UFC on ESPN+ 24: Blaydes vs. dos Santos Preview

Going head-to-head with Bellator this weekend, UFC will travel to Raleigh, North Carolina, USA for a card on ESPN+. Headlining the show will be heavyweights Junior dos Santos and Curtis Blaydes. Both high ranked, the winner of this fight could move themself ahead in the line to challenge for Stipe Miocic’s UFC Heavyweight Championship.

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Prelims

Bout 1: Nate Landwehr (13-2) vs. Herbert Burns (9-2) (Featherweight)

Kicking off the preliminary card on ESPN+ at 5PM EST will be a featherweight battle between Nate Landwehr and Herbert Burns. The matchup is a double debut, with Burns getting a contract from Dana White’s Contender Series back in August. Burns had a 5-2 record in ONE FC and a 2-0 run in Titan FC prior ot the signing. Landwehr is on a seven-fight winning streak, with most of those wins from Russian MMA promotion M-1 Challenge.

Bout 2: Brett Johns (15-2) vs. Tony Gravely (19-5) (Bantamweight)

Another debuting Contender Series fighter is on this card in Tony Gravely, being put up against Brett Johns. Gravely stopped Ray Rodriguez in the third round on the show to earn his UFC contract and extend his winning streak to seven. Johns could be fighting for his future in the UFC on Saturday, as he is currently on a two-fight losing streak, his only two losses as a pro. He made his UFC debut in 2016, picking up three wins before losing to Aljamain Sterling and Pedro Munhoz.

Bout 3: Sara McMann (11-5) vs. Lina Lansberg (10-4) (Bantamweight)

Making her return after maternity leave, Sara McMann will challenge Lina Lansberg on the prelims. McMann’s last fight was in early 2018, losing to Marion Renau via triangle choke. After a late 2018 loss to Yana Kunitskaya, Lansberg has bounced back by getting scorecard wins over Tonya Evinger and Macy Chiasson. It’s safe to say that McMann will have a challenge in her comeback bout.

Bout 4: Montel Jackson (8-1) vs. Felipe Corales (9-1) (Bantamweight)

The next preliminary fight will see two more bantamweights compete. Montel Jackson and Felipe Corales, who are both coming off of wins in their short UFC careers thus far will be put against each other. Despite having similar records, Vegas heavily favours Jackson as a -600 favourite. Jackson was picked up via the Contender Series, going 2-1 since then. Corales is 1-1 in the UFC, recently going the distance for a unanimous decision win against Domingo Pilarte.

Bout 5: Justine Kish (6-2) vs. Lucie Pudilova (8-5) (Flyweight)

Justine Kish and Lucie Pudilova will both attempt to break their losing streaks on Saturday, but only one will prevail. Kish hasn’t been super active, with her last two fights taking place over the last two years, being losses to Felice Herrig and Ji Yeon Kim. Pudilova has been more active, with her last three fights, all losses, within the last year and a half. Most recently, Pudilova was stopped in the second round via rear naked choke against Antonina Shevchenko.

Bout 6: Arnold Allen (15-1) vs. Nik Lentz (30-10-2) (Featherweight)

The seemingly unstoppable Arnold Allen will be put against the much more experienced Nik Lentz in what should be an interesting matchup on Saturday. Allen has been undefeated since 2014, currently with six wins in his UFC run. His most recent win was easily his biggest challenge, being a decision win over Gilbert Melendez. Lentz is coming off of a loss to Charles Oliveira, however, there’s no doubt his advantage in this fight is having more octagon time, over doubling the number of professional fights that Allen has.

Bout 7: Bevon Lewis (6-2) vs. Dequan Townsend (21-9) (Middleweight)

The preliminary part of the card will be headlined be Bevon Lewis and Dequan Townsend. Lewis was signed to the UFC through the Contender Series but has yet to get a win in the octagon, falling to Uriah Hall and Darren Stewart before. Townsend made his UFC debut in 2019, having an unsuccessful outing against Dalcha Lungiambula.

Bout 8: Jamahal Hill (6-0) vs. Darko Stosic (13-3) (Light Heavyweight)

 

The main card will kick off with the sole undefeated fighter on the card, Jamahal Hill, fighting Darko Stosic. Hill impressed UFC brass in the fifth episode of the 2019 Contender Series season, stopping Alexander Poppeck in the second round with elbows. This fight will be his debut on the big stage. Stosic has something to prove as well, currently chasing the feeling he had when he had his one and only UFC win, back in July of 2018. He has since failed to prevail over Devin Clark and Kennedy Nzechukwu.

Bout 9: Hannah Cifers (10-3) vs. Angela Hill (10-7) (Strawweight)

Angela Hill was a busy fighter in 2019. After a run of taking four fights in seven months, Hill took an understandable break for the final quarter of 2019. She returns to the octagon on Saturday, fighting Hannah Cifers. Cifers is riding a two-fight winning streak, last winning over Jodie Esquibel at UFC 241.

Bout 10: Jordan Espinosa (14-6) vs. Alex Perez (22-5) (Flyweight)

In late 2018, Alex Perez tasted defeat in the UFC for the first time, taking many unanswered shots by Joseph Benavidez before the referee fully stepped in. That didn’t stop his momentum however, as he bounced back by beating Mark De La Rosa. Riding that momentum, Perez will fight Jordan Espinosa high up on this card. Espinosa sees himself in Perez’s position, attempting to come off his first loss in the UFC, which was also a first-round stoppage. On Saturday, another fighter will likely see their second loss in the big leagues.

Bout 11: Rafael dos Anjos (29-12) vs. Michael Chiesa (15-4) (Welterweight)

Michael Chiesa has been undefeated since making the switch from lightweight to welterweight back in 2018. He has defeated Carlos Condit and Diego Sanchez, and now eyes to beat Rafael dos Anjos in the co-main event slot of this card. “RDA” has lost quite a bit recently, however it’s worth noting his losses have come to notable names in the division. He lost an interim Welterweight Championship fight to Colby Covington in 2018 at UFC 225. He then lost to current champion Kamaru Usman, going to decision. He has most recently lost to Leon Edwards, defeating Kevin Lee before then. While Chiesa is being pitted against someone who has lost more than they have won recently, dos Anjos is the biggest welterweight challenge he has gotten so far.

Bout 12: Curtis Blaydes (12-2) vs. Junior dos Santos (21-6) (Heavyweight)

Main eventing in Raleigh will be Curtis Blaydes and Junior dos Santos. The battle is one between one of the division’s rising stars and a more experienced veteran. Of course the star is Blaydes, with the more experienced being Santos. Blaydes holds an impressive 12-2 record, with the two defeats coming via fights against Francis Ngannou. He is on a two-fight winning streak, going through Justin Willis and Shamil Abdurakhimov. 

Santos’ last win gives him a way to relate to Blaydes, as he lost to Ngannou back in June. He failed to fight Alexander Volkov in November, falling victim to a bacterial infection. Santos is most known for his 2011 UFC Heavyweight Championship run, which saw him dethrone Cain Velasquez. After a defence against Frank Mir, Santos lost the belt in a rematch against Velasquez. Both Blaydes and Santos are highly ranked in the division, and a win could put them in closer reach to Stipe Miocic’s Heavyweight belt. With that being said, there are a lot of bidders for that title shot at the moment.

UFC will take next weekend off, returning on the 8th with UFC 247 in Houston, Texas, USA. Headlining that card will be Jon Jones putting his UFC Light Heavyweight Championship on the line against undefeated Dominick Reyes.

Francis Ngannou Defeats Junios dos Santos in Heavyweight Eliminator Bout

On Saturday, Francis Ngannou made himself next in line for a shot at the UFC Heavyweight Championship, defeating Junior dos Santos in quick fashion. Just over a minute into the first of five rounds, Ngannou caught dos Santos with punches, dropping him and making referee Herb Dean end the fight. Ngannou’s victory happened at the Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA, in front of 10 thousand fans live in attendance.

Defeating the #3 seed in the heavyweight division, he is lined up to face the winner of Daniel Cormier versus Stipe Miocic, which goes down on August 17th. He made it clear that this fight is what he wants, touching on it in the post-fight interview.

The co-main event of the show had another eliminator bout, as #2 seeded flyweight Joseph Benavidez defeated #3 seed Jussier Formiga in the second round with punches. The current flyweight champion is Henry Cejudo, who recently defeated Marlon Moraes to become a two-division champion.

UFC holds a flagship event next week, with a two championship event happening as part of their “International Fight Week.” Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones will face Thiago Santos with Bantamweight Champion Amanda Nunes fighting Holly Holm in the fight before.

UFC on ESPN 3: N’Gannou vs. Dos Santos Full Report

A week before UFC’s next PPV, Minneapolis, Minnesota hosted a heavyweight clash between Francis Ngannou and Junior Dos Santos. Along with the main event was 11 other fights, including six on the prelims. Let’s first look at how the preliminary card went down.

Bout 1: Junior Albini (14-5) vs. Maurice Greene (7-3) (Heavyweight)

Fittingly, the evening started with a heavyweight fight. Junior Albini faced Maurice Greene, who was fighting in his home state. Early in the first round, Greene landed a combination of punches which shook Albini. Halfway into the round, Albini was dropped by punches. When they got back up Albini had Greene retreating with some punches. Albini was taken down by punches once again with a minute and a half left in the round, with Greene landing a few more punches before referee Jason Herzog called an end to the bout.

My Scorecard:

FighterRound 1Round 2Round 3Total
Albini



Greene



Bout 2: Amanda Ribas (6-1) vs. Emily Whitmire (4-2) (Strawweight)

In the next bout, we had a fight between two Strawweights who have small MMA records. This was also Ribas’ UFC debut. In the first round, Ribas got on Whitmire’s back while she was standing. She tried for a rear naked choke for over a minute. They eventually went to the ground where Ribas’ control continued. Whitmire was able to turn herself over and take top position on Ribas. After battling up against the cage in the second round Ribas took down Whitmire again. In top position, she landed some punches and then tried for the rear naked choke again. Whitmire tapped out shortly after. She gave a very grateful in the interview afterwards.

My Scorecard:

FighterRound 1Round 2Round 3Total
Ribas10


Whitmire9


Bout 3: Dequan Townsend (21-8) vs. Dalcha Lungiambula (9-1)  (Light Heavyweight)

Continuing with the prelims, Dequan Townsend fought Dalcha Lungiambula in a light heavyweight contest. There was a clear height difference between the fighters with Townsend having the advantage. Both fighters showcased their fast and powerful punches early on. They clinched up against the cage after an exchange of punches. Lumbiambula tried to throw Townsend on the ground but they got back up shortly. They stayed on the ground for longer when Lungiambula tripped Townsend. He landed another takedown when they got back up. Lunbiambula landed another takedown within the first minute of the second round. The fight stayed on the ground until the final 10 seconds of the round when the referee stood them up. In the first 30 seconds of the final round, Lungiambula dropped Townsend with punches. He landed a few more on the ground before it was ended.

My Scorecard:

FighterRound 1Round 2Round 3Total
Townsend99

Lunbiambula1010

Bout 4: Dan Moret (13-5) vs. Jared Gordon (14-3) (Lightweight)

In the next bout Dan Moret battled Jared Gordon. In the second minute of the fight Gordon landed a takedown on Moret after taking a head kick. Moret fought his way back to his feet eventually. He landed knees in a clinch which woke up the crowd. Moret started to string together punches on the feet. Moret got a takedown but they stood back up against the cage right after. Gordon tried for a takedown early in the second, but Moret reversed it into a leg sweep which gave him a takedown instead. Moret tried for a rear naked choke and an armbar. Gordon landed some strikes by standing up and punching Moret who was on the ground. Moret put in a rear naked choke early in the third round after Gordon slipped from a kick. Gordon got out of it and went back to hitting Moret from top position. Moret escaped being smothered by Gordon with a minute and a half left in the round. Gordon shot for a takedown but Moret turned it into a scenario where he could take his back. Gordon was on his back but was just able to turn around and take top position yet again. The fight became the first one of the night to go the distance, with the judges giving it to Jared Gordon (30-27, 30-27 29-28).

My Scorecard:

FighterRound 1Round 2Round 3Total
Moret109928
Gordon9101029

Bout 5: Vinicius Moreira (9-2) vs. Eryk Anders (11-4) (Light Heavyweight)

In the next fight we had Vinicius Moriera and Eryk Anders squared off. In the opening seconds of the fight Moreira tried to land a takedown but instead found himself on bottom position. They stood back up quickly, with Moreira trying for a single leg takedown. Anders got out of the predicament and caught Moreira in an awkward position, being able to land punches on him. Anders landed tons of strikes until the referee ended the fight. Afterwards the commentators were scrutinizing the referee for stopping the fight so late.

My Scorecard:

FighterRound 1Round 2Round 3Total
Moreira



Anders



Bout 6: Journey Newson (9-1) vs. Ricardo Ramos (12-2) (Bantamweight)

Finishing off the preliminary portion of the card was Journey Newson and Ricardo Ramos. The reach and height differential significantly benefitted Ramos. The first round had evenly matched striking until Newson tried for a takedown but he found Ramos on his back. Ramos tried for a rear naked choke but Newson escaped. Newson tried for a guillotine but wasn’t successful either. They went back to stand-up as the round wound down. The second round was purely stand-up with neither fighter having a shining moment. In the final round Ramos landed a takedown but was immediately put in a guillotine. Ramos escaped and slammed down Newson when they were standing up against the cage. With a minute left in the final round, Ramos landed a spinning elbow which dropped Newson. Newson got back on his feet quickly and endured the rest of the round. The two fighters went the three scheduled rounds. All three judges had Ricardo Ramos winning all of the rounds (30-27, 30-27 & 30-27).

My Scorecard:

FighterRound 1Round 2Round 3Total
Newson910928
Ramos1091029

Bout 7: Paul Craig (11-3) vs. Alonzo Menifield (8-0) (Light Heavyweight)

Starting off the main card was yet another light heavyweight bout, with Alonzo Menifield putting his undefeated record on the line against Paul Craig. After Craig was up against the cage for a minute or so, he failed to land a takedown. Craig kept trying to take the fight to the ground but couldn’t. Menifield wasn’t landing anything hard on stand-up but was consistently walking down Craig. After Craig failed to do a spinning kick, Menifield caught Craig with punches which dropped him and ended the fight.

My Scorecard:

FighterRound 1Round 2Round 3Total
Craig



Menifield



Bout 8: Polo Reyes (8-6) vs. Drew Dober (20-9) (Lightweight)

In the next bout, Polo Reyes fought Drew Dober in a lightweight bout. Early on Dober was landing good strikes. Reyes was dropped but recovered and got back to his feet. When Reyes was knocked down a second time, referee Jason Herzog stepped in to end the bout.

My Scorecard:

FighterRound 1Round 2Round 3Total
Reyes



Dober



Bout 9: Vinc Pichel (11-2) vs. Roosevelt Roberts (8-0) (Lightweight)

Making it two lightweight bouts in a row, Vinc Pichel fought Roosevelt Roberts. Roberts looked to be the second person on this card to extend their undefeated record. The first round had some pretty close striking between both fighters. Roberts slammed Pichel on his head in the final minute of the first. The second round had more close striking. On the ground Pichel took top position as the round came to a close. Pichel landed a takedown a minute into the final round. Pichel put in a standing guillotine but eventually let it go. When the fight went back to the ground, Pichel was dominant on the ground. He took Roberts’ back, and then went into top position when Roberts rolled over. The fight went all three rounds with the fighters being respectful towards each other afterwards. All three judges gave the fight to Vinc Pichel (29-28, 29-28 & 29-28).

My Scorecard:

FighterRound 1Round 2Round 3Total
Pichel9101029
Roberts109928

Bout 10: Anthony Rocco Martin (16-4) vs. Demain Maia (26-9) (#12) (Welterweight)

In the next fight, we saw a Minnesota fighter in Anthony Rocco Martin versus veteran fighter Demian Maia. Maia went after a takedown in the first round and landed it. He was dominant on the ground for the majority of the round. In the second round Maia failed for a takedown early. He landed it upon second attempt. With the final 30 seconds left in the round, the referee stood them up. The final round had Martin showcase his successful stand-up. The fight came to a close while Martin was hitting a grounded Maia. The judges gave the fight to Demain Maia (29-28, 29-28 & 28-28).

My Scorecard:

FighterRound 1Round 2Round 3Total
Martin991028
Maia1010929

Bout 11: Joseph Benavidez (27-5) (#2) vs. Jussier Formiga (23-5) (#1) (Flyweight)

In the co-main event of the show, the top two ranked Flyweights in Joseph Benavidez and Jussier Formiga faced each other. The first round had some back and forth striking. Benavidez got a cut near his left eye in the first round. Formiga landed a good takedown in the second round. As the second round was coming to a close, Benavidez started to string together punches that made Formiga fall. The referee intervened, ending the bout.

My Scorecard:

FighterRound 1Round 2Round 3Total
Benavidez10


Formiga9


Bout 12: Junior Dos Santos (21-5) (#3) vs. Francis Ngannou (13-3) (#2) (Heavyweight)

In the main event of the evening, #2 ranked heavyweight Francis Ngannou fought #3 ranked Junior Dos Santos. Early on, Dos Santos made Ngannou slip with a leg kick. Ngannou threw a right hook which landed well. Dos Santos turned his back to Ngannou after throwing a hook, which allowed Ngannou to punch him many times. He got dropped and was hit a few more times before Herb Dean stepped in to end it. In just over a minute, Francis Ngannou got the victory. After the fight he said he wants to face the winner between Stipe Miocic and Daniel Cormier.

My Scorecard:

FighterRound 1Round 2Round 3Round 4Round 5Total
Ngannou





Dos Santos





As previously mentio ned, UFC will be holding a PPV event next weekend. In the main event of UFC 239, Jon Jones will attempt to defend his light heavyweight championship against Thiago Santos. In the co-main, Amanda Nunes will defend the bantamweight championship against Holly Holm.