Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Heavyweight sluggers Ben Rothwell and Marcos Rogerio de Lima will collide this weekend (Sat., Nov. 13, 2021) at UFC Vegas 42 inside UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada.
After a three-fight losing streak from 2016-2019 seemed to signify the twilight of Rothwell’s career, “Big Ben” reminded us that Heavyweights don’t age by winning three of his next four. The former Quad City Silverback — any of my readers remember the International Fight League (IFL)? — may not be a top contender anymore, but he’s still a damn tough out. Dating back to Dec. 2014, de Lima has alternated a win and loss in each of his UFC appearances. That’s remarkably consistent inconsistency, and the pattern applies regardless of which weight class “Pezao” finds himself. At this point, the Brazilian is a bonafide Heavyweight, and he’s looking to string together that elusive two-fight win streak.
Let’s take a closer look at the keys to victory for each man:
Key Wins: Alistair Overeem (UFC Fight Night 50), Josh Barnett (UFC on FOX 18), Ovince Saint Preux (UFC Fight Night 171), Matt Mitrione (UFC Fight Night 58), Stefan Struve (UFC on ESPN 7)
Key Losses: Junior dos Santos (UFC Fight Night 86), Marcin Tybura (UFC Fight Island 5), Blagoy Ivanov (UFC Fight Night 146), Andrei Arlovski (UFC on ESPN 4)
Keys to Victory: With 52 pro fights to his credit, Rothwell has been there and done that. The Heavyweight has an awkward style, mixing deceptive speed with odd movements, but major power and durability go a long way in making it work.
“Big Ben” has scored 28 wins via knockout.
This is one of those fights where the key to victory relies boils down to not getting knocked out in the first five minutes. Rothwell is the more conditioned and skilled athlete, whereas de Lima is a bit younger and might carry more one-punch power. If Rothwell can avoid getting blasted, de Lima will fade, and Rothwell has quite literally made a career off beating up tired Heavyweights.
Despite being 40 years of age, Rothwell’s chin has shown no real signs of deterioration. That’s not to say he should trust his toughness entirely to keep him upright, but he can afford to take a big swing or two. To keep that number to a minimum, clinching up and working his dirty boxing opposite “Pezao” seems a wise move.
Once his foe is fatigued, Rothwell is likely to snatch up the neck or build damage quickly.
Marcos Rogerio de Lima
Key Wins: Maurice Greene (UFC Vegas 26), Adam Wieczorek (UFC 230), Igor Pokrajac (UFC Fight Night 58), Clint Hester (UFC 197), Jeremy Kimball (UFC on FOX 23)
Key Losses: Stefan Struve (UFC Fight Night 145), Ovince Saint Preux (UFC Fight Night 108), Alexander Romanov (UFC Vegas 11), Nikita Krylov (UFC Fight Night 74), Gadzhimurad Antigulov (UFC Fight Night 100)
Keys to Victory: Power and aggression definitely make up the core components of de Lima’s overall MMA game. The Brazilian has major knockout power in his hands, and he’s very willing to lunge at his opponent in the hopes of landing a kill shot.
This is a difficult match up for the 36-year-old knockout artist, and it’s also one of the rare times I think a fighter should really sell out for the first round finish.
Rothwell is the craftier and better conditioned fighter by a fair margin, meaning de Lima is not likely to win if this escapes the first round. In fact, he’s probably going to get pummeled and strangled. At the same time, Rothwell hasn’t been stopped by strikes since 2009, so it’s going to take everything and the kitchen sink to put him away.
There is no benefit here for de Lima to try to play a patient game. He should be all-out aggressive as soon as he feels comfortable throwing down, because this fight will be decided in the first round, one way or another.
I cannot pretend this is a particularly important fight for the Heavyweight division, but hopefully it’s fun!
There was a time when Rothwell was on the verge of scoring a title shot — right around 2016, for context — but those days are gone. At this point, Rothwell is a tough veteran who can be trusted to provide a finish or gritty brawl. He can test up-and-comers or scrap with fellow veterans, but his position remains unlikely to change much.
De Lima, meanwhile, is on that historic run of alternating wins and losses as mentioned. His inability to build a win streak has prevented “Pezao” from building any sort of momentum, keeping him in the mid-tier of his respective division. Perhaps that can change if he puts together a consecutive win here, but it’ll likely take more than just this bout to really push the Brazilian up the ladder.
At UFC Vegas 42, Ben Rothwell and Marcos Rogerio de Lima will go to war in the co-main event. Which man earns the victory?
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Vegas 42 fight card right here, starting with the ESPN+ “Prelims” matches, which are scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. ET, then the remaining main card balance on ESPN+ at 4 p.m. ET.
To check out the latest and greatest UFC Vegas 42: “Holloway vs. Rodriguez” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.
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