We just witnessed two crimes happen in the main event of UFC Vegas 19. Not only did Derrick Lewis murder Curtis Blaydes, he stole a future title shot that Curtis Blaydes had no doubt earned. Curtis Blaydes is as threatening as any heavyweight fighter there is, with the skill sets he possesses. But like how Tony Stark needed one snap, Derrick Lewis needed one perfectly timed uppercut from hell to send Blaydes to the Shadow Realm. A card that had its oddities serviced the fans spectacularly with knockouts with the fights that did happen. UFC Vegas 19 was also a platform that showcased the future of the heavyweight division. Let’s see where these main card fighter’s destinations will be on their pathway to the top.
Derrick Lewis def. Curtis Blaydes via second-round KO (1:26)
Mortal Kombat might be contacting Derrick Lewis soon after witnessing the shattering fatality he had over Curtis Blaydes. The world-renowned “Black Beast” silenced the doubters and even seemed to mock the haters as Blaydes laid there, moaning and groaning from the vicious after-shots. So after this momentum-changing result in the heavyweight division, what’s next for Lewis after UFC Vegas 19? As shocking as it sounds, it’s Jon “Bones” Jones. Here’s the argument.
Jon Jones is no longer the light heavyweight champion, so his claim at a title shot against Stipe takes a backseat to Francis Ngannou. Now, he is one of the greatest champions in UFC history. So, he should’ve kept the strap, have Jan and Dominick fight for the interim belt, claim the heavyweight championship, and come back down to claim GOAT status by facing Israel “The Last Stylebender” Adesanya to unify the LHW championship. But the world isn’t perfect.
The ironic thing was before Blaydes accepted the Lewis fight, he was supposedly being groomed to welcome Jones into the heavyweight division and solidify his claim to the next title shot after Ngannou. But fate has spoken. Lewis looks to stay active, and there isn’t anyone but the Houston native to welcome Jon into the heavyweight division. If anybody embodies the heavyweight division to its peak, it’s none other than the Black Beast.
Yana Kunitskaya def. Ketlen Vieira via UD (29-28 x3)
Yana Kunitskaya pinpointed one of the few flaws when someone utilizes jiu-jitsu against a stand-up fighter. If you hold on to someone with minimum activity, the judges won’t favor it for you, no matter how dominant the position (as mentioned by Michael Bisping on the ESPN broadcast). We witnessed that in the co-main event for UFC Vegas 19. Yana constantly was active with her striking, resulting in 170+ strikes, while Viera had only a mere 20+ strikes in the 15-minute UD victory for Kunistakaya. Kunitskaya made it count when she had the opportunity, leaving Ketlen bloody with last-second elbows in the third and final round. Kunitskaya should prep herself for the loser of Holly Holm vs. Julianna Pena. This fight will determine if she can enter title contention. Beating either Holm or Pena will set her up for a #1 contender’s title fight against another top contender.
Darrick Minner def. Charles Rosa via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 29-27)
Darrick Minner never stopped with his pressure in his UFC Vegas 19 main card fight. His offensive arsenal was put on display and forced Charles Rosa into the defensive on this main card bout. Even Rosa’s submission attempts were forms of defensive maneuvering instead of offensive threats. Minner was elated with joy as the final bell rang and he proclaimed his victory. Poor Rosa gave it his best shot, but Minner would not be stopped. Minner’s next ideal opponent should be against SBG’s own Makwan Amirkani. Both should give us a duel on the feet as well as the ground.
Chris Daukaus def. Aleksei Oleinik via first-round TKO (1:55)
In one of the heavyweight fights that were showcased tonight on UFC Vegas 19, Aleksei Oleinik made his best Overeem-guard impression. Still, alas, Chris Daukaus put away the longtime MMA veteran with punches in bunches. With the stars apparently aligning perfectly, both Chris and Tom Aspinall have verbally agreed to fight each other. This fight will most likely be the fight Dana makes for both gentlemen. For 2 men who are soaring through the heavyweight ranks, this is the perfect matchup.
Phil Hawes def. Nassourdine Imavov via majority decision (28-28, 29-28 x2)
Phil Hawes is a lucky man. The decision above would have read differently if Imavov could’ve connected with the perfect striking sequence. Hawes, by the whisker of his chinny-chin-chin, managed to hold on for his dear life and secure the judges’ majority decision. Not the best performance from the Sanford MMA product during UFC Vegas 19. But he did indeed claim his victory for the 2 rounds he seemed to edge over Nassourdine. Phil Hawes should look to rematch the former Miley Cyrus valentine Julian Marquez. Julian is coming off a 3rd round comeback submission victory against Maki Pitolo. This fight proves to Hawes that he is a changed fighter since the loss to the self-proclaimed Cuban Missile.
Tom Aspinall def. Andrei Arlovski via submission (RNC) (R2, 1:19)
The love child of Ben Askren and Frank Mir is Tom Aspinall. And just like his dad, Frank Mir (Yes, Ben Askren is the mom), his submission game is one not to take lightly. He gave us a glimpse during UFC Vegas 19 of how formidable his grappling was. Andrei had a momentary lapse of judgment, leading to Aspinall wrapping the pythons he calls arms; sunk in the game’s most feared submission, the Rear-Naked Choke. Aspinall is soaring fast thru the rankings. It will take someone with equal footing, who perhaps fought on the same UFC Vegas 19 card as him, to stop him. If the fight with Daukus isn’t made, a fight with Junior Dos Santos seems inevitable. Wins over Daukus and/or Dos Santos will determine if Aspinall is truly ready for the status of a top contender.
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