Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is set to invade Blue Cross Arena in Rochester, N.Y., as UFC Fight Night 152 goes down this Saturday night (May 18, 2019), featuring a Welterweight showdown between Rafael dos Anjos and Kevin Lee. In the co-main event, Ian Heinisch will throw down with Antonio Carlos Junior in what will most certainly be an exciting Middleweight showcase.
This is really yet another Fight Night card carried by the main event. Rafael dos Anjos may be on the heels of consecutive decision losses, but he remains very skilled and quite fun to watch. Think back to dos Anjos’ title run that saw him stop Benson Henderson and Donald Cerrone, dominate Anthony Pettis and Nate Diaz, and generally overwhelm all who stood in his path. His trio of Welterweight wins wasn’t that long ago either, as dos Anjos rose through the ranks in 2017 to become a title contender in a second division.
When dos Anjos is on his game, the Brazilian bruiser is something special.
Like dos Anjos, Lee is pretty incredible when at his best. While it’s true that “The Motown Phenom” may have risen to Lightweight elite a bit too early, he still managed to take rounds from veterans ranked in the Top 5 like Tony Ferguson and Al Iaquinta. Sandwiched between losses to those two killers was his absolute domination of Edson Barboza, and Lee battered the Brazilian kickboxer worse than anyone.
At 26 years of age, Lee already has a hell of a resume. Given his youth and talent, this really could be one of those situations where an easier weight cut allows an already talented fighter to excel further. Think about Dustin Poirier’s Lightweight debut or Robert Whittaker’s jump to Middleweight — the immediate results were violent successes.
In short, we have an aggressive former champion in dire need of a win opposite one of the sport’s best young talents. If you catch one fight tonight, make it the main event.
There’s really no need for Charles Oliveira and Nik Lentz to face off for a third time.
To recap a bit, the pair have competed twice prior, at Lightweight in 2011 and at Featherweight in 2015. Though the first fight was technically ruled a “No Contest” because of an illegal knee, the fights were very similar. Lentz would start rather strong and bully his opponent, but Oliveira’s potent jiu-jitsu and body-breaking kicks would eventually overwhelm Lentz via submission in the latter half of the bout.
Both fights were awarded the “Fight of the Night” bonus, and it would not at all surprise me if the third lived up to the hype in terms of excitement. It’s very unlikely to be a boring fight. However, it’s also perhaps the most predictable fight on the card.
Oliveira is now 29 years old, very much in his fighting prime. He’s won his last four fights all via submission, showing off improved kickboxing and durability in the process. In truth, Oliveira deserved a shot at a top 15 opponent — the Brazilian finally looks to be living up to his potential after nine years on the roster. “The Carny,” meanwhile, is now 34 years old. Thankfully, he’s nowhere near over-the-hill yet; in fact, Lentz’s kickboxing has grown craftier with age. Unfortunately, he’s no longer in his athletic prime, as Lentz struggles with his conditioning now more than ever in the latter half of fights.
From the last time they fought in 2015, Oliveira has improved dramatically, while Lentz moved from Featherweight contender to middle of the Lightweight pack. “Do Bronx” is almost certainly going to submit Lentz in the second or third round of a very fun, but totally unnecessary, fight.
Original Card Vs. Actual Card:
The co-main event was set to feature a highly-intriguing 170-pound collision between Neil Mangy and Vicente Luque. But, after Magny was notified of a violation by USADA, the fight was scrapped and he was ultimately replaced by newcomer Derrick Krantz.
Thankfully, no injuries were noted for this event.
Krantz got an unexpected call up on just a few days notice to face one of the hottest Welterweight fighters at the moment, the aforementioned Luque, after Magny was bounced from the fight because of a United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) violation. A long-time veteran for Legacy Fighting Alliance (LFA), Krantz is currently riding a two-fight win streak, most recently scoring a first round knockout over Justin Peterson. There is tape out there for Vicente to study, though he won’t have a ton of time to do it. Austin Hubbard is another former LFA combatant getting his shot on the big stage, as he brings his own two-fight winning streak to the Octagon to face off against Davi Ramos, owner of three straight wins.
Undefeated (6-0) prospect Felicia Spencer will be making the jump over from Invicta FC to take on top contender Megan Anderson in her first UFC fight. Charles Jourdain won’t have an easy fight when he makes his first appearance inside the eight-sided cage, as he has been pegged to face hard-hitting Desmond Green in his UFC debut. Michel Pereira will look to pump some new life into the already-stacked Welterweight division when he faces Danny Roberts, a seven-fight UFC veteran.
How The ‘Prelims’ Look:
Most fight fans could probably afford to skip the undercard without missing too much.
The main exception to that statement is the preliminary headliner, which pits top Bantamweight prospect Aspen Ladd against The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) veteran and recent top Flyweight contender Sijara Eubanks opposite one another. It’s a pretty pivotal 135 lbs. fight, designed to create a contender in a division that sorely needs them. There is one factor that does prevent this from being a truly must-see fight however: the two already fought in 2017 with Ladd taking a clear-cut decision victory.
Still, if we include her run on TUF, Eubanks has now won her previous five fights and looks better than ever. Often, a string of wins can really build a fighter’s confidence, which is one of the most important factors in fighters. Perhaps it’s enough to make the difference in this rematch?
There are some decent prospects elsewhere on the card — keep an eye on Trevin Giles and Julio Arce at least — but the next most interesting “Prelims” undercard bout is likely Danny Roberts vs. Michel Pereira. At this point, it’s become pretty clear that Roberts probably isn’t likely to outgrow the role of action fighter, but who cares? He’s a lot of fun to watch. Meanwhile, Pereira recently gained internet fame by jumping off the cage and throwing wild techniques, leading to his signing. It’s practically guaranteed to be entertaining, as Roberts is violent and skilled enough to batter Pereira for his wildness while also seeming very vulnerable to being suddenly creamed by an off-the-fence wheel kick or some other goofy strike.
Either way, it’s a win for the fans!
Who Needs A Win Badly:
When he first made the jump up to 170 pounds, dos Anjos looked like a man on a mission, taking out Tarec Saffiedine, Neil Magny and Robbie Lawler in consecutive order to make an immediate impact in the division. But, over his last two outings, he hit a bit of a rough patch. After scoring an interim title fight against Cobly Covington, “RDA” came up short against “Chaos” at UFC 225. The following fight saw him face Kamaru Usman, who is now the current champion at 170 pounds. But, much like Covington did to dos Anjos, “The Nigerian Nightmare” dominated from the opening bell and cruised his way to a decision. With two straight losses on his record, dos Anjos is in danger of owning the longest losing streak of his career if he comes up short against Lee. A loss here could eventually force the former Lightweight champion to go back down to 155 pounds.
Interest Level: 6/10
It’s a pretty decent card.
At the very least, it not dreadful like UFC ‘Saint Petersburg’ last month. Halfway through 2019, it seems that the general standard for these Fight Night events is not particularly high. Even if this event does not feature an abundance of ranked fighters or big names, there is a solid mix of talent throughout the card — which is in addition to an intriguing main event.
Perhaps more important than the quality of the contenders is the quality of the fights themselves. While I could end up dramatically wrong, I expect more than half of the fights on the main card to end before the final bell. Meanwhile, the undercard features some smart matchmaking designed to create a slugfest or two.
It’s no must-see event, but dedicated fight fans will likely get their money’s worth!
Full Fight Card:
UFC on ESPN+ 10 Main Event:
170 lbs.: Rafael dos Anjos vs. Kevin Lee
UFC on ESPN+ 10 Main Card (8 p.m. ET):
185 lbs.: Ian Heinisch vs. Antonio Carlos Junior
145 lbs.: Megan Anderson vs. Felicia Spencer
170 lbs.: Vicente Luque vs. Derrick Krantz
155 lbs.: Nik Lentz vs. Charles Oliveira
155 lbs.: Austin Hubbard vs. Davi Ramos
UFC on ESPN+ 10 “Prelims” Undercard (5 p.m. ET):
135 lbs.: Sijara Eubanks vs. Aspen Ladd
155 lbs.: Desmond Green vs. Charles Jourdain
170 lbs.: Michel Pereira vs. Danny Roberts
145 lbs.: Grant Dawson vs. Mike Trizano
205 lbs.: Patrick Cummins vs. Ed Herman
185 lbs.: Zak Cummings vs. Trevin Giles
145 lbs.: Julio Arce vs. Julian Erosa
*Fight card, bout order and the amount of matches subject to change.
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