On tap for this weekend is an absolutely stacked fight card live at the UFC Apex. This fight is headlined by two heavy-hitting heavyweights Curtis “Razor” Blaydes and Derrick “The Black Beast” Lewis. There are 15 fights that will have you at the edge of your seat throughout the entire night. Let’s dig deep into the main card of this exciting fight night.
Andrei Arlovski vs Tom Aspinall
Starting off the main card is a heavyweight tilt between former UFC Heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski and surging prospect Tom Aspinall. Arlovski is riding a two-fight win streak while Aspinall is on the heels of a five-fight win streak with all five wins coming by way of first-round knockout.
Tom Aspinall was one of the top heavyweight prospects coming into his UFC debut and he didn’t disappoint with a 45 second knockout of Jake Collier. Aspinall has an extensive MMA background as he is a BJJ black belt along with having pro boxing experience training with the likes of Tyson Fury and Darren Till. This is a big step up in competition for Aspinall and if he can pass this test with flying colors he can make a run in the heavyweight division.
Andrei Arlovski just somehow defies the odds each time he steps inside the octagon at this stage of his career. Many have written him off time and time again but he keeps on winning. Arlovski has changed his fighting ways as he has moved up in age; fighting smarter and using his size and reach to keep himself out of harms way out pointing his opponents. He gets another young prospect trying to make a name off of him and he will be looking to spoil the coming-out party come Saturday night.
This fight will get interesting if Arlovski is able to weather the early storm and gets this fight out of the first round. Aspinall hasn’t been out of the first round in nearly five years so he is going to have to keep his composure and not over-exert himself trying to get the early finish. Unfortunately, Arlovski’s chin isn’t what it once was and Aspinall should capitalize on all of the wars Arlovski has been in over the years.
Tom Aspinall via 1st round KO/TKO
Nassourdine Imavov vs Phil Hawes
In this fight, we have a very exciting fight between two heavy hitters in the Middleweight division. Both fighters are coming in with an identical 9-2 record with 16 combined finishes. Nassourdine Imavov and Phil Hawes will be looking to throw down the moment the ref asks them if they are ready.
Nassourdine Imavov is coming into this fight on a six-fight win streak and hasn’t tasted defeat since 2017. He had a back and forth war with contender alumni Jordan Williams in his UFC debut which saw him outlast and outland Williams over the course of 15 full minutes. Williams did rock Imavov early in round one but he weathered the early storm, which is something he will have to do here and got the win.
The contender series alumni Phil Hawes is coming into this fight on fire with five straight stoppage victories. In his UFC debut, it only took him 18 seconds to get his hand raised as he knocked out fellow newcomer Jacob Malkoun. The problem with Hawes lies with his cardio as he is 1-3 in fights of his career that have reached round 2 or beyond. We have yet to see him get past round 1 in recent years as he has been winning in spectacular fashion so it will be interesting to see what happens when it gets there.
This fight has the fight of the night makings all over it. Hawes is coming to come out of the gate on fire looking to get that early finish as he always does. All while Imavov is going to need to weather that early storm just like he did in his UFC debut against Jordan Williams. Imavov also has shown that he has a chin on him as he has never been finished due to strikes as a professional. The narrative should stay true that Hawes needs an early finish and he will be in trouble the later the fight goes.
Nassourdine Imavov via 2nd round submission
Oleksei Oleinik vs Chris Daukaus
The second of three heavyweight fights on the main card is between yet another UFC veteran in Oleksei Oleinik and prospect Chris Daukaus. Both of these fighters are on two completely different career trajectories as Oleinik has lost 3 of his last 5 all by KO while Daukaus is hitting his stride winning 3 in a row all by first-round KO.
Chris Daukaus came into his short-notice UFC debut against Parker Porter winning just one fight in a row. Some thought the call-up was premature but those critics were shushed rather quickly with a first-round knockout. He then continued his success with an even faster knockout of Rodrigo Nascimento in his sophomore fight in the UFC. With that said this is a massive step up in competition but one that can put his name on the map if he can get the job done.
Aleksei Oleinik poses a threat no matter who steps inside the octagon opposite of him. With 46 of his wins by submission, all it takes is for him to get his opponent to the mat to end the fight. He was on his way to just that to Derrick Lewis but Lewis was able to get out of the submission and eventually knocking Oleinik out in round 2. Oleinik has taken a ton of damage over the years to the point where if he doesn’t get the early submission he will be in a world of trouble.
Things are going to be very interesting in the first round of this fight. Both of these fighters can get the job done early whether it is Oleinik with a submission or Daukaus with a knockout. What some may not know is that Daukaus actually has is a BJJ black belt and has been training BJJ for quite some time now. So as long as he avoids the early submission attempts it is his fight to lose.
Chris Daukaus via 1st round KO/TKO
Darrick Minner vs Charles Rosa
This is going to be a fun scrap between two featherweight fighters Darrick Minner and Charles Rosa. These two fighters have been in the fight game for quite some time that is surprising that they are just now squaring off against one another. Both fighters are coming off of arguably the best performances of the career so this should be a great closely contested fight.
Charles Rosa has dealt injuries for a good portion of his time in the UFC which has limited him to only 3 fights in the last 3 years. Rosa is coming off of arguably the best win of his career against Kevin Aguilar. He looked sharp in the striking exchanges and was able to keep the fight on the feet and at a distance where he was able to just out-strike Aguilar for the entirety of the 15 minutes. Rosa is also a BJJ black belt with 8 of his 13 wins by submission.
Darrick Minner looked like a brand new fighter in his last fight against TJ Laramie. He looked more composed that helped him capitalize on a massive mistake of Laramie when he left his neck out there in a clinch situation where Minner was able to snatch it for the first-round guillotine finish. Minner has now moved full-time to Glory MMA with James Krause as his head coach and that was a perfect match for him and his career. He is also a very skillful grappler with 22 submission victories and 20 in the very first round.
This is going to be a great scrap between these two fighters, one that will be very closely contested. Minner is going to want to grapple while Rosa is going to want to keep this fight at distance. Expect Rosa to fend off submission attempts and scrambles with Minner and out-strike Rosa to a comfortable decision.
Charles Rosa via unanimous deicison
Ketlen Vieira vs Yana Kunitskaya
Two top-10 women’s bantamweight contenders square off in a matchup with title implications attached to it. Each of these two fighters is just one or two wins away from a potential title shot in the wide-open bantamweight division.
Ketlen Vieira has been on a tear in her time in the UFC winning 5 of her 6 fights with her lone loss at the hands of former title challenger Irene Aldana. She has the size, strength, and power to be a legitimate threat to the longtime champion Amanda Nunes. With a win here Saturday night against Yana Kunitskaya she certainly could be next in line for that title shot.
Yana Kunitkaya was thrown to the wolves in her UFC debut when she moved up a weight class to take on then UFC Featherweight champion Cris Cyborg. She was then able to win 3 of her next 4 at her normal weight class of 135 lbs. Though Kunitskaya hasn’t beaten someone of the caliber of Vieira she still has a striking regiment to give her some fits if this fight is fought at distance for an extended period of time.
Ketlen Vieira is going to give Yana Kunitskaya some major troubles here when it comes to the grappling department. Vieira is a BJJ black belt has a really underrated ground game. If Vieira is able to use her size and strength inside the clinch to get this fight to the mat she can put the finishes touches while on top in control.
Ketlen Vieira via 2nd round submission
Curtis Blaydes vs Derrick Lewis
In our main event of the evening, we have a heavyweight clash between two title contenders Curtis “Razor” Blaydes and Derrick “The Black Beast” Lewis. These two fighters are on the cusp of getting a title shot very soon and just one more win from either fighter puts their name right into title contention. Expect some heavy leather and a ton of fireworks in this main event for however long it lasts.
Curtis Blaydes has been on an absolute tear with a four-fight win streak and has been chomping at the bit to finally get his long-awaited title shot. Blaydes only loss of his entire professional career is to the very man fighting for the belt this April Francis Ngannou, so it would be bittersweet for him to get that gold around his waist by beating his arch-nemesis.
Derrick Lewis is one of the most dangerous heavyweights to step foot inside the octagon. He has that one-punch knockout power that can put any fighter’s lights out at any moment of the fight. Lewis was losing every moment of his fight with Alexander Volkov to win it with just 11 seconds left of the fight with a devastating knockout. Lewis is going to need to connect on Blaydes early if he is going to want to get the win this Saturday night.
Curtis Blaydes has said that he is going to go in there and fight is fight and not worry about the naysayers that talk about how he fights a boring fight. Blaydes is going to go in there and utilize his strength which is his wrestling to his advantage. Lewis has shown he is susceptible to being taken down and he is going to need to land the kill shot before Blaydes gets in around his waist and takes him for a ride.
Curtis Blaydes via 3rd round KO/TKO