UFC Vegas 29 is upon us this Saturday night, a card that you can watch on ESPN+ and ESPN2 (inside the United States, check your local listings elsewhere), [the parent ESPN channel will begin its coverage of the College World Series on Saturday]. It"s a 12-fight MMA card, including the UFC Vegas 29 co-main attraction.
In the UFC Vegas 29 co-main on Saturday, it’ll be a battle of the heavyweights as No. 15 contender Aleksei Oleinik (59-15-1) makes his 76th career MMA appearance against unranked Serghei Spivac (12-2). This UFC Vegas 29 co-main event will be a maximum of three rounds at five minutes per round.
For Oleinik, the co-main event is a battle to stay inside the rankings at 265 lbs.
Heading into the co-main on Saturday night from the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Serghei Spivac is the taller man, standing 6-foot-3, with Aleksei Oleinik standing 6-foot-2.
Additionally, the 15th-ranked Oleinik owns a two-inch reach advantage (80 inches to 78 inches) and a one-inch leg reach advantage (45 inches to 44 inches) over Spivac going into Saturday night’s UFC Vegas 29 co-main attraction.
Oleinik Driven by UFC Vegas 29 Co-Main Fight
Although Oleinik enters the UFC Vegas 29 co-main event on Saturday night on a 2-3 mark over his last five fights, having dropped two fights in succession, he’s still driven by the fight within himself, and he has no plans of slowing down, mentioning in an interview with UFC.com last year:
“I am not 43 years old, I am 43 years young. There are no secrets– it’s all my will and my regimen and I’ve never broken my regimen. I never give up and I just keep going and going.”
Oleinik’s last fight resulted in a first-round TKO at the hands of Chris Daukaus during UFC Vegas 19 from the selfsame UFC Apex last February.
Spivac’s Intensity Could Bode Well for Him
In the other corner, Serghei Spivac enters Saturday night’s bout looking to break into the top-15 at 265, having posted a record of 3-2 in his first five career UFC bouts, including a current two-fight winning streak, having knocked out Jared Vanderaa during UFC Vegas 19 from the Apex back in February.
This fight was a makegood of a withdrawn bout from last December’s UFC 256, a fight postponed amid a positive COVID-19 test from the latter, ahead of the Dec. 12, 2020 date.
It was his 12th career MMA win, as well as his 11th career victory by stoppage, accounting for a stoppage rate of 91.6 percent.
As previously mentioned, Serghei Spivac enters the co-headlining bout at UFC Vegas 29 on Saturday night, having stopped his opponents in 11 of his 12 career MMA bouts.
With his orthodox fighting stance, this could bode well for him, as he can effectively control where and how the fight goes on Saturday.
If Spivac is able to score with a flurry of punches and knock Oleinik down, he could pounce on him and take the top position and continue the onslaught with ground and pound shots to score the knockout that way, or he could try to accumulate ride time and advance on a submission hold to get Oleinik to tap and nap this Saturday night inside the UFC Apex.
Oleinik’s Grappling Could Be Critical Key in Fight
However, it’s important to note here that Aleksei Oleinik is a fourth-degree black belt in jiu-jitsu, a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, and an International Master of Sports in combat sambo fighting in his native Russia.
He’s more than capable of hunting for and landing the submission in the cage, something that he’s accomplished a staggering 46 times in his 75-fight MMA career.
If he’s able to take Spivac down in the co-main attraction during UFC Vegas 29 on Saturday night and secure top position, or even reverse the script and reverse a Spivac takedown attempt, it could be all the leverage that he needs to get his 56th career MMA win.
Another key factor that could hinder Oleinik is the age differential between him and Spivac on Saturday night at UFC Vegas 29.
Aleksei Oleinik is just days away from celebrating his 44th birthday and has been in combat sports off and on since 1996, when he was just 19 years of age, making his MMA debut when his opponent was less than two years old.
Knowing all of this, the question of “how much more does Aleksei Oleinik have left in the tank?” is going to be a valid one coming into this bout, especially considering that he has been at this for nearly 25 years of his life.
Comparatively, Serghei Spivac is 26 years of age and has been fighting in mixed martial arts since September of 2014, when he was 19 himself.
Oleinik vs. Spivac could very well be a changing of the guard in the sport of MMA, as it features two men at a crossroads in their careers, Oleinik in the twilight of his MMA life and Spivac just really starting (this will be his 15th professional fight) in Vegas.
If heavyweight fights in combat sports have taught us anything, it’s this one constant:
These fights can end with as little as one single shot. The only question is whether or not the UFC Vegas 29 co-main will be an example of this rule, as opposed to an exception.
With everything considered, you can expect action of the highest order in the UFC Vegas 29 co-main event on Saturday night. This could be one of those fights where if you look away from your television screen or laptop computer/ mobile device for a bite to eat, you could miss something truly incredible.
Make sure to make your fridge run before the UFC Vegas 29 co-main event. This fight is something that you at home are not going to want to miss.
Prediction: Serghei Spivac by Second Round TKO.
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