Ranked UFC heavyweights Curtis Blaydes and Derrick Lewis have the opportunity to make themselves the next title challenger on Saturday night, as they compete in a high-stakes main event at the UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA.
Follow along throughout the evening for live coverage of the show.
Preliminary Card (5:00PM EST / 2:00PM PST) (ESPN+ / TSN 5)
Main Card (8:00PM EST / 5:00PM EST) (ESPN+ / TSN 5)
Bout 12: Curtis Blaydes (14-2) vs. Derrick Lewis (24-7) (Heavyweight)
Lewis Floors Blaydes With Second-Round Uppercut KO
Derrick Lewis landed a perfectly timed uppercut to knock Curtis Blaydes out in the second round of their main event fight. The fight-ending shot came after Blaydes was seemingly shooting for a takedown, leaving himself open for a punch in the moment.
The opening round of the fight saw both fighters connect with shots. Blaydes started to look for takedowns come the second round.
Lewis saw his shot coming as Blaydes was pursuing takedowns.
“I knew the uppercut or knee was going to land,” said Lewis in his post-fight interview.
Lewis is now on a four-fight win streak. His current run includes a main event stoppage win against Aleksei Oleinik.
Blaydes was handed his third loss as a pro. He had four consecutive wins before Saturday, including a five-round decision win against Alexander Volkov last year.
Lewis was projected as an underdog heading into the fight. Now with his upset victory, he is one of the top heavyweights in the UFC.
Bout 11: Ketlen Vieira (11-1) vs. Yana Kunitskaya (13-5) (Bantamweight)
Kunitskaya Earns Close Decision Against Vieira
Yana Kunitskaya earned a decision victory in the co-main event, taking two out of three rounds against Ketlen Vieira (29-28, 29-28 & 29-28).
Vieira had scored numerous takedowns and put down more control time in the bout, although Kunitskaya was more active with strikes on the ground.
Vieira was cut by an elbow in the closing seconds. Damage from the blow caused heavy bleeding afterwards.
Kunitskaya’s previous bout was a decision win against former Invicta FC Bantamweight Champion Julija Stoliarenko.
Vieira missed weight for the fight by two pounds on Friday.
Bout 10: Darrick Minner (25-11) vs. Charles Rosa (13-4) (Featherweight)
Minner Sweeps Scorecards Against Rosa
Darrick Minner out-grappled Charles Rosa for an unanimous decision victory on the main card (30-26, 30-27 & 29-27).
Minner was able to score takedowns in all three rounds and then look for submissions on the round against Rosa.
Minner dropped Rosa early in the second round with punches. Minner followed Rosa to the ground after, attempting submissions and keeping control over him for most of the time. While Minner looked for submissions, Rosa was also able to get him in trouble with armbar attempts.
Minner has now won two of his three fights in the UFC. His previous showing saw him submit TJ Laramie within a minute with a guillotine choke.
Bout 9: Aleksei Oleinik (59-14-1) vs. Chris Daukaus (10-3) (Heavyweight)
Daukaus Continues Quick UFC Run With Victory Against Oleinik
Chris Daukaus continued his streak of first-round stoppage wins with a victory against Aleksei Oleinik. After stinging Oleinik with a right hand, Daukaus landed over a dozen shots before the referee stopped the fight.
Daukaus now has three wins in his rookie year in the UFC. He made his promotional debut in 2020 with a win against Parker Porter. His second bout lasted less than a minute, as he made quick work of Rodrigo Nascimento.
Oleinik was attempting to bounce back from a 2020 main event loss to Derrick Lewis.
Bout 8: Nassourdine Imavov (9-2) vs. Phil Hawes (9-2) (Middleweight)
Hawes Overcomes Striking Struggles For Majority Win
Takedowns and clinches earned Phil Hawes his second UFC victory on Saturday, as the middleweight overcame the striking of Nassourdine Imavov in a majority decision (28-28, 29-28 & 29-28).
Hawes kept Imavov defending throughout the fight with takedown attempts and work on the ground. Hawes would sometimes find himself in trouble due to strikes, although he would save himself in those scenarios with his clinching and takedown attempts. He was especially hurt in the closing moments of the bout, as Imavov was seemingly teeing off on him with punches before the round expired.
Hawes’ sole other UFC appearance was quick, as he was able to put away Jacob Malkoun in only 18 seconds with punches last year.
Imavov also earned his UFC debut win last year, defeating Jordan Williams in March.
The middleweight bout was originally set to happen in January, although it was postponed after Hawes was not medically cleared to fight.
Bout 7: Andrei Arlovski (30-19) vs. Tom Aspinall (9-2) (Heavyweight)
Aspinall Earns Third UFC Win, Defeats Veteran Arlovski In First Choke Victory
Tom Aspinall continued his undefeated UFC run on the main card by submitting veteran Andrei Arlovski in the second round with a rear naked choke. Aspinall scored a takedown just moments before securing the choke and earning a tap from Arlovski in the second round.
The bout was also Aspinall’s first win with a choke after 12 fights as a pro.
The fight was only the third time as a pro that Aspinall had fought beyond the first round. His two previous UFC fights saw him stop his opponents with punches in the first round.
Aspinall had Arlovski in trouble during the first round, landing a series of unanswered shots to the head and body against the cage. Arlovski was able to eventually leave the position and continue fighting.
Bout 6: Jared Gordon (16-4) vs. Danny Chavez (11-3) (Featherweight)
Gordon Puts on Well-Rounded Performance, Earns Decision Win Over Chavez
Jared Gordon earned a decision win over Danny Chavez on Saturday after a smothering three-round fight. Using his striking and takedowns, Gordon was able to control Chavez for most of the bout (30-27, 30-27 & 29-28).
The win was Gordon’s second consecutive victory. His previous bout was a decision win against Chris Fishgold.
Chavez entered the match with a four-fight win streak that included three bouts on the regional scene. His last win was a UFC debut victory against TJ Brown.
Gordon missed the non-championship featherweight limit for the fight, coming in at 150 pounds on Friday.
Bout 5: Eddie Wineland (24-14-1) vs. John Castaneda (17-5) (Bantamweight)
Castaneda Takes Wineland Out With Flurry of Punches
John Castaneda stormed forward with a combination of punches that stopped Eddie Wineland late in the first round of their fight. After hurting Wineland with a right hand, Castaneda then scored with numerous strikes that dropped the veteran and caused the referee to step in.
“As soon as I felt a good connection and I saw him stumble I just jumped on it,” said Castaneda after his win.
Castaneda was returning after earning his UFC debut win in 2020 against Nathaniel Wood.
Castaneda dedicated the fight to his aunt, who he mentioned passed away recently due to COVID-19.
Wineland was looking to return after taking a loss to Sean O’Malley last year. The bout was Wineland’s 40th as a pro.
Bout 4: Julian Erosa (24-8) vs. Nate Landwehr (14-3) (Featherweight)
Erosa Lands Flying Knee, Stops Landwehr Within A Minute
Julian Erosa put together a slick combination of strikes to stop Nate Landwehr in the first minute of their fight. Backing Landwehr up with shots, Erosa dropped him with a flying knee that made the referee stop the bout.
Landwehr protested the stoppage immediately afterwards.
The finish came after a hectic start to the bout that saw both fighters throwing wild punches.
“I was willing to deal with the pressure and I was willing to bring the pressure to him,” said Erosa in his post-fight interview.
Erosa started his second UFC run last year, defeating previously undefeated prospect Sean Woodson with a darce choke.
Landwehr’s last fight was in May, where he fought to a decision against Darren Elkins in a back-and-forth shootout. He had two bouts cancelled in 2020 due to COVID-19.
Bout 3: Shana Dobson (4-4) vs. Casey O’Neill (5-0) (Flyweight)
O’Neill Finishes Dobson With Strikes In Solid UFC Debut
Casey O’Neill won her UFC debut on Saturday night, stopping Shana Dobson in the second round with ground and pound.
O’Neill moved into full mount to land the fight-ending strikes that made the referee step in. She was able to keep Dobson on her back for most of the fight, coming forward and scoring takedowns throughout the two rounds of action.
“The easiest way to get the win would be to take her down,” reflected O’Neill in her post-fight interview.
Dobson was returning after an upset victory over Mariya Agapova in 2020.
The win for O’Neill extended her undefeated record to six wins.
Back Spasms Force Emmers Out of Bout Against Emmers Just Moments Before It Was Set To Happen
A featherweight bout between Chas Skelly and Jamall Emmers was cancelled on short notice during Saturday’s prelims. Emmers was forced out of the fight after “major back spasms” stopped him from competing.
Skelly had entered the UFC cage before the match was cancelled.
“No animosity [to Emmers], it sucks,” said Skelly in an interview afterwards. Skelly asked to get his win purse for the fight.
The bout was scheduled to be Skelly’s first since 2019. His last bout was a decision victory against Jordan Griffin.
Emmers had his last win in August, defeating Vince Cachero on scorecards.
Bout 2: Aiemann Zahabi (7-2) vs. Drako Rodriguez (7-1) (Bantamweight)
Zahabi Breaks Losing Streak, Hands Rodriguez UFC Debut Loss
Aiemann Zahabi snapped a two-fight skid with a first-round knockout against debuting fighter Drako Rodriguez. Zahabi floored Rodriguez in the opening round with a right hook, giving him his first stoppage win in the promotion.
Zahabi entered the fight after losing two of his past three bouts. He had last won in 2017, where he defeated Reginaldo Vieira via decision.
Rodriguez was one of the many “Dana White’s Contender Series” alum who were making their UFC debut on Saturday. Rodriguez submitted Mana Martinez on the show to be given a UFC contract.
The bantamweight bout was first scheduled for December, although it was pushed forward after Zahabi tested positive for COVID-19.
Rodriguez missed weight for the fight on Friday.
Bout 1: Serghei Spivac (11-2) vs. Jared Vanderaa (11-4) (Heavyweight)
Spivac Lands Ground and Pound For First Stoppage UFC Win
Serghei Spivac had a one-sided win against Jared Vanderaa to earn his first stoppage win since joining the UFC. Spivac earned the second-round win by putting together a barrage of unanswered ground and pound shots that made the referee intervene.
The finish came after two rounds where Spivac completely controlled Vanderaa on the ground.
Spivac is now on a two-fight win streak, with his previous bout being a majority decision win against Carlos Felipe.
The fight was Vanderaa’s UFC debut.
Vanderaa earned his UFC contract last year, defeating Harry Hunsucker on “Dana White’s Contender Series.”
Vanderaa was set to make his promotional debut against Spivac in December, however, the fight was postponed after he tested positive for COVID-19.
‘Fight Night’ Card Loses Drakkar Klose vs. Luis Pena
UFC’s “Fight Night” lineup suffered a loss on Saturday afternoon, as a bout between Drakkar Klose and Luis Pena was scratched from the lineup. Per a Tweet sent out by Pena, the fight was cancelled after a cornerman for Klose tested positive for COVID-19.
UFC’s show is now down to 13 fights in total.