Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns to Fight Pass later today (Sat., Nov. 24, 2018) with UFC Fight Night 141, which is set to go down inside Cadillac Arena in Beijing, China. In the headlining act, Curtis Blaydes and Francis Ngannou will go toe-to-toe for the second time, while Alistair Overeem vs. Sergey Pavlovich is is pegged as the co-headlining act.
Curtis Blaydes has felt like the odd man out when it comes to the Heavyweight title conversation, as “Razor” wasn’t even considered as a short-notice replacement to face Daniel Cormier at UFC 230 a few weeks ago in New York City, an honor that ultimately went to Derrick Lewis. And you can’t blame him, either, as he has won six straight fights (one was overturned for a failed drug test). You also can’t blame UFC, either, as the promotion needed a recognizable name that appeals to the masses in its return to Madison Square Garden. And “Black Beast” offered just that. Blaydes, though, can bum rush his way to the front of the line, perhaps, if he can score a win over the man who defeated him in his UFC debut back in 2016. For Ngannou, this fight is his chance to stay relevant after dropping two straight and going from being on top of the world to falling out of favor with Dana White and in out of the championship mix.
The overall appeal of the card is simply not enough to get people to get up so early, fire up their electronic devices, and tune in to some morning fisticuffs. It’s one of those cards that really gets me scratching my head as to why it was put together, when you can simply take a lot of these fights and bolster up other events.
But, UFC wants to expand, and while it may not be a huge deal for most people, you can bet the Chinese fight fans are grateful for the event touching down in their country.
Original Card Vs. Actual Card:
Shana Dobson was pegged to face Wu Yanan, but Dobson pulled out of the fight with an injury and was ultimately replaced by Lauren Mueller. Li Jingliang and Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos were paired to throw down at the event, but after an injury forced Elizeu out of the card, Li was forced to face off David Zawada.
Aside from Dobson and dos Santos, Frankie Saenz was also struck down with the injury bug and forced out of his fight against Song Yadong. Vince Morales took the opportunity to step in and fill the void.
There are plenty of Octagon newcomers who will be looking to show off their stuff on the biggest stage. Among them is Sergey Pavlovich, the undefeated 265-pounder who will face Alistair Overeem. Not a bad welcoming gift for a man considered the best Heavyweight coming out of Russia at the moment. Vince Morales will look to get his first official UFC win after earning his stripes on “Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series.” He will face one of China’s favorite sons in Song Yadong.
Martin Day and Su Mudaerji will also be stepping foot inside of the Octagon for the first time, so to get a more detailed look at their track record — as well as the rest of the newcomers — click here.
How The ‘Prelims’ Look:
Prelims action will feature plenty of homegrown talent, though there are some familiar names on the underbelly of the event. Among them is Jessica Aguilar, who will face Zhang Weili in women’s Strawweight action. Also, Louis Smolka will make his UFC return to face off against Su Mudaerji in a Bantamweight bout.
Who Needs A Win Badly:
Francis Ngannou needs a win in a bad way. After losing to Stipe Miocic in his first-ever 265-pound title fight, “The Predator” looked to get back in the win column when he took on Derrick Lewis. After laying an egg in that bout as well, Francis caught some heat from UFC president Dana White as the brash head honcho slammed the hard-hitting big man for being egotistical. A third straight defeat will leave “Predator” at a crossroads in his career after reeling of 10 straight wins. While he may have some confidence going in knowing he has a win over Blaydes, Ngannou has improved vastly since his debut, so a win for Francis is far from a given.
Interest Level: 4/10
Aside from the headlining bout, there really isn’t much that get me personally pumped about this event. It’s just dreadful. I hate to be so harsh, but the promotion can put a bit more effort, especially if it wants to garner more Fight Pass subscriptions.
Will we see the resurrection of Ngannou? Or will it be Blaydes’ breakthrough fight? And let’s not forget, Overeem has lost his last two wins, so he better come correct if he wants to avoid his third straight defeat because his foe is no joke.
UFC Fight Night 141 Main Event:
265 lbs.: Curtis Blaydes vs. Francis Ngannou
UFC Fight Night 141 Main Card On Fight Pass (6:30 a.m. ET):
265 lbs.: Alistair Overeem vs. Sergey Pavlovich
135 lbs.: Vince Morales vs. Song Yadong
170 lbs.: Li Jingliang vs. David Zawada
UFC Fight Night 141 Prelims On Fight Pass (3 a.m. ET):
170 lbs.: Alex Morono vs. Kenan Song
125 lbs.: Lauren Mueller vs. Wu Yanan
265 lbs.: Rashad Coulter vs. Hu Yaozong
115 lbs.: Jessica Aguilar vs. Weili Zhang
135 lbs.: Martin Day vs. Liu Pingyuan
115 lbs.: Syuri Kondo vs. Yan Xiaonan
185 lbs.: Kevin Holland vs. John Phillips
125 lbs.: Louis Smolka vs. Sumudaerji
For more upcoming UFC events click here.