Aleksei Oleinik (+188) vs. Sergei Spivack (-225)
Weight Class: Heavyweight (265 lbs)
Aleksei Oleinik made his professional debut just two months after I was born in 1996. Not only is he still fighting, but if Oleinik is able to pull off the upset over Sergei Spivack at UFC Vegas 29, it will mark 60 career wins for “The Boa Constrictor.”
Known as one of the UFC’s most lethal submission threats, Oleinik became the first MMA fighter to secure a submission in four separate decades when he secured an armbar on Maurice Greene in January of 2020. He then extended his winning streak to two with a decision victory over another heavyweight legend in Fabricio Werdum. Granted, Werdum’s best days are behind him, but it was still a solid win that Oleinik spring-boarded into a main event.
Since then, however, his chin has looked suspect. He was predictably KO’d by Derrick Lewis in that main event last August and was then knocked out again by ascending heavyweight prospect Chris Daukaus. Neither loss was “bad” so to speak, seeing as how both Daukaus and Lewis are knockout artists. But the way Oleinik went down was troubling. He doesn’t seem to be wearing shots well, and for a guy who will be 44 next week, you have to wonder when father time will eventually outpace heart.
With that said, Oleinik is always dangerous off his back. He can secure submissions from anywhere and if the fight gets to the ground, well, they call him “The Boa Constrictor” for a reason.
This transitions us into Sergei Spivak’s game, which is quite wrestling-heavy. The Moldovan has picked up some solid UFC wins over Carlos Felipe, Tai Tuivasa and Jared Vanderaa, using his wrestling in all three. Against most heavyweights, Spivak is relentless with top control. He also has very concise but powerful ground-and-pound, as well as short elbows, that do a-lot of damage. They’re very measured so he doesn’t gas and his wrestling pressure tends to tire guys out.
Ultimately, Spivak has to be the pick on paper. Oleinik is a beast, I would love to see him get 60 wins, but I do think Spivak has the power to put him out. Oleinik’s striking is quite loopy and really only serves to help him get in close and look for body-lock takedowns, but because it’s so wild, it can be a bit deceptive. Spivak is quite measured on the feet, however. He has a very crisp jab which can be a huge asset at higher weight classes where volume is tougher to generate. I could certainly see Spivak ending this fight on the feet even though he’s a ground fighter.
From a betting perspective, I’m probably going to stay away here. I do think Spivak wins this fight eight times out of ten, but Aleksei Oleinik is always coming up with victories when he’s supposed to be toast. Yes, I do think the deck is starting to stack against his chances of pulling off another upset, but it’s scary to rely on a guy who is known for being able to power wrestle his opponents against a guy like Oleinik.
The knockout prop odds for Spivak are quite hefty as well. He probably does get the KO, but I don’t feel like betting it at (-140). Spivak round one KO sits at (+180), which has more value for sure, but I still don’t love that for a method and round prop. So ultimately I do think Spivac wins this fight, he could easily get a quick finish with elbows, but I just don’t see the value in betting it.
Check out the video below for a more detailed analysis.
Prediction: Sergei Spivac
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