There will be few cards this year to match the spectacular UFC 235 that took place last Saturday in Las Vegas. UFC Fight Night cards are somewhat the Triple-A versions of the main UFC cards, but it’s a solid Fight Night card this Saturday from Wichita, Kansas, headlined by a heavyweight bout between former champion Junior Dos Santos and Derrick Lewis. It’s the UFC’s first-ever visit to Kansas.
Dos Santos opened as a -210 favorite and is currently -225 on the UFC odds at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com, with Lewis shifting from +170 to +175. The 35-year-old Dos Santos (20-5), from Brazil, won the heavyweight belt back in 2011 over Cain Velasquez by a stunning first-round knockout as a +135 underdog. Dos Santos defended the belt in May 2012 with a second-round TKO of the legendary Frank Mir, but then Dos Santos lost the belt in a rematch with Velasquez at UFC 166 and really hasn’t been the same fighter since.
“Cigano” does enter on a two-fight winning streak, albeit against lesser names Tai Tuivasa and Blagoy Ivanov. Dos Santos is currently ranked No. 8 in the division.
Lewis (21-6), a 34-year-old American, is ranked No. 3. “The Black Beast” comes off a second-round submission (rear-naked choke) loss to current heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier at UFC 230. That was Cormier’s first heavyweight title defense. Lewis, who was +250 at betting sites for that bout, had earned the shot with an impressive third-round knockout of Alexander Volkov at UFC 229. When Lewis wins, it’s almost always by KO or TKO (86 percent of his 21 victories). This will be his fifth straight fight as an underdog.
Women’s bantamweight contenders Yana Kunitskaya (11-4) and Marion Reneau (9-4-1) were set to fight at UFC 233 in Anaheim, but that entire card was scratched and the bout moved here. Amanda Nunes, the No. 1 women’s pound-for-pound fighter in the world, reigns supreme over the bantamweight division with Reneau ranked sixth and Kunitskaya ninth. Neither of them has gotten a shot at Nunes yet.
Kunitskaya is a -190 favorite – she did fight former champion Cris Cyborg at UFC 222 but lost by first-round TKO. At 41, Reneau (+155) got a late start to MMA fighting. She comes off a loss to Cat Zingano (ranked No. 5 in division) last July in a bout that was essentially a pick’em. Reneau also has a loss to another former champion, Holly Holm, on her resume.