UFC Fight Night 146 Main Card
Junior dos Santos vs. Derrick Lewis
In this heavyweight main event we’ll see how former champion Dos Santos’ technical boxing goes up against Lewis’ far less refined, but exceptionally heavy-handed brawling.
JDS is certainly the better all-round striker, but his chin has been compromised over the years and that means he has to be extremely careful against Lewis, who has proven that he still needs just one punch to end a fight, even when he appears to be on the verge of exhaustion.
Dos Santos knows how to fight to avoid putting his chin in frequent danger though as he moves well, dictates the distance, cuts angles and can still land effectively from the outside.
Lewis is exceptionally tough, so even a hard-hitter like dos Santos may be trouble putting him away, but I’m going to take him to be the matador to ‘The Black Beast’s’ bull and pick him apart from range to claim a decision victory.
Prediction: Junior dos Santos wins by decision – Bet Now
Curtis Millender vs. Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos
This should be an interesting welterweight scrap between two fighters who are putting together nice runs in the division, without getting too much recognition for it.
Dos Santos in particular has compiled a six-fight winning streak in the UFC and has a habit of finding himself in entertaining encounters, and with his capoeira background he’s got some spectacular strikes in his arsenal.
That kind of creativity could be important here as he looks to land on Millender, who is an assured kickboxer with a 4” height and 5” reach advantage over him.
Dos Santos will press forward regardless though, keeps up a high tempo from start to finish and also should have the advantage on the mat if the fight goes there as Millender doesn’t have much to offer when he’s not on his feet, so with that in mind I’m leaning towards the Brazilian to claim a late stoppage victory here.
Prediction: Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos to win by TKO in Rd3 – Bet Now
Niko Price vs. Tim Means
Both of these welterweights are capable of finishing fights, although the way they go about it is markedly different.
Means is an all-action fighter who will bring the fight to Price with a high volume of strikes including long punches from range and nasty knees and vicious elbow strikes in close.
Price is unlikely to match that tempo, but won’t necessarily be phased by it as he possesses big power and has somewhat of an opportunistic, instinctive knack for finding a way to victory inside the distance even when he appears to be down on the scorecards.
Means has been in a lot more wars over the years than Price, which likely have taken a bit of a toll on him by this stage, but he’s still a tough customer and I’ll take his constant work rate to win the day by decision over his opponent’s chances of landing that one big punch that ends the fight.
Prediction: Tim Means to win by decision – Bet Now
Ben Rothwell vs. Blagoy Ivanov
Injuries and a drug suspension have kept Rothwell out of action for almost three years, so it’s by no means certain what kind of shape he’s going to be in as he finally makes his comeback.
Rothwell has always been a bit of an oddball and has a striking style to match that’s somewhat awkward, but as a result can catch fighters off-guard, and he has good power.
Ivanov is a tough, durable fighter who can be aggressive on the feet, but will be giving up 5” in height and 7” inch reach, so he may be better of trying to use his grappling instead to get the better of Rothwell, though he’s no slouch on the mat either.
This is a tricky one to predict given Rothwell’s long layoff. However, despite the risk of ring rust I think his size and unconventional style might throw off Ivanov, allowing him to edge his way to a decision victory.
Prediction: Ben Rothwell to win by decision – Bet Now
Beneil Dariush vs. Drew Dober
On paper Dober appears to be performing much better than Dariush, with a 5-1 record from his last six Octagon encounters, compared to a 3-2-1 run, but Dariush has consistently been facing a significantly higher level of opposition.
Dober is a fairly solid all-rounder though who is at his best on the feet and should have the edge in that regard, particularly as Dariush’s chin is questionable.
That being said, Dariush is still dangerous upright, though it’s his grappling that’s his real strong suit, and given his indifferent form of late and two trouble knockout losses in the last couple of years I think he’s going to be eager to get this fight down to the mat sooner rather than later.
Dober can wrestle, but I think Dariush is just going to prove to be a bit too much for him to handle and will come away with a second round submission victory.
Prediction: Beneil Dearish to win by submission in Rd2 – Bet Now
Omari Akhmedov vs. Tim Boetsch
Boetsch has started signalling that retirement may be imminent at 38 in the lead up to this fight, which never inspires a great deal of confidence, but on the other hand the younger Akhmedov has been out of action for 15 months due to injuries, leaving question marks about him too.
Boetsch has always been somewhat of a middle-of-the-road fighter, never really building up a major head of steam in the UFC, but still managing to be solid enough all-rounder to stick around for the long haul.
Boetsch has power, but can be quite plodding on the feet, while Akhmedov throws hooks with reckless abandon, which makes him dangerous, but can also leave him quickly burning through his energy reserves, leaving him vulnerable later on in the fight.
Akhmedov is a good wrestler and that could pay dividends here, but Boetsch has decent wrestling of his own, though he is vulnerable to submissions.
Nevertheless, If Boetsch can just hang tough in the early going I believe he might well be able to overwhelm his tiring opponent in the second half of the fight to emerge with a late TKO stoppage.
Prediction: Tim Boetsch to win by TKO in Rd3 – Bet Now
UFC Fight Night 146 Prelims
(Predicted winners in bold)
Sergio Moraes vs. Anthony Rocco Martin
Marion Reneau vs. Yana Kunitskaya
Julian Erosa vs. Grant Dawson
Jeff Hughes vs. Maurice Greene
Louis Smolka vs. Matt Schnell
Zak Ottow vs. Alex Morono
Alex White vs. Dan Moret