PIVOTAL HEAVYWEIGHT CONTENDERS’ BOUT BETWEEN
(#2) CURTIS BLAYDES AND (#4) DERRICK LEWIS
AT UFC® APEX IN LAS VEGAS
(#6) KETLEN VIEIRA vs. (#7) YANA KUNITSKAYA
(#10) ALEKSEI OLEINIK vs. CHRIS DAUKAUS
UFC® continues its run of events at UFC APEX with a clash of top five heavyweight contenders, as No. 2 ranked Curtis Blaydes takes on No. 4 Derrick Lewis. In the co-main event, No. 6 ranked women’s bantamweight contender Ketlen Vieira faces No. 7 Yana Kunitskaya.
UFC FIGHT NIGHT®: BLAYDES vs. LEWIS will take place Saturday, February 20 from UFC APEX in Las Vegas. The entire card will be on ESPN+, with the main card available in English and Spanish, starting at 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT and the prelims at 5 p.m. ET / 2 p.m. PT.
Blaydes (14-2 1NC, fighting out of Chicago, Ill.) looks to continue his dominant win streak with a show-stealing performance. A Junior College National wrestling champion, Blaydes has beaten many of the top heavyweights in MMA. During his UFC run, he has delivered impressive wins over Alistair Overeem, Mark Hunt and Junior dos Santos. Blaydes now aims to stake his claim for a title shot by snapping Lewis’ momentum to secure his fifth consecutive victory.
Fan favorite Lewis (24-7, 1 NC, fighting out of Houston, Texas) crowned himself as the greatest knockout artist in UFC heavyweight history in his last bout after landing a record-setting 11th KO. A former boxer under the tutelage of George Foreman, Lewis holds impressive finishes over Alexander Volkov, Travis Browne and Gabriel Gonzaga. He now strives to secure another shot at the title by becoming only the second person to stop Blaydes.
Vieira (11-1, fighting out of Manaus, Amazonas, Brazil) looks to kick off 2021 by delivering another head-turning performance against a top contender. Since joining UFC the roster in 2016, the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt has earned impressive victories over former women’s bantamweight title challengers Sara McMann and Cat Zingano. Vieira now looks to hold her spot on the 135-pound ladder by stopping Kunitskaya.
Former women’s featherweight title challenger Kunitskaya (13-5 1NC, fighting out of Coconut Creek, Fla. by way of Saint Petersburg, Russia) quickly made waves after dropping down to the UFC’s 135-pound division. A lifelong martial artist, she has netted memorable victories over Julija Stoliarenko, Marion Reneau and Lina Lansberg since joining the world’s largest MMA promotion in 2018. Kunitskaya now hopes become only the second fighter to defeat Vieira and continue her climb up the ranks.
Additional bouts on the card include:
- Charles Rosa (13-4, fighting out of Boca Raton, Fla. by way of Peabody, Mass.) squares off with Darrick Minner (25-11, fighting out of Nebraska City, Neb.) in an exciting featherweight bout
- No. 10 ranked heavyweight contender Aleksei Oleinik (59-14-1, fighting out of Moscow, Russia) makes his 75th professional appearance against rising Chris Daukaus (10-3, fighting out of Philadelphia, Penn.)
- Former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski (30-19 2NC, fighting out of Coconut Creek, Fla.) goes for his third straight win against rising prospect Tom Aspinall (9-2, fighting out of Liverpool, London)
- Dana White’s Contender Series veteran Phil Hawes (9-2, fighting out of Albuquerque, N.M.) hopes to deliver another highlight-reel finish when he takes on Nassourdine Imavov (9-2, fighting out of Paris, France) at middleweight
- Jared Gordon (16-4, fighting out of Queens, N.Y.) hopes to halt the momentum of Danny Chavez (11-3, fighting out of Miami, Fla.) in a featherweight bout
- Due to COVID-19 protocol, Drakkar Klose (11-2-1, fighting out of Glendale, Ariz.) now meets replacement opponent Luis Pena (8-3, fighting out of Gilroy, Calif.) at lightweight
- Former WEC bantamweight champion Eddie Wineland (24-14-1, fighting out of Chesterton, Ind.) faces John Castaneda (14-3, fighting out of Minneapolis, Minn.)
- Nate Landwehr (14-3, fighting out of Clarksville, Tenn.) locks horns with Julian Erosa (24-9, fighting out of Las Vegas, Nev.) in a featherweight bout
- Shana Dobson (4-4, fighting out of Fort Worth, Texas) hopes to build off her biggest victory to date when she takes on Casey O’Neill (5-0, fighting out of Gold Coast, Australia) at flyweight
- Tristar Gym standout Aiemann Zahabi (7-2, fighting out of Montreal, Canada) returns to the Octagon against Drako Rodriguez (7-1, fighting out of Sioux City, Iowa) at bantamweight
- Serghei Spivac (11-2, fighting out of Chisinau, Republic of Moldova) looks to build off the momentum of his most recent victory when he faces Dana White’s Contender Series signee Jared Vanderaa (11-4, fighting out of Hemet, Calif.)
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