, Dayne

Youssef Zalal vs. Peter Barrett

Staff picking Zalal: Stephie, Phil, Mookie, Zane, Dayne
Staff picking Barrett:

Irwin Rivera vs. Ali Qaisi

Staff picking Rivera: Phil, Mookie, Zane, Dayne
Staff picking Qaisi: Stephie

Poll

Who wins?

This poll is closed

  • 65%
    Derrick Lewis
    (362 votes)
  • 34%
    Aleksei Oleinik
    (191 votes)
553 votes total Vote Now