Quite a few UFC heavyweights are reserved for upcoming bouts, and I’ll give my thoughts on these brand new matchups in the current MMA odds and ends.
Ben Rothwell vs. Blagoy Ivanov, UFC Event in March
Long-time heavvyweight contender Ben Rothwell will return to the Octagon if he takes on Blagoy Ivanov at a yet-to-be-determined UFC event in March. MMA.bg first broke the news of the bout and Rothwell’s return into the Octagon. Rothwell (36-10) is 6-4 overall in the UFC dating back to 2009. He has fought only once a year, owing in part as a result of injuries and to medication suspensions. He hasn’t fought because a decision loss to Junior dos Santos back in April 2016, after which he was suspended by USADA for 2 years after testing positive for prohibited substances. But prior to the loss to JDS, Rothwell had won four fights in a row including a TKO win over Alistair Overeem. He should immediately jump back in the top-15 when he returns to the cage. Ivanov (16-2, 1 NC) also lost a decision to JDS in his final fight, which had been his UFC debut. Prior to that he had won five straight fights in WSOF/PFL. I think Ivanov will seem better than how he did against JDS, but I’d still need to lean towards Rothwell here simply due to his experience and achievement in the Octagon all 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, which can be set for March 9 at Intrust Bank Arena in Wichita, Kansas. MMAjunkie.com broke the information. JDS (20-5) had a great 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 beaten Francis Ngannou and Alexander Volkov before that. This should be a quality fight between two hard-hitting heavyweights, but JDS is the considerably more well-rounded fighter and that I expect him to be the favored here, though obviously Lewis has a puncher’s chance. I anticipate JDS for a favorite here.
UFC Fight Night 146 vs. Daniel Spitz, jeff Hughes At the same time, top heavyweight prospect Jeff Hughes will create his Octagon debut against Daniel Spitz at UFC Fight Night 146. That the news was reported by floCombat’s Nolan King. Hughes (10-1) has won four consecutive fights such as 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 only 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 along with also a TKO win to Anthony Hamilton. The UFC has booked Hughes that a very winnable fight because of his Octagon debut here against a man like Spitz who does not appear to be UFC-caliber by any means. I would expect Hughes to be a giant favored to win this fight.
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