UFC Fight Night 174 Betting Preview

Derrick Lewis vs Aleksei Oleinik UFC

On Saturday, August 8th, the UFC will be live from its APEX venue in Las Vegas for UFC on ESPN+ 32: Lewis vs Oleinik. This event is also known as UFC Vegas 6 and UFC Fight Night 174. It features a top ranked heavyweight battle between Derrick Lewis and Aleksei Oleinik.

The main card consists of five bouts including a co-featured bout between Omari Akhmedov and Chris Weidman. This portion of the event is set to begin at 9PM ET on ESPN+. A seven fight preliminary card will begin at 6PM ET.

UFC betting sites have released a full slate of betting odds for this event. Let’s step inside the octagon to check out these UFC on ESPN+ 32 odds, identify any value or upsets, and hit these betting predictions like a Jorge Masvidal flying knee.

Beneil Dariush vs Scott Holtzman

  • Beneil Dariush (-185)
  • Scott Holtzman (+160)
  • Over (-115)/Under (-105) 2.5 rounds

For the unranked Scott Holtzman, he has a chance this weekend to turn some heads and make a big step towards the Top 15 with a win. Holtzman is 5-1 in his last six fights, 7-3 in the UFC and on a two fight winning streak. He last competed in February and defeated Jim Miller via unanimous decision.

Seven of his 14 pro wins have come via stoppage with five by way of TKO/KO. He’s 7-3 when going the distance.

For Beneil Dariush, this wasn’t the fight he wanted. He had to settle for it with the hopes of moving up in the lightweight rankings to get a bigger fight next time out. Ranked 14th, Dariush was trying to secure another Top 15 opponent, but to no avail.

Although he’s disappointed, Dariush isn’t looking past Holtzman. He feels that his opponent is tough and respects him. However, Dariush believes he will win this fight and might be able to get the stoppage along the way:

“I have a big advantage on the ground. But, from what I’ve seen I also have an advantage in the striking. I’m not in a hurry to do either, my game plan is to be comfortable out there. He has never been finished and has fought good grapplers. I’m not thinking I can take him down and submit him right away. I would be foolish if I think that. It may be similar to the fight with Drakkar Klose and it might turn into a brawl. I have to be ready for it all.”

The win over Drakkar Klose in March was a statement victory as Dariush won via 2nd round knockout. It was his 4th win in a row and bumped his UFC record up to 12-4-1. Over the las two years, Dariush has come into his own and is a dangerous fighter in the division.

12 of his 18 pro wins have come via stoppage with eight via submission. He’s 6-0-1 when going the full three rounds.

As Dariush mentioned, he does have the advantage on the mat. He also is one inch taller with a three inch reach advantage.

This is going to be an exciting matchup because Holtzman pushes a high pace and is aggressive. He’s solid upright and on the mat, which will prove to be challenging for Dariush to find the finish.

I believe Dariush will win this contest, but it will be via decision (-110). 10 of Holtzman’s 17 pro fights have gone the distance. He’s never been stopped as all three of his losses were via decision. Furthermore, Dariush has never lost via decision in seven trips to the judges.

Take the Over 2.5 rounds (-115) in this one as well. Fight starting round 3 (-140) is a decent option if you don’t feel comfortable picking a winner. This fight will set the tone for the entire main card action. I also believe it has potential to earn a fight night bonus.

Beneil Dariush vs Scott Holtzman –Dariush (-185)

Over 2.5 rounds (-115)

Fight goes the distance (-110)

Fight starts round 3 (-140

Dariush wins via decision (+295)

Julia Stoliarenko vs Yana Kunitskaya

  • Julia Stoliarenko (+190)
  • Yana Kunitskaya (-230)
  • Over (-190)/Under (+165) 2.5 rounds

This bout was originally scheduled to be Ketlen Viera versus Yana Kunitskaya. However, Viera withdrew for undisclosed reasons. Ironically, that matchup was pushed back from August 1st to this weekend. However, Viera withdrew last week and Stoliarenko stepped up on a week’s notice.

The unranked Julia Stoliarenko will make her return to the octagon having last competed at The Ultimate Fighter 28 Finale. She lost that night via split decision. Since then, the Lithuanian has won five straight contests.

Eight of her nine pro wins have come via submission. She’s 1-1-2 when going the distance in a fight. Stoliarenko last competed in March and won via split decision in Invicta FC.

The 8th ranked Yana Kunitskaya last competed in December and lost via 3rd round TKO to Aspen Ladd. The loss snapped a two fight win streak. She’s 2-2 inside the octagon. Both of her losses have come from tough competition as she was beaten by Cyborg in her UFC debut.

Eight of her 12 pro wins have come via stoppage with seven by way of TKO/KO. She’s 4-1 when going the distance.

Kunitskaya doesn’t do well against aggressive strikers like Ladd and Cyborg. Fortunately, her opponent this weekend isn’t on that level. Instead, Stoliarenko is a grappler that could force Yana to tap out if she makes a mistake on the ground.

I think the odds are a little skewed on this one as Kunitskaya is slightly overvalued. I feel Stoliarenko is worthy of a small flier in a potential upset. With that said, play it safe in this fight and go with the Russian to win via decision.

Julia Stoliarenko vs Yana Kunitskaya –Kunitskaya (-230)

Over 2.5 rounds (-190)

Fight goes the distance (-170)

Kunitskaya wins via decision (-110)

Darren Stewart vs Maki Pitolo

  • Darren Stewart (-155)
  • Maki Pitolo (+135)
  • Over (+110)/Under (-130) 2.5 rounds

Maki Pitolo enters this contest as the underdog having gone 1-1 in the UFC. He dropped his octagon debut 10 months ago, but bounced back with a solid win in June when he defeated Charles Byrd via 2nd round TKO. Pitolo is 4-1 in his last five fights, which spanned three different promotions.

10 of his 13 pro wins have come via stoppage with seven by way of TKO/KO. The Hawaiian is 3-1 when going the distance.

Darren Stewart last competed in March and lost via unanimous decision to Bartosz Fabinksi. This fight took place in Cage Warriors instead of the UFC due to the pandemic forcing the promotion to cancel their London event. Stewart is 2-1 in his last three fights and 4-4 inside the octagon.

Seven of his 11 pro wins have come via TKO/KO. The British fighter is 4-3 when going to the scorecards.

This fight promises to be a striking battle as both men, especially Stewart, like to wage war with their fists. However, Pitolo does have the advantage on the mat with three submission wins. And, Stewart has suffered two defeats via submission.

Pitolo has suffered two TKO losses in his career, so that does give me some concern. But, when comparing these fighters’ last bouts, Pitolo looked better.

I think Pitolo has more paths to victory and I’m going to take him to get the upset win on Saturday. The struggle is how or when will this fight finish. I’m going to play it safe and say this fight will go the distance (+125) and Over 2.5 rounds (+110).

Stewart has gone to a decision in four straight fights. He’s never been stopped via TKO/KO and if he wins this contest it will be via decision. Pitolo has a shot at the submission win, but a decision outcome seems like the safe play for this close contest.

My favorite wager for this bout is the fight starting round 3 (-120). Pitolo has gone to the final round in two of his last four fights and Stewart has hit that mark in four straight contests.

Darren Stewart vs Maki Pitolo –Pitolo (+135)

Over 2.5 rounds (+110)

Fight goes the distance (+125)

Pitolo wins via decision (+375)

Fight starts round 3 (-120)

Omari Akhmedov vs Chris Weidman

  • Omari Akhmedov (+115)
  • Chris Weidman (-135)
  • Over (-125)/Under (+105) 2.5 rounds

No other fighter at UFC on ESPN+ 32 is under more pressure to win than Chris Weidman. Not only is he facing the #11 ranked middleweight Omari Akhmedov, but he’s also lost five of his last six fights and all via TKO/KO.

Weidman recognizes this pressure and knows that he needs to get the win:

“I need to get a freaking ‘W.’ I need to get back on my winning ways. I think I have a lot of advantages in this fight but when you’re in there, you never know what’s going to happen. I’m taking it very serious. He’s tough but when I look at the guys I’ve fought, I don’t think he’s up there as far as the most talented. I think that’s a fair statement without knocking him.”

For the former top dog in the middleweight division, Weidman hasn’t won in three years when he defeated Gastelum via submission. He last competed 10 months ago in the light heavyweight division and was crushed by Dominick Reyes via 1st round KO.

Weidman’s chin is the biggest question mark at this stage of his career. And, make no mistake about it, he is fighting for his UFC career. 10 of his 14 pro wins have come via stoppage with six by way of TKO/KO. He’s 4-0 when going the distance.

Omari Akhmedov has been on a nice run as of late going 5-0-1 in his last six fights. He currently sits 8-3-1 in the UFC and last fought in December where he defeated Ian Heinisch via unanimous decision.

Akhmedov is world class when it comes to sambo and a very strong grappler. That should nullify Weidman’s All-American wrestling background. In fact, many pundits believe Akhmedov has the advantage on the mat.

12 of his 20 pro wins have come via stoppage with seven by way of TKO/KO. He’s 8-1 when going the distance.

Fortunately for Weidman, he doesn’t have to worry about getting knocked out as Akhmedov isn’t on the same level as past knockout artists like Romero, Reyes and Rockhold.

This is it, Weidman’s last chance to save his career. He needs to push the pace and pick apart Akhmedov to win this fight. And guess what folks, I am going with the sentimental choice here and taking Weidman to win.

I see Weidman defending the takedowns, using range, pushing the pace and being smart with his striking. Eventually, he will stop Akhmedov late in the fight after the Russian loses steam. Weidman has gone the distance once in the last eight years.

This contest should make it to the 3rd round (-150), but that’s where Weidman will end things. When betting on this MMA fight, I would avoid the O/U for this one. The Under 2.5 rounds has more value at +105 odds.

Two of Akhmedov’s four losses have come via TKO/KO. I see Weidman adding a third one to the Russian’s resume.

Omari Akhmedov vs Chris Weidman –Weidman (-135)

Under 2.5 rounds (+105)

Fight doesn’t go the distance (-125)

Weidman wins inside the distance (+295)

Weidman wins via TKO/KO (+590)

Derrick Lewis vs Aleksei Oleinik

  • Derrick Lewis (-200)
  • Aleksei Oleinik (+170)
  • Over (-115)/Under (-105) 1.5 rounds

The main event of the evening is a Top 10 heavyweight showdown between the #4 ranked Derrick Lewis and the 10th ranked Aleksei Oleinik. This is also a clash of styles as Lewis is a power striker and Oleinik is a submission master.

Aleksei Oleinik rides a two fight win streak into this bout having last fought in May where he defeated Fabricio Werdum via split decision. He also fought in January and defeated Maurice Greene via submission.

Oleinik made his octagon debut six years ago and has posted an 8-4 record with the UFC. His last three losses have come via TKO/KO and to powerful strikers like Walt Harris, Alistair Overeem and Curtis Blaydes. Yet, that didn’t deter him from asking the UFC for this fight:

“Derrick Lewis is a big guy and has a big name. He is very high in top rankings. He is a cool guy and it is a good fight for me. I want cool names, that is my goal, I don’t need easy fights, easy opponents. I only ask for big names.”

Oleinik hopes this contest doesn’t go the full five rounds. He will be looking for the finish if possible. 54 of his 59 pro wins have come via stoppage with 46 by way of submission. He’s 5-4-1 when going the distance.

Derrick Lewis also comes in on a two fight win streak. He last competed in February and won via unanimous decision over Ilir Latifi. He’s also been with the UFC since 2014 and has 14-5 record inside the octagon.

18 of his 23 pro wins have come via TKO/KO. He’s 4-2 when going the distance. His last two bouts have gone to the judges.

If Lewis doesn’t finish this fight off in the first two minutes of the opening round then it has the potential to go at least into second and probably into the third round as well. Neither man has gone into the 5th round of a fight, but Lewis did go to the 4th round once.

I really don’t want to pick a winner for this fight as I feel the clash of styles makes it harder to choose than what the betting odds indicate. Lewis is the safe play, but Oleinik can take a beating and pull out the submission in any round.

The Over/Under is set at 1.5 rounds and is pretty close to even in odds. I’m going with Over 1.5 rounds (-115) as Lewis didn’t impress me at all in his last two fights. Oddsmakers heavily favor this fight ending inside the distance at -675 odds.

There’s some juicy odds for the fight starting round 3 at +155. Yet, I suggest being cautious considering how quickly both men can end this fight.

The outcome of this fight will come down to either a TKO/KO win by Lewis or a submission win by Oleinik. Can the 43 year old eat enough shots in order to get Lewis to the mat?

Harris and Overeem made Oleinik look like a rag doll last year. I have a hard time putting my confidence in him against a man who has 10 TKO/KO wins in the UFC’s heavyweight division.

I’ve literally argued with myself on who to take for this contest. With so much conflict on who to pick, it’s best to play it safe and go with Lewis to win via TKO/KO.

Maybe if this fight ends quickly, we can see Blaydes vs Lewis to get the next title shot after Ngannou.

Derrick Lewis vs Aleksei Oleinik –Lewis (-200)

Over 1.5 rounds (-115)

Fight ends inside the distance (-675)

Lewis wins inside the distance (-140)

Lewis wins via TKO/KO (-145)

Favorite Value Bets for the Main Card of UFC on ESPN+ 32

The following wagers are my favorite value plays for the main card of UFC on ESPN+ 32:

Dariush vs Holtzman: Fight Starts Round 3 (-140)

There are several good betting options for this bout. The safest one, outside of Dariush winning, is that this contest will go at least into the 3rd round. I happen to believe it will go the distance, but for value and safety, the 3rd round is almost a lock.

The Over/Under is set at 2.5 rounds with the Over favored at -115 odds. 10 of Holtzman’s 17 fights have gone the distance. He’s never been stopped before. Let’s give him some credit here that he will make it until at least the 3rd round against a dangerous opponent.

Weidman vs Akhmedov: Fight Doesn’t Go the Distance (-125)

Weidman has gone the distance in one fight in the last eight years. Seven straight contests have ended inside the distance. Furthermore, he’s either going to come out and light up Akhmedov’s chin in the striking department or he’s going to get stopped from a powerful show.

Either way, I just don’t see this fight going the full three rounds. If Weidman’s chin holds up, his pace and pressure will cause Akhmedov to fade late in the fight.

Longshot Play of the Night: Oleinik Wins via Submission

My favorite longshot play on the night is Alexei Oleinik to win via submission at +245 odds. If he can withstand the early pressure from Lewis, the 43 year old Russian will have a great chance at winning.

Lewis has questionable cardio and is terrible on the mat. If Oleinik can get Lewis on the mat, this fight will be over with. Although I’m taking the safe play and going with Lewis to win via TKO/KO, this prop bet is worthy of a small flier.

Rick Rockwell

As a longtime freelance writer, avid sports fan, former athlete, and experienced sports bettor, Rick Rockwell has risen up the ranks at GamblingSites.org to become the self-professed “King of the Blog” in his first year with the site. …

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