Two of the best heavyweights in the world will clash with title implications on the line.
Curtis Blaydes and Derrick Lewis meet Saturday in the main event of UFC Fight Night in Las Vegas. The bout was initially scheduled for back on Nov. 28, but Blaydes tested positive for COVID-19 and the contest was pulled one day prior to the event.
ESPN has Blaydes ranked No. 3 and Lewis ranked No. 5 at heavyweight. While Francis Ngannou is getting the next title shot at champion Stipe Miocic next month at UFC 260, and all-time great Jon Jones seems waiting in the wings for the winner, the Blaydes vs. Lewis victor puts himself in pole position in case something happens with any of those athletes.
Blaydes (14-2, 1 NC) has won four straight and is coming off a unanimous-decision win over Alexander Volkov last June. The Illinois native, who trains out of Colorado’s Elevation Fight Team, has lost to only one man in the UFC: Ngannou, and he has done that twice. Blaydes, 30, is a former NJCAA national champion in wrestling and makes no apologies for his takedown and ground-control style in MMA.
Lewis (24-7, 1 NC) has won three straight, including a knockout win over Aleksei Oleinik in August. The Houston resident owns the most knockouts in UFC heavyweight history (11). Lewis, a 36-year-old fan favorite, has won six of eight and 12 of 15 overall.
In the co-main event, Ketlen Vieira meets Yana Kunitskaya in a catchweight bout. Vieira missed weight Friday by two pounds. ESPN has Vieira ranked No. 7 in the world at women’s bantamweight and Kunitskaya at No. 9. Vieira (11-1) bounced back from her first career loss by beating Sijara Eubanks in September. Kunitskaya (13-5, 1 NC) has won three of four.
Also on the card, Oleinik meets Chris Daukaus in an intriguing heavyweight bout, veteran lightweight Charles Rosa faces Darrick Minner and former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski fights up-and-comer Tom Aspinall.
Jeff Wagenheim and Marc Raimondi recap the action as it happens. You can also watch the fights on ESPN+.
Fight in progress
Recap to come.
Spivac left Vanderaa in a puddle of his own blood.
On top for most of the second round, Spivac pounded away from the position. The punches were not the hardest — both men were clearly tired. But referee Chris Tognoni called off the bout at 4:32 of the second, ruling Spivac the winner by TKO.
The first round went similarly. Spivac dominated on the ground and Vanderaa had few answers. Spivac seems like a legitimate prospect in the heavyweight division.
Spivac, 26, has won two straight and three of five fights in the UFC. The Ukraine native, who fights out of Moldova, has nine finishes in 12 career wins. Vanderra, a 28-year-old Washington native, was making his UFC debut following a first-round TKO against Harry Hunsucker on Dana White’s Contender Series last November.
till to come:
Heavyweight: Curtis Blaydes (14-2 1 NC, 9-2 1 NC UFC, -380) vs. Derrick Lewis (24-7 1 NC, 15-5 UFC, +300)
Women’s bantamweight: Ketlen Vieira (11-1, 5-1 UFC, -280) vs. Yana Kunitskaya (13-5, 3-2 UFC, +230)
Men’s featherweight: Charles Rosa (13-4, 4-4 UFC, -190) vs. Darrick Minner (25-11, 1-1 UFC, +160)
Heavyweight: Aleksei Oleinik (59-14-1, 8-5 UFC, +160) vs. Chris Daukaus (10-3, 2-0 UFC, -190)
Middleweight: Phil Hawes (9-2, 1-0 UFC, -125) vs. Nassourdine Imavov (9-2, 1-0 UFC, +105)
Heavyweight: Andrei Arlovski (30-19 1 NC, 18-13 1 NC UFC, +210) vs. Tom Aspinall (9-2, 2-0 UFC, -260)
Men’s featherweight: Jared Gordon (16-4, 4-3 UFC, +120) vs. Danny Chavez (11-3, 1-0 UFC, -140)
Men’s bantamweight: Eddie Wineland (24-14-1, 6-8 UFC, +105) vs. John Castañeda (17-5, 0-1 UFC, -125)
Men’s featherweight: Julian Erosa (24-9, 3-4 UFC, -110) vs. Nate Landwehr (14-3, 1-1 UFC, -110)
Women’s flyweight: Shana Dobson (4-4, 2-3 UFC, +130) vs. Casey O’Neill (5-0, 0-0 UFC, -155)