UFC Vegas 19 features some important fights in both the heavyweight and women’s bantamweight divisions.
UFC Vegas 19 is the next edition of action brought to viewers from the UFC. This is yet another show with heavyweights at the top of the card as Curtis Blaydes and Derrick Lewis stand ready to battle in the main event. Even with those two giants fighting at the top of the card, there are other reasons to get excited about another event at the UFC Apex. Here are three reasons to watch UFC Vegas 19: Blaydes vs. Lewis.
Figuring out the UFC heavyweight division
The heavyweight division within the UFC is very top-heavy. Blaydes and Lewis represent two of the highest-ranked men in the group, sitting at number two and four, respectively. Stipe Miocic is poised to fight Francis Ngannou for the second time at UFC 260 in March, but the rest of the division needs to continue to flesh itself out to see who is next in the queue. Lewis and Blaydes are two men that have a history with Ngannou and should not be counted out as title challengers if they were to get a shot at the gold.
Blaydes and Lewis present two sides of a coin that is flipped all too frequently within the UFC. On one hand, there’s Blaydes a man who has put together an impressive tenure in the Octagon. With a 9-2-1 record, it still feels like he is miles away from a title shot. This may be due to his wrestling-based fighting style which does not win him a lot of fans, particularly with UFC President Dana White. Being effective is not enough when excitement is usually one of the driving factors behind which fights are made at the top of the card.
However, Lewis fits all the excitement and entertainment that mainstream and hardcore MMA fans enjoy. In one moment, he can deliver a knockout finish and then come up with a funny one-liner during the post-fight interview. Lewis’s record is not as strong as Blaydes and he is already suffered one defeat in a heavyweight title fight. Still, if he picks up a big win on Saturday no one should be surprised if he is on the shortlist of men to fight for the title.
Vieira and Kunitskaya battle for bantamweight relevance
Amanda Nunes lords over both the women’s featherweight and bantamweight divisions like the Lioness she uses as a nickname. The question is how much longer she will continue to do so, as she is hinted at the possibility of walking away from the sport. If that is the case, women in both divisions need each win they can muster to be able to either challenge Nunes or fight for the title once an opportunity opens. Ketlen Vieira and Yana Kunitskaya can do so on Saturday.
The women’s bantamweight division is deeper than some perceive it to be. Both Vieira and Kunitskaya were talked about as they could be challengers for Nunes, but setbacks hit them both right when they were at a spot where another win would push them into the title shot. Both ladies rebounded with victories and now they are in the position to fight each other for an opportunity to break through to the top five in the division.
How much more does Andrei Arlovski have left?
Twenty-one years ago, Andrei Arlovski made his UFC debut at UFC 28. He is a multiple-time champion and competed across the world for nearly every major promotion. A few days ago, he celebrated his 42nd birthday, and he heads back to the Octagon once again, riding a two-fight win streak. It is hard to imagine a world for Arlovski cracks the top ten of the division, but he has made a second career out of surprising people with the outcomes of this battle. Father Time is undefeated, but Arlovski has done a great job holding him off if he can, and UFC Vegas 19 is another battle in that on-going war.