One week before the UFC’s heavyweight title trilogy will be decided, a new divisional contender will emerge. And that fight is now official.
Derrick Lewis (265 pounds) and Aleksei Oleinik (227) both weighed in successfully Friday morning in Las Vegas. The two men will meet in the UFC Fight Night headliner Saturday at the UFC Apex, the facility across the street from the UFC’s Las Vegas corporate campus.
The Lewis vs. Oleinik winner will gain considerable ground in the UFC heavyweight pecking order. On Aug. 15, champion Stipe Miocic and former champ Daniel Cormier will have their third fight, with Cormier planning to retire afterward.
Lewis (23-7, 1 NC) has won two straight and five of his last seven. The Houston resident is ranked No. 6 among MMA heavyweights in the world by ESPN. Lewis, 35, is tied with Cain Velasquez and Junior dos Santos for the most KO/TKOs in UFC heavyweight history (10).
Oleinik (59-13-1) has won two in a row and four of his last six. The Ukraine native, who lives and trains in Florida, is a grappling master with 46 wins by submission in his 24-year career. Earlier this year, the 43-year-old Oleinik became the first UFC fighter to compete — and win — in MMA in each of the last four decades.
Two fighters on Saturday’s card missed weight.
Beneil Dariush weighed in at 158 pounds, 2 pounds over the 156-pound, non-title lightweight limit. He will be fined 20% of his purse, which goes to opponent Scott Holtzman, and the scheduled bout will go on.
Both Tim Means and Laureano Staropoli — who are fighting each other — came in over the 171-pound, non-title welterweight limit on their first attempts. Staropoli weighed 174.5 pounds. Means weighed 172.5 pounds on his first attempt but decided to continue cutting weight with an hour given to make it. On his final attempt, Means hit the mark at 171 pounds. The bout will go on with Staropoli forfeiting 20% of his purse to Means.