Las Vegas, July 31: UFC continues its run of August events at UFC APEX, headlined by a battle of heavyweight contenders, as No. 4 ranked Derrick Lewis squares off with No. 11 Aleksei Oleinik.
A former title challenger, Lewis (23-7 1NC, fighting out of Houston, Texas) is among the most exciting KO artists in the heavyweight division.
Throughout his Octagon run, he has delivered impressive KO finishes against Alexander Volkov, Marcin Tybura and Travis Browne. Lewis also holds a decision victory over perennial top contender Francis Ngannou. Lewis now looks to earn his third consecutive win to re-assert himself as a dangerous title threat.
Considered among the most skilled heavyweight grapplers, Oleinik (59-13-1, fighting out of Moscow, Russia) continues to turn heads with his trademark Ezekiel choke submission.
A 24-year MMA veteran, he has delivered spectacular victories over Fabricio Werdum, Mark Hunt and Mirko Cro Cop. Oleinik now hopes to add another top heavyweight to his hit list and crack the UFC heavyweight top five for the first time in his career.
The co-main event will feature No. 11 ranked middleweight contender Omari Akhmedov, who aims to take out his first former UFC champion when he faces Chris Weidman.
Unbeaten since returning to the middleweight division in 2017, Akhmedov (20-4-1, fighting out of Makhachkala, Russia) goes for his most important win yet.
A gritty Sambo fighter, Akhmedov secured hard-fought wins over Ian Heinisch, Zak Cummings and Tim Boetsch. In the biggest spotlight of his career, Akhmedov has his sights set on taking out his first former champion to continue his ascent up the 185-pound ladder.
A former UFC middleweight champion, Weidman (14-5, fighting out of Baldwin, N.Y.) returns to the 185-pound division ready to climb back to the top of the mountain.
A decorated grappler, Weidman dethroned all-time great Anderson Silva for the middleweight belt in 2013. During his reign he netted successful title defenses against Silva, Lyoto Machida and Vitor Belfort. Weidman now aims to re-enter the middleweight rankings with a dominant win over a tough emerging contender.
Additional bouts on the card include:
• Maki Pitolo (12-5, fighting out of Mākaha, Hawaii) squares off with Darren Stewart (11-4 1NC, fighting out of London, England) in an exciting middleweight bout
• No. 8 ranked women's bantamweight contender and former women's featherweight title challenger Yana Kunitskaya (12-5 1NC, fighting out of Coconut Creek, FL by way of Saint Petersburg, Russia) meets debuting Julija Stoliarenko (9-3-1, fighting out of Kaunas, Lithuania)
• In a battle of rising lightweights, No. 14 ranked contender Beneil Dariush (18-4-1, fighting out of Yorba Linda, Calif.) takes on Scott Holtzman (14-3, fighting out of Knoxville, Tenn.)
• Tim Means (29-12-1 1NC, fighting out of Albuquerque, N.M.) makes his 22nd UFC appearance against Laureano Staropoli (9-2, fighting out of La Plata, Argentina)
• Nasrat Haqparast (11-3, fighting out of Hamburg, Germany) hopes to return to his winning ways when he faces undefeated Alex Munoz (6-0, fighting out of Sacramento, Calif.)
• Andrew Sanchez (12-5, fighting out of Montreal, Quebec, Canada) locks horns with Wellington Turman (16-3, fighting out of Curitiba, Brazil)
• Gavin Tucker (11-1, fighting out of Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada) meets Justin Jaynes (16-4, fighting out of Las Vegas, Nev.) in a clash of entertaining featherweights
• Youssef Zalal (9-2, fighting out of Englewood, Colo. by way of Casablanca, Morocco) aims to continue his momentum when he meets Peter Barrett (11-3, fighting out of Somerville, Mass.)
• Irwin Rivera (9-5, fighting out of Hudson Valley, N.Y. by way of Mexico City, Mexico) hopes to earn his first UFC victory when he takes on Ali Alqaisi (8-3, fighting out of Jordan)
The event will be closed to the public and will be produced with only essential personnel in attendance pursuant to a Health, Safety and Operations plan approved by the Nevada Athletic Commission.
UFC Fight Night on ESPN+: LEWIS vs. OLEINIK will take place Saturday, August 8 at UFC APEX in Las Vegas, with all fights carried exclusively on ESPN+ in English and Spanish. The main card begins at 9 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. PT on Saturday, August 8, with the prelims kicking off at 6 p.m. ET / 3 p.m. PT.
Source: Press Release