The co-main event at UFC Fight Night is Aleksei Oleinik vs Serghei Spivak, who are at different stages of their careers.
Oleinik is an MMA veteran of 75 fights and the 43-year-old continues to defy belief to still compete at a high level. However, his last two fights are cause for concern.
In a battle between Eastern Europeans, Spivak has been the online sportsbook elect. The 26-year-old is the fresher fighter and the Moldovian is riding a two-fight win streak.
It features on the Chan Sung Jung vs Dan Ige card, which is packed with blockbuster fights.
Oleinik Well Past Prime
Saying Oleinik is past his prime is stating the obvious, but he continues to front up in the UFC and we applaud his courage.
The veteran has earned legendary status, but it’s more for his longevity than his MMA prowess. A younger Oleinik was a force, but his last two defeats could have done long lasting damage.
The Ukrainian was knocked out in the first round by Chris Daukaus at UFC Fight Night in February. It was tough to watch, especially given it was consecutive knockouts for the aging star.
Can we take a moment to give Aleksei Oleynik some serious respect please? 58-13 career #MMA record. 46 of those wins coming via submission finish. 8 via KO and 4 via decision. The Boa Constrictor is a true living legend of this amazing sport. #UFC246 #MMATwitter
Jake Stanard (@StanardMma92) January 19, 2020
Daukaus was supremely confident of scoring a knockout bonus from Dana White and he wasn’t wrong.
“50 G’s is awesome. I’d love to knock him out,” he told MyMMANews.
The same confidence could be shared by Spivak, so Oleinik will need to be wary of a first-round barrage.
He was also knocked out in the second round by Derrick Lewis in August. He wasn’t able to follow up a three-round decision victory over Fabricio Werdum at UFC 249 and he has struggled against the younger and more mobile fighters.
UFC betting markets have Oleinik as the +180 underdog. Given the nature of heavyweight fighting, it’s a fair price as only one right hook needs to land for the fight to be over.
Spivak Rising in Ranks
Losing your first fight in the UFC can be tough mentally, but Spivak rebounded with consecutive wins.
Following a three-round decision loss to Marcin Tybura, he scored a decision win over Carlos Felipe and a second-round knockout win over Jared Vanderaa.
“The Polar Bear” is the much fresher fighter and, although not as experienced as Oleinik, he is much quicker on his feet. He also packs a powerful punch and a submission game that has accounted for half of his 12 career wins.
One way traffic. 😳
— UFC Europe (@UFCEurope) February 20, 2021
Vanderaa told Sportskeeda that Spivak hits harder than one would expect.
“He was hitting properly, he got a few shots in the back,” he said. “But, you know, s**t happens… they could’ve stopped it earlier because of the boring fight on my end. I’m just upset with myself. I just got really caught up in the lights that it hit me harder than I had thought.”
We’re not surprised bookmakers have Spivak as the -230 favorite. He is the trending fighter and not many young heavyweights are losing to guys over the age of 40.
Oleinik vs Spivak Pick
We couldn’t bet against Spivak, who should be too quick for his opponent.
The Moldovian has his confidence levels up after two straight victories and he should have no problems getting Oleinik to the ground.
If the fight ends up on the ground, it’s only a matter of time before Spivak locks in the winning submission. We’re looking for better value than the -230 to win the fight, so we’re happy to take the -140 for Spivak to win via KO, TKO or submission.
We don’t see this fight going the distance and neither do bookmakers. No is paying -550, so we’re going to see fireworks over the three-round fight.
Spivak could get it done early, but with a Round One victory paying +185, we’re happy to wait until Round Two for a better payout. It pays +400, which is a UFC prop bet worth snapping up.