Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is back for a quick turnaround, as UFC Fight Night 146: “Lewis vs Dos Santos” is set to go down tonight (Sat., March 9, 2019) inside Intrust Bank Arena in Wichita, Kansas. Headlining the event is a pivotal heavyweight showdown between Derrick Lewis and former champion Junior dos Santos. In the co-main event of the evening, Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos will face off against rising welterweight contender Curtis Millender.
Derrick Lewis and Junior dos Santos are two of the hardest-hitting big men in all of mixed martial arts (MMA). One clean strike from either of them and it’s lights out (like this). Lewis is coming off a loss to 265-pound champion Daniel Cormier in which “DC” made quick and easy work of “Black Beast.” Now, Lewis is out for blood and is eager to get back into the win column in a division where a few impressive victories puts you back into the title conversation.
dos Santos really turned it around in 2018, winning his two fights against Blagoy Ivanov and more recently against Tai Tuivasa, knocking out “Bam Bam” in a highly-entertaining scrap. Now, “Cigano” has his sights set on a shot at the division strap again should he score his third straight victory. Currently ranked at No. 8, if Junior can get a win over the No. 3 guy, he certainly has a case. Especially since everyone in front of him except Alistair Overeem is coming off a loss.
Let’s be honest, the card is lacking overall. But, that’s to expect coming off one of the most stacked cards of the year, as UFC 235: “Jones vs Smith” went down just last week. They can’t all be heavy-hitters, I suppose.
Original Card Vs. Actual Card:
The only change to this card was a re-worked Heavyweight showdown that saw Jeff Hughes get matched up against Maurice Greene after Jeff’s original opponent, Daniel Spitz, was bounced from the card with an injury.
Daniel Spitz was the only fighter struck down by the injury bug.
Jeff Hughes will look to make a splash in his Octagon debut when he faces late replacement Maurice Greene in 265-pound action. “Lights Out” earned his opportunity by winning on “Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series” (DWTNCS). Winner of four in a row, Hughes brings with him a heavy punch, as half of his wins (five) have come via knockout. Ironically enough, Hughes’ fight versus Greene will be a rematch as the two competed against one another at LFA 38 one year ago (Hughes won via unanimous decision). For Greene, he won’t have to worry about Octagon jitters, as he was successful in his UFC debut by defeating Michel Batista last November at The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 28 Finale.
Grant Dawson — another DWTNCS alum — brings with him a 12-1 record to the UFC cage as he is set to face Julian Erosa in Featherweight action. Erosa failed to win his UFC debut as he was knocked out be Devonte Smith in under a minute at UFC Fight Night 139 last November. He will look for better luck in his sophomore effort against a man riding a four-fight win streak.
How The ‘Prelims’ Look:
Anthony Rocco Martin will look to score his fourth-straight win when he faces Sergio Moraes in the headlining “Prelims” bout. Moraes bounced back after losing to current 170-pound champion Kamaru Usman, winning two straight. Yana Kunitskaya will look for back-to-back wins for the first time inside the eight-sided cage when she faces longtime veteran Marion Reneau in women’s Bantamweight action.
Also, Louis Smolka will look to climb out of “Pelims” purgatory and score a main card spot in the future if he can collect his fifth win in a row against Matt Schnell. After dropping four in a row and on the verge of losing his UFC job, Louis has turned it around drastically, winning three fights on the regional circuit before earning an invite back to the Octagon where he took out Su Mudaerji last November.
For a better look at all of the action going down on the underbelly of the event — which will air on ESPN+ — click here and here.
Who Needs A Win Badly:
The only fighter heading into tonight with consecutive defeats is Alex White, who dropped back-to-back fights to James Krause and Jim Miller. While another loss won’t exactly mean unemployment, losing three in a row isn’t a good look. Though Dan Moret failed to make a splash in his UFC debut, he is still a dangerous threat that could very well hand White another loss
Interest Level: 5/10
Aside from the main event, I am really looking forward to the co-headlining act. I for one am glad Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos is getting a spotlight here, as he has won six in a row in a highly-competitive welterweight division. Defeating the likes of Lyman Good and Max Griffin is nothing to frown at. Millender, meanwhile, is on an even longer win streak as he has won nine in a row, including his first three fights inside the Octagon. In his first three UFC offerings, Millender defeated Thiago Alves, Max Griffin and Siyar Bahadurzada. Not bad for his first 10 months with the promotion. This fight should give the division another legit contender to worry about, as the victor could potentially catapult himself into the Top 10.
Ben Rothwell will return from his two-year suspension for a failed drug test to face Blagoy Ivanov. Prior to his suspension, Ben had lost to Junior dos Santos, ending his four fight win streak against the likes of Josh Barnett and Alistair Overeem, among others. Now, “Big Ben” will look to get back on track against another man who was last defeated by “JDS.”
An interesting Lightweight showdown between Beneil Dariush and Drew Dober will also go down on the main card. Drew has done quite well for himself by winning three in a row. A win over Dariush will be his biggest victory to date and could set him up for big things. Dariush, meanwhile, looks to capitalize off his win over Thiago Moisés.
Enjoy the fights!
Full UFC Fight Night 146 Fight Card (ESPN+):
UFC Fight Night 146 Main Event:
265 lbs.: Derrick Lewis vs. Junior dos Santos
UFC Fight Night 146 Main Card (8 p.m. ET):
170 lbs.: Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos vs. Curtis Millender
170 lbs.: Tim Means vs. Niko Price
265 lbs.: Blagoy Ivanov vs. Ben Rothwell
155 lbs.: Beneil Dariush vs. Drew Dober
185 lbs.: Tim Boetsch vs. Omari Akhmedov
UFC Fight Night 146 ‘Prelims’ Undercard (5 p.m. ET):
170 lbs.: Anthony Rocco Martin vs. Sergio Moraes
135 lbs.: Yana Kunitskaya vs. Marion Reneau
145 lbs.: Grant Dawson vs. Julian Erosa
265 lbs.: Jeff Hughes vs. Maurice Green
125 lbs.: Matt Schnell vs. Louis Smolka
170 lbs.: Alex Morono vs. Zak Ottow
155 lbs.: Dan Moret vs. Alex White
*Fight card, bout order and the amount of matches subject to change.
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