On Saturday night, UFC will present a 12-fight card featuring a heavyweight main event between Derrick Lewis and Alexey Oleinik. Here’s a preview of the show, which is taking place without a crowd from the UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Preliminary Card (6:00PM EDT / 3:00PM PDT) (ESPN+ / TSN 5)
Bout 1: Ali Alqasi (8-3) vs. Irwin Rivera (9-5) (Bantamweight)
Kicking off the preliminary card, Ali Alqasi and Irwin Rivera will look for their first wins in the UFC. Rivera made his UFC debut in May, stepping in on short notice to fight Giga Chikadze. Losing the bout via decision, Chikadze broke Rivera’s three-fight winning streak that he obtained in regional promotion Titan FC. He now faces Alqasi, who will be making his own UFC debut. Alqasi comes into the promotion after a strong run in Brave CF, picking up three consecutive wins, two of which were in the bantamweight division.
Bout 2: Youssef Zalal (9-2) vs. Peter Barrett (11-3) (Featherweight)
Finally making his UFC debut, Peter Barrett has a tough challenge in Youssef Zalal on the prelims. Barrett was brought into the UFC last summer, getting signed after a performance on TV series “Dana White’s Contender Series.” Unfortunately, his first two bookings in the UFC fell through. He now faces Zalal, who has won his first two fights in the promotion. Zalal is coming off of a short absence, having last competed on a show in late June.
Bout 3: Justin Jaynes (16-4) vs. Gavin Tucker (11-1) (Featherweight)
After a quick and successful debut last June, Justin Jaynes returns to the octagon versus Gavin Tucker. Jaynes got his UFC debut on short notice, replacing Matt Frevola in a bout against Frank Camacho. Finishing Camacho in under a minute, Jaynes proved he has worth in the UFC. He now faces Tucker, who has fought three times before in the UFC. He came off of a loss in his last bout, defeating Seung Woo Choi at UFC 240.
Bout 4: Andrew Sanchez (11-5) vs. Wellington Turman (16-3) (Middleweight)
Middleweights Andrew Sanchez and Wellington Turman will make their first appearances of 2020 on the prelims. Sanchez last fought in October, losing a scorecard bout to Marvin Vettori. Before then he had two decision wins. Turman’s last fight was his second in the UFC and was also his first win in the promotion. Via unanimous decision, Turman got a victory over Markus Perez.
Bout 5: Nasrat Haqparast (11-3) vs. Alex Munoz (6-0) (Lightweight)
Making his UFC debut, Alex Munoz will be matched with Nasrat Haqparast. Haqparast’s last fight was in January, being stopped in the second minute of competition against Drew Dober. The loss ended a three-fight winning streak that he had in the UFC before.
Munoz fought on the second season of “Dana White’s Contender Series.” Despite winning his fight, Munoz was the only member of the episode who did not get signed by the UFC. After a 2019 win on the regional scene, Munoz was given the call to join the UFC. His debut fight was meant to come in February against Luis Pena, however, injury prevented the matchup.
Bout 6: Kevin Holland (17-5) vs. Joaquin Buckley (10-2) (MIddleweight)
At last week’s UFC show, Kevin Holland was meant to face Trevin Giles. At the very last minute, however, that fight was thrown out due to Giles fainting backstage. Holland was able to stick around for a week, and was found a new opponent in Joaquin Buckley for Saturday’s card.
Buckley took this fight on short notice, with his last fight being on July 31st, where he defeated Jackie Gosh on an LFA card. Buckley has been at a high level of MMA for a while, having competed in Bellator five times from 2016 to 2018.
Holland will look for his second win in 2020, as he stopped Anthony Hernandez in under a minute in May.
Bout 7: Tim Means (29-12-1) vs. Laureano Staropoli (9-2) (Catchweight 174.5 lbs)
The final preliminary bout sees Laureano Staropoli get matched with the much more experienced Tim Means. Means has lost three of his last five fights, including his last bout, which was a loss to Daniel Rodriguez in February.
Staropoli had a strong start in the UFC, getting decision wins over Hector Aldana and Thiago Alves. In October, however, he took his first UFC loss, not being chosen on scorecards over Muslim Salikhov.
This bout had weigh-in issues on Friday, as both fighters missed weight upon the first attempt. Means was able to get down to 171, the limit for non-championship welterweight bouts, although Staropoli stopped at 174.5 pounds. Because of this, Staropoli gave 20 percent of his fight purse to Means.
Main Card (9:00PM EDT / 6:00PM PDT) (ESPN+ / TSN5)
Bout 8: Beneil Dariush (18-4-1) vs. Scott Holtzman (14-3) (Catchweight 158 lbs)
Kicking off the main card, Beneil Dariush and Scott Holtzman will battle. Dariush comes into the fight on a strong four-fight winning streak. His last fight was a finish win over Drakkar Klose, a fight that saw both fighters hurt each other badly with punches before the finish went Dariush’s way.
Holtzman, a fighter who has competed in the UFC since 2015, will look to tie his previous winning streak if he wins on Saturday. He had three consecutive since in a 2017 and 2018 run, although that was broken in an early 2019 bout versus Nik Lentz. He has since gotten two wins, with the most recent being a February victory over Jim Miller.
Dariush missed weight for the fight, coming in two pounds over the non-championship lightweight limit. Due to this, Dariush gave 20 percent of his fight purse to Holtzman.
Bout 9: Yana Kunitskaya (12-5) vs. Julija Stoliarenko (9-3-1) (Bantamweight)
Making her UFC debut, Julija Stoliarenko will be matched with Yana Kunitskaya on the main card. Stoliarenko’s last fight was a win in March, claiming the vacant Invicta FC Bantamweight Championship. Kunitskaya will be a tough opponent, as she looks to bounce back from a December loss she took to Aspen Ladd. Kunitskaya was set to face Ketlen Vieira first, however plans changed after Vieira withdrew.
Bout 10: Darren Stewart (11-5) vs. Maki Pitolo (13-5) (Middleweight)
After getting his first UFC win in June, Maki Pitolo returns to face Darren Stewart on Saturday. Pitolo, a fighter who was signed through “Dana White’s Contender Series” in 2019, made his UFC debut in the Fall. Losing to Callan Potter, he got back in the win column two months ago by finishing Charles Byrd in the second round.
Stewart last fought in March, losing to Bartosz Fabinski. The fight was a weird one, as due to COVID-19 it was moved from a UFC card to a Cage Warriors card that was set to happen on the previous day. Before the loss, Stewart had two decision wins in the UFC.
Bout 11: Chris Weidman (14-5) vs. Omari Akhmedov (20-4-1) (Middleweight)
Hoping to continue his streak of wins, Omari Akhmedov will face Chris Weidman on Saturday. Akhmedov hasn’t lost since 2016, having won five bouts and tied another since then. Akhmedov is not a finisher, as all of those fights were via decision.
Weidman has still struggled to get back into a groove after his 2013 to 2015 UFC Middleweight Championship run. Since he lost the belt to Luke Rockhold in 2015, Weidman has lost four bouts and won one. His previous fight came against Dominick Reyes, who finished him last October. Before COVID-19, Weidman was scheduled to face Jack Hermansson on a May card.
Bout 12: Derrick Lewis (23-7) vs. Alexey Oleinik (59-13-1) (Heavyweight)
Searching for his 60th win in professional MMA, Alexey Oleinik is set to fight a five-round fight against Derrick Lewis on Saturday night’s main event. Oleinik won his last two fights, defeating Maurice Greene and Fabricio Werdum earlier in 2020. Before then, he had two stoppage losses, dropping to Alistair Overeem and Walt Harris in 2019.
Lewis has a similar pattern of fights recently, with his last two being wins that made up for two losses before. The more recent of the wins came in February, where he defeated Ilir Latifi, who was making the move up from light heavyweight.