Derrick Lewis is reportedly back in action for the UFC’s heavyweight division. According to Ariel Helwani of ESPN, citing multiple sources, Lewis will be in the main event for a fight night event scheduled on August 8, and will take on Alexey Oleinik. The fight has not been made official by the UFC yet, but Helwani’s report states that verbal agreements are in place on both sides.
Earlier this year Lewis revealed that doctors told him he was facing a ‘life or death‘ health situation but according to the ESPN report, although his team has said to been keeping the situation private, Lewis has been cleared to return to action.
In his last fight, Lewis welcomed former light-heavyweight Ilir Latifi to the heavyweight division and picked up his second consecutive decision victory. The fight puts Lewis (currently ranked fourth in the division) in a position to cement his top-standing among heavyweight contenders, as the division begins to roll out some fights at the top.
The top of the heavyweight division has some big fights scheduled as champion Stipe Miocic will have his trilogy fight against Daniel Cormier on August 15 at UFC 252, while Curtis Blaydes takes on Alexander Volkov this weekend.
A fight against Derrick Lewis is a big opportunity for Alexey Oleinik who sits right outside the top-10 in the division rankings, but with a win could leapfrog right into the topic of conversation for deserving heavyweight contenders. Oleinik is also on his own two-fight winning streak with wins over former champion Fabricio Werdum in May, and Maurice Greene this past January.
With several of the top heavyweights returning to action this fall, there will be movement inside the division that has been put on hold due to the delay in making the Miocic-Cormier trilogy.
As he works back to get his own title shot opportunity after falling short to Cormier at UFC 230, Lewis has also called for a rematch against Francis Ngannou. Although he picked up a win in their first meeting back in 2018 at UFC 226, the fight against Ngannou was a lackluster one, due to very little action between the two.
A win over Oleinik would stretch his streak to three and place Derrick Lewis right back into title conversation.
Who are you taking to win this potentially high-stakes heavyweight matchup, Derrick Lewis or Alexey Oleinik?
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 6/16/2020