Heavyweights will collide this Saturday night at UFC Vegas 19 and we aren’t just talking about the main event. Oh, no, we are talking about the number ten-ranked Aleksei Oleinik and fast-rising prospect, Chris Daukaus. Now, we get it, the card is of course headlined by two of the baddest dudes on the planet in Curtis Blaydes and Derrick Lewis, but you can’t sleep on this very intriguing battle in the very same weight class. Join us as we break down each of these heavy hitters and their keys to victory!
Aleksei “The Boa Constrictor” Oleinik
The Boa Constrictor, dare I say, is the most fitting nickname in the entire UFC Heavyweight division. That is because he enters UFC Vegas 19 with a record of 59-14-1 (8-5 in the UFC), Aleksei has finished forty-six of those wins via submission. Yes, you read that correctly, FORTY-SIX submission victories. This number is truly unprecedented in modern mixed martial arts, yet Oleinik still finds a way to finish nearly every fight he is in by either choking his opponent to sleep or forcing them to tap.
With a near .500 record in the UFC, some may question just how good Aleksei really is, but don’t let the numbers fool you. Ever since he made his debut in the promotion back in 2014, Oleinik has faced the top of this weight class. Some of these bouts include wins over Travis Browne, Mark Hunt, and Maurice Greene. Oh, and you guessed it, all three of those wins came via submission. Also, a fun fact for you about Aleksei, he has pulled off the only two Ezekiel Chokes in UFC history. Hopefully that, along with videos of him squeezing a watermelon in half, put into perspective just how dangerous this man can be on the ground when he wraps his arms around you.
Of course, with these great wins, also comes tough losses. Oleinik has tasted defeat to both fighters in the UFC Vegas 19 main event, Derrick Lewis and Curtis Blaydes, both coming by way of TKO. With two additional losses coming via KO/TKO to Alistair Overeem, who just headlined UFC Vegas 18 two weeks ago, and Walt Harris. Again, as mentioned earlier, Aleksei’s UFC career has been no easy path, and I don’t think he would want it any other way.
Prior to his last outing against Lewis, Oleinik was on a two-fight win streak, with the ladder of the streak coming against former UFC Heavyweight champion, Fabricio Werdum. This was a drawn-out three-round war, where Oleinik was able to edge out the Split Decision victory. Looking to get back in the win column at UFC Vegas 19, Aleksei now finds himself returning to the octagon against a young up and comer, Chris Daukaus. While Daukaus may not have a number next to his name in the rankings just yet, he is hungry to earn it this weekend.
In recent years, there have not been too many fast-rising prospects in the Heavyweight division, however, at UFC Vegas 19 we get to see two of them on the same card. That being the clinical striker, Tom Aspinall, and the gentleman standing across the octagon from “The Boa Constrictor”, Chris Daukaus. While already thirty-one years old, the difference in professional fights in this bout is quite astonishing. Chris is entering the octagon this weekend with thirteen professional bouts, 10-3 overall (2-0 in the UFC). This pales in comparison to his opponent’s seventy-four pro fights. However, MMA isn’t always about the numbers, especially when someone carries the power like Daukaus.
Nine of Chris’s ten professional bouts have come by way of KO/TKO. Safe to say you probably don’t want to get hit by this fella. Daukaus made his debut with the UFC in August of last year at UFC 252, also headlined by some pretty good heavyweights if I do say so myself, but I digress. Chris looked great in his debut, finishing the very tough Parker Porter via first-round TKO. Following this, Daukaus made a quick return to the cage in his second UFC bout at UFC Fight Island 5 and picked up another first-round finish, this time by way of KO just forty-five seconds into the bout.
As a matter of fact, entering this fight on Saturday at UFC Vegas 19, Daukaus is riding three straight wins, all coming in the first round. I guess he likes to get in, collect the paycheck and get out. I respect it. However, this is by far going to be Chris’s toughest competition to date, in both name value, experience and everything in between. It is clear that the UFC believes in Daukaus, granting him a top-ten opponent in just his third bout with the promotion. So, will he be able to live up to the hype or will the Boa strike once again?
Aleksei Oleinik vs Chris Daukaus Breakdown
I can confidently say, without a shadow of a doubt, that Aleksei Oleinik will come into UFC Vegas 19 and attempt to do what he does best. Grapple, transition, grapple some more and then choke Chris’s lights out. Solid game plan I must say, but also easier said than done. Daukaus is one of the bigger heavyweights in the division, weighing near the limit of 265 pounds in both of his UFC bouts thus far. He will not be easy to take down for Aleksei and if Chris can manage to defend just a couple takedown attempts, he may be able to tire his opponent rather quickly.
On the other hand, as just mentioned, Chris will look to defend the takedown at all costs. No one wants to go to the ground with Oleinik and if they say otherwise it may be a lie. There are so many risks involved when grappling with Aleksei that even having a solid wrestling and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu game still may not be enough to fend off his heavy submission style pressure. If Chris can keep this fight standing, I do lean heavily in his favor. Oleinik can hit hard, as can anyone in the heavyweight division, but at the end of the day I believe Chris hits just a tad bit harder.
So, will Aleksei land the takedowns? Will Daukaus manage to keep the fight standing? I am leaning toward the crafty vet to do what he does best at UFC Vegas 19. Not to say that Daukaus cannot prove me wrong, but I feel this is a very large jump for Chris and he may be biting off more than he can chew. Oleinik will land the takedowns and work very hard for the submissions and ground control, eventually wearing down Daukaus. Thus creating the openings for the finishing submission to get sunk in by Oleinik, but not after Chris gives it his all trying to fend Aleksei off.
UFC Vegas 19: Aleksei Oleinik vs Chris Daukaus Prediction: Aleksei Oleinik via Submission in the Second Round
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