LAS VEGAS — A large percentage of the UFC roster, both male and female, weren’t born when Aleksei Oleinik made his professional mixed martial arts debut by winning three fights in the same night on Nov. 10, 1996, in Ukraine.
Bill Clinton had just been elected to a second term as the U.S. president. Donald Trump was married to Marla Maples. Derek Jeter had just finished his first full season with the New York Yankees, helping the Bronx Bombers to a World Series championship.
Oleinik was 19 and starting out on what would turn out be a remarkable career. On Saturday, when he makes the walk to the Octagon to face Derrick Lewis in the main event of UFC Vegas 6 at Apex, it will be his 74th bout. He’ll be looking for his 60th victory.
He’ll also be looking for his 47th submission, a remarkable total given that no current UFC champion has more fights than Jon Jones and Khabib Nurmagomedov, who are each tied at 28.
He says he wants to fight seven or 10 more years, and if he does that, he could exceed 100 fights, a total that precious few elite fighters ever come close to having.
He’s not, however, motivated by that.
“I could fight 20 more or I could fight one more,” he said. “Who knows? This could be the last, so always do [your] best.”
Oleinik is 43 now, though with his graying hair he could pass for at least 50. But he’s ranked 10th in the UFC heavyweight division and is coming off of a split decision victory over ex-champion Fabricio Werdum.
At the MGM Grand Sports Book, Lewis is -205. Oleinik seems like a bargain at +165.
Lewis has a big edge on his feet, but Oleinik has an even larger advantage in grappling. Lewis has insisted he’s in the best shape he’s been in and said he has a newfound commitment to training and improving.
He’s won back-to-back fights over Blagoy Ivanov and Ilir Latifi, though the Ivanov fight was a split decision and many felt Latifi deserved the win.
Lewis hasn’t had a knockout since a last-second miracle against Alexander Volkov on Oct. 6, 2018, at UFC 229.
I think Oleinik is a smart play at +165, so I will risk $100 with the hope of winning $165. I’ll also bet one unit on Oleinik to win by submission at +250, so I’ll risk $100 there hoping to make $250.
Chris Weidman is 1-5 in his last six bouts and would become largely irrelevant if he loses to Omari Ahkmedov. I will bet $100 on Weidman to win by decision at +160 hoping to make a $160 profit.
Beneil Dariush is a -185 favorite over Scott Holtzman, who is +155. Holtzman is coming off a big win over Jim Miller, but I really like Dariush to win. I’ll lay the money and risk $185 to win $100.
So overall, in my four bets, I’m risking $485 with the hope of making $675. Last week, I was 2-1 (two plays I made were off because the fights were canceled) but I lost a little bit of money.
In the main event, I laid $310 on Edmen Shahbazyan, and he was stopped by Derek Brunson. But I won $130 on Jennifer Maia to beat Joanne Calderwood and I won $100 when I bet that the Vicente Luque-Randy Brown fight wouldn’t go the distance. So I wound up losing $80.
More from Yahoo Sports: