UFC Vegas 15 will feature a title elimination fight, young fighters looking to make a splash, and much more.
A heavyweight showdown between No. 2 ranked Curtis Bladyes (14-2) and No. 4 ranked Derrick Lewis (24-7) is set to headline UFC Vegas 15 on ESPN + this Saturday night. After sending shots each other’s way over the last few years these two heavyweight contenders finally meet, but the stakes are higher than ever now as the winner of this fight could earn a title shot. Blaydes enters the bout on a four-fight win streak that includes a unanimous decision victory over Alexander Volkov and a second-round TKO of Junior dos Santos. Lewis, a former heavyweight title challenger, picked up a TKO finish of Alexey Oleynik back in August to make it three straight wins for “The Black Beast”. As it always is with the heavyweights, this one is a must-watch.
Here are 3 reasons to watch UFC Vegas 15.
Number one contender’s fight
Blaydes has a skill set that is uncommon in the heavyweight division. He’s a phenomenal wrestler with vicious ground and pound and ever-improving striking on the feet. Lewis, the owner of the most knockouts in UFC heavyweight history, has the power to shut the lights off of anybody that stands in front of him, at any time of the fight. These two have been staples of the top 10 heavyweight rankings for several years now and the winner of Saturday’s main event could very well find themselves fighting for the heavyweight title in their next outing. That, of course, would be after No. 1 contender Francis Ngannou finally gets his well-deserved rematch with the champion, Stipe Miocic, first. Behind Ngannou, the only two challengers for the belt that make since are Blaydes and Lewis – both of whom have a history with Ngannou. Blaydes has been stopped twice by Ngannou, while Lewis picked up a decision victory over “The Predator” in a bizarre, lackluster fight back at UFC 226.
Can Anthony Smith get back on track? Or does Devin Clark enter into the top 15?
Anthony Smith (33-16) steps into the Octagon this Saturday on a two-fight losing streak and with a taste of defeat in three of his last four bouts. For the former light heavyweight title challenger, who’s had minimal success in his losses to the ageless Glover Teixeira and Aleksandar Rakic, this co-main event matchup with Devin Clark (12-4) is a must-win. On the flip side, this is a huge opportunity for the 32-year-old Clark to make a statement and enter the top 15 of the division. A win over the No. 6 ranked light heavyweight, Smith, would make it three straight wins for Clark and give him a strong case to receive another highly ranked opponent next.
Prospects to watch: Miguel Baeza and Su Mudaerji
Miguel Baeza is a prospect to watch at UFC Vegas 15. A Dana White’s Contender Series vet of Season 3, “Caramel Thunder”, carries an unbeaten record of 9-0 to the Octagon when he takes on Takashi Sato (16-3) in a welterweight bout. Seven of Baeza’s wins have come via KO/TKO which includes his UFC debut where he dropped Hector Aldana with a leg kick and got the stoppage with elbows and his second fight under the banner when he knocked out UFC vet Matt Brown in the second round. It’ll be nice to see the growth of Baeza and his powerful striking since his last bout in May.
Another prospect to keep an eye on is Su Mudaerji (12-4). With 11 finishes to his name, Mudaerji is already a name to keep an eye on in the bantamweight division at just 24 years of age. Mudaerji is a well-equipped fighter with flashy striking who also trains with Dagestani wrestlers, so you know he’s well versed on the ground. After losing his UFC debut, Mudaerji bounced back in his second Octagon appearance with an impressive unanimous decision victory over Andre Soukhamthath where judges scored it 30-26, 30-26, and 30-25. Mudaerji takes on Malcolm Gordon (12-4) on the preliminary card this weekend on ESPN+.