Quite a few UFC heavyweights are booked for upcoming bouts, and I’ll give my thoughts on those brand new matchups in the current MMA odds and ends.
Ben Rothwell vs. Blagoy Ivanov at March
Long-time heavvyweight contender Ben Rothwell will return to the Octagon if he chooses on Blagoy Ivanov in a yet-to-be-determined UFC event in March. MMA.bg first broke the news of this bout and Rothwell’s return to the Octagon. Rothwell (36-10) is 6-4 overall from the UFC dating back to 2009. He’s fought only once per year, owing in part due to accidents and also to medication suspensions. He hasn’t fought because a decision loss to Junior dos Santos back in April 2016, after which he had been suspended by USADA for 2 years after testing positive for banned substances. But prior to the loss to JDS, Rothwell had won four fights in a row including a TKO win over Alistair Overeem. He must immediately jump back in the top-15 if he returns to the cage. Ivanov (16-2, 1 NC) also lost a choice to JDS in his final fight, which was his UFC debut. Prior to this he had won five straight fights in WSOF/PFL. I believe Ivanov will look better than how he did against JDS, but I would still need to lean Rothwell here simply because of his expertise and achievement in the Octagon these years.
Junior dos Santos vs. Derrick Lewis, UFC Fight Night 146
Heavyweight contenders Junior dos Santos and Derrick Lewis are set to clash at UFC Fight Night 146, that can be set for March 9 at Intrust Bank Arena in Wichita, Kansas. MMAjunkie.com broke the news. JDS (20-5) had a excellent comeback year in 2018 with clear victories over Tai Tuivasa and Blagoy Ivanov. Lewis (21-6, 1 NC) is coming from a submission reduction to Daniel Cormier in his failed bid to win the UFC heavyweight title, but had conquered Francis Ngannou and Alexander Volkov prior to that. This ought to be a top quality fight between two hard-hitting heavyweights, but JDS is the much more well-rounded fighter and that I expect him to be the favored here, though of course Lewis has a puncher’s chance. I’d still anticipate JDS to be a favorite here.
Jeff Hughes vs. Daniel Spitz, UFC Fight Night 146 As well, top heavyweight prospect Jeff Hughes will create his Octagon debut against Daniel Spitz at UFC Fight Night 146. FloCombat’s Nolan King reported the news. Hughes (10-1) has won four straight fights including a KO win over Josh Appelt on Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series for him signed into the UFC. Prior to this he had been the LFA heavyweight champion, and his lone career loss was a TKO defeat to Dan Spohn. Spitz (6-2) is currently 1-2 in the UFC with losses to Walt Harris and Mark Godbeer and also a TKO win to Anthony Hamilton. The UFC has reserved Hughes that a very winnable fight because of his Octagon introduction here against a guy like Spitz who doesn’t appear to be UFC-caliber by any way. I would expect Hughes for a favored to win this fight.
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