In the 75th fight of his professional career, Aleksey Oleinik will take on Chris Daukaus in a battle of gatekeeper vs. rising prospect. Oleinik’s 46th career submission was also his sixth in the UFC, placing him at second in heavyweight history behind Frank Mir.
Twelve years younger than Oleinik is Chris Daukaus, who comes into this fight with a professional record of 11-3. Ten of his wins have been knockouts, including both of his UFC wins. He has yet to lose in the UFC octagon, but faces possibly his toughest challenge yet in Oleinik.
Oleinik has finished 54 of his 59 career wins, with 46 submissions. He is an extremely advanced grappler who can finish fights from a variety of awkward positions.
On his feet, Oleinik throws bombs only. He sets up his hooks well with his head movement, but he prefers to move forward into his punches. There aren’t very many setups, he is very much just winging punches.
Daukaus is a patient, accurate striker with excellent boxing combinations. He’s a big body, he has quick hands, and he throws with both precision and power. His boxing is clean, tight and technical, but free-flowing and rhythmic. He can lead his combos with either hand and he demonstrates great footwork.
He has done some solid work in the clinch but is looking to control position in these scenarios more than he is looking to do damage. He times some excellent knees entering and exiting the clinch and, like his hooks and straight punches, the knees are very accurate.
Daukaus isnt naturally a grappler but he does have decent grappling ability. This fight, however, is not the time to test those skills, especially considering that his gas tank is a serious concern. He has been worn out in grappling-heavy fights before, which has led to two of his losses.
I think that, for Oleinik to win this fight, it’ll have to be by submission. I also don’t think he’ll get the chance to, despite his advanced grappling credentials. He had clear opportunities to submit Derrick Lewis, and was unable to finish. Daukaus is a much better and more intelligent grappler than Lewis, so I find it hard to believe that he’ll find himself in those same positions against Oleinik.
The striking matchup, despite the four-inch reach advantage for Oleinik, will likely be in Daukaus’ favor. He’s a far cleaner and more technical boxer with more tools to use and much faster hands. His footwork is far superior to that of Oleinik, and Daukaus will probably piece Oleinik up for a while before finding a knockout.
When this line first came out, I thought Oleinik might be worth a look as an underdog, being that he hasn’t seemed to take too many steps backwards in his recent fights despite being 43-years-old. Upon a deeper dive, there really isn’t much that inspires confidence about Oleinik’s last five fights. The knockout losses to Derrick Lewis, Walt Harris and Alistair Overeem prove that Oleinik can no longer hang around with top-ten caliber strikers in this division anymore.
That being said, we still don’t know if that’s the level of striking that Daukaus possesses, because he hasn’t been tested at that level yet. My inclination is that, at this moment, Daukaus isn’t quite at that level yet but he’s damn close.
Oleinik’s wins over Maurice Greene and Fabricio Werdum mean almost nothing to me in terms of this matchup. With all due respect to the Crochet Boss, he isn’t on the same level as either Daukaus nor Oleinik. The win over Werdum was a split decision that could have gone either way. Werdum is also the same age as Oleinik and was on a two-year hiatus before that fight.
I’m confident that Daukaus will pick Oleinik apart with precision striking and footwork. The athleticism he possesses will be too much for Oleinik to handle and, when Oleinik tries to get the fight to the ground, he will either succeed and gas himself out hunting for a submission, or he’ll get stuffed and take one or more of Daukaus’ signature knees to the chin.