MMA ODDS AND ENDS FOR WEDNESDAY: HIGH-PROFILE UFC HEAVYWEIGHTS BACK IN ACTION

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Quite a few UFC heavyweights have been booked for upcoming bouts, and I’ll present my thoughts on these 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 in a yet-to-be-determined UFC event in March. MMA.bg first broke the news of this bout and Rothwell’s return into the Octagon. Rothwell (36-10) is 6-4 overall in the UFC dating back to 2009. He’s fought only once a year, owing in part as a result of injuries and also to drug suspensions. He has not 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 banned substances. But before the loss to JDS, Rothwell had won four fights in a row such as a TKO win over Alistair Overeem. He should immediately jump back in the top-15 if he returns to the cage. Ivanov (16-2, 1 NC) also lost a decision to JDS in his final struggle, which was his UFC debut. Prior to that he’d won five straight fights in WSOF/PFL. I believe Ivanov will seem better than how he did against JDS, but I’d still have to lean Rothwell here just due to his expertise 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, 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 apparent victories over Tai Tuivasa and Blagoy Ivanov. Lewis (21-6, 1 NC) is coming off of a submission loss to Daniel Cormier in his unsuccessful bid to win the UFC heavyweight title, but’d conquered Francis Ngannou and Alexander Volkov before that. This ought to be a top quality fight between two hard-hitting heavyweights, but JDS is the much more well-rounded fighter and I expect him to be the favored here, though of course Lewis has a puncher’s chance. I would still expect JDS to be a 2-to-1 favorite here.
UFC Fight Night 146 vs. Daniel Spitz, jeff Hughes As well, top heavyweight prospect Jeff Hughes will create his Octagon debut against Daniel Spitz in UFC Fight Night 146. The news was reported by the Nolan King of floCombat. Hughes (10-1) has won four straight fights such as a KO win over Josh Appelt on Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series to get him signed into the UFC. Prior to that 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 at the UFC with reductions to Walt Harris and Mark Godbeer and a TKO win to Anthony Hamilton. The UFC has reserved Hughes a very winnable fight because of his Octagon debut here against a man like Spitz who does not seem to be UFC-caliber by any means. I’d expect Hughes for a giant favored to win this fight.
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