Guide To UFC On ESPN 18: Blaydes vs. Lewis
Getting prepared for UFC action this coming Saturday? Here is everything you need to know about the event with our Guide to UFC On ESPN 18.
UFC On ESPN 18
Date: November 28, 2020
Location: UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada
Start Time: 10:00 p.m. ET, 7:00 p.m. PT
Where To Watch: ESPN2 & ESPN+
Heavyweights: Curtis Blaydes vs. Derrick Lewis
Overall Records: Blaydes 14-2 1 NC, Lewis 24-7 1 NC
UFC Records: Blaydes 9-2 1 NC, Lewis 15-5
Last Fight: Blaydes def. Volkov, UDEC, UFC On ESPN 11 (6/20/20), Lewis def. Oleinik, R2 TKO, UFC On ESPN+ 32 (8/8/20)
Last Five Fights: Blaydes 4-1, Lewis 3-2
Rankings: Blaydes #2, Lewis #4
Betting Odds: Blaydes -325, Lewis +265
Preview: The main event of this show is a doozy and a pivotal fight in the heavyweight division when it comes to the title picture. With UFC Heavyweight Champion Stipe Miocic expected to defend against Francis Ngannou in the early part of next year, the winner of this fight could find themselves in line to challenge the winner of that fight. Both men will need to make a statement, though, as Jon Jones is lurking in the shadows of his move up to the division.
Blaydes is coming in the winner of four straight fights, while Lewis is on a three-fight win streak. Blaydes’ strategy in fights is always clear from the onset of the start- he wants to take his opponent down and smother them on the mat. It doesn’t make for pretty fights at times, but Blaydes is focused on winning by whatever means necessary. Lewis is one of the most entertaining personalities in the sport, and he’s always guaranteed to give some memorable moments inside the Octagon. He is a heavy, heavy hitter and has some underrated wrestling and finds unique ways to get up if he’s on the bottom.
It is no guarantee that Blaydes is going to be able to keep him down, and Blaydes may be weary to stand-and-trade with Lewis. Lewis, at times, doesn’t fight up to his ability and Blaydes will exploit it. This is a really strong main event fight and a very interesting one at that and should provide some fireworks, or it has the potential to be a dull fight depending on how both men show up.
Light Heavyweights: Anthony Smith vs. Devin Clark
Overall Records: Smith 32-16, Clark 12-4
UFC Records: Smith 8-6, Clark 6-4
Last Fight: Rakic def. Smith, UDEC, UFC On ESPN+ 33 (8/29/20), Clark def. Menifield, UDEC, UFC 250 (6/6/20)
Last Five Fights: Smith 2-3, Clark 3-2
Rankings: Smith #6
Betting Odds: Smith -110, Clark -110
Preview: Smith is making another quick turnaround after a hard-fought loss as he takes a short-notice opportunity to get back into the win column against Clark, who has won two straight. Smith took a beating from Aleksandar Rakic in late August, which was coming quickly after he had taken another beating from Glover Teixeira in May. This time, Smith is coming back less than three months after the Rakic fight, where he took a lot of damage to his legs.
Clark is coming in off an impressive win over Alonzo Menifield in June, where he looked the best he has during his UFC run. After starting his UFC career with a 3–3 record, Clark has won three of his last four, and a win here could break him into the UFC rankings. Smith has the chance to end a rough 2020 on a good note, but Clark is looking to be a tough test again for him.
This is a real close fight on paper, which is surprising given where both stood in the division just a year ago.
Heavyweights: Josh Parisian vs. Parker Porter
Overall Records: Parisian 13-3, Porter 10-6
UFC Records: Parisian UFC Debut, Porter 0-1
Last Fight: Parisian def. Johnson, R1 KO, Dana White’s Contender Series 29 (8/18/20), Daukaus def. Porter, R1 TKO, UFC 252 (8/15/20)
Last Five Fights: Parisian 5-0, Porter 3-2
Betting Odds: Parisian -210, Porter +175
Preview: Parisian is finally making his UFC debut after two appearances on Dana White’s Contender Series and a season spent on The Ultimate Fighter. After losing his first fight after his stint on TUF, he has won six straight fights, all by knockout, with five of the wins coming in the first round. He gets a tough foe for his Octagon debut in Porter, who is looking to get into the win column after a disappointing debut.
Porter was finished in the first round by Chris Daukaus in August, but he showed some heavy hands. Porter has gotten a lot of praise from Jon Jones for being a good training partner and for being a better fighter than he showed, and Jones does hold a win over him when both were in the early stages of their careers. Porter has gotten nine of his ten wins by finish.
This one likely ends inside the fifteen minutes as both are hard hitters with a penchant to finish. It should be one of those heavyweight slobberknockers that may not be pretty, but will be memorable.
Welterweights: Miguel Baeza vs. Takashi Sato
Overall Records: Baeza 9-0, Sato 16-3
UFC Records: Baeza 2-0, Sato 2-1
Last Fight: Baeza def. Brown, R2 TKO, UFC On ESPN 8 (5/16/20), Sato def. Witt, R1 TKO, UFC On ESPN 12 (6/27/20)
Last Five Fights: Baeza 5-0, Sato 3-2
Betting Odds: Baeza -185, Sato +160
Preview: Two welterweights looking to knock out their opponents to get a main card spotlight here. Sato looks to hand Baeza his first career loss. Baeza has won nine straight fights to start his career, and is coming off of the signature win on his record, a knockout of Matt Brown in May. Seven of Baeza’s nine wins have come by knockout.
Sato is also a proven finisher, as 13 of his 16 wins have come by stoppage, including eleven wins by knockout. Sato also has been finished in all three of his losses, including a submission loss to Belal Muhammad in his lone UFC loss. These two will be looking to stand-and-trade and this has all the makings of a potential crazy fight on the feet.
Featherweights: Spike Carlyle vs. Bill Algeo
Overall Records: Carlyle 9-2, Algeo 13-5
UFC Records: Carlyle 1-1, Algeo 0-1
Last Fight: Quarantillo def. Carlyle, UDEC, UFC On ESPN 9 (5/30/20), Lamas def. Algeo, UDEC, UFC On ESPN+ 33 (8/29/20)
Last Five Fights: Carlyle 4-1, Algeo 3-2
Betting Odds: Carlyle -160, Algeo +140
Preview: A pair of featherweights with a penchant for action square off in the main card opener as both Carlyle and Algeo are looking to get back into the win column. Carlyle is coming off a decision loss to Billy Quarantillo in an exciting fight in May, while Algeo is coming off of sending Ricardo Lamas into retirement with a win, dropping a decision to him in August.
Algeo has more experience and has fought fellow UFC fighters Jared Gordon and Shane Burgos before they were in the UFC while Carlyle has proven to be the more potent finisher. Algeo prefers to keep it standing and has a tendency to land a lot of strikes, while Carlyle likes to look for the takedown. This is an interesting fight, and after looking at the betting odds, Algeo being the underdog is a surprise.
Start Time: 7:00 p.m. ET, 4:00 p.m. PT
Where To Watch: ESPN+
Women’s Bantamweights: Ashlee Evans-Smith vs. Norma Dumont
Overall Records: Evans-Smith 6-4, Dumont 4-1
UFC Records: Evans-Smith 3-4, Dumont 0-1
Last Fight: Lee def. Evans-Smith, UDEC, UFC On ESPN 1 (2/17/19), Anderson def. Dumont, R1 KO, UFC On ESPN+ 27 (2/29/20)
Last Five Fights: Evans-Smith 2-3, Dumont 4-1
Betting Odds: Evans-Smith +105, Dumont -125
Preview: This is a real toss-up fight between two women trying to build momentum. After a lengthy layoff due to injuries and the pandemic, Evans-Smith will make her long-awaited return to action for the first time since February 2019. She planned on a permanent move to flyweight but is moving back up to bantamweight for this bout. Speaking of changing weight classes, Dumont is dropping down to bantamweight for the first time after suffering a loss to Megan Anderson in February.
Both women have fought infrequently over their careers, as Evans-Smith has only ten fights over her nearly eight years of fighting, while Dumont has just five fights in her four-year career. Dumont is primarily a grappler, already scoring two wins by submission, while Evans-Smith likes to keep things standing. Three of Evans-Smith’s wins have been by knockout, though two of her losses were via by submission. A striking battle favors Evans-Smith, while the ground battle favors Dumont.
Bantamweights: Martin Day vs. Anderson Dos Santos
Overall Records: Day 8-4, Dos Santos 20-8
UFC Records: Day 0-2, Dos Santos 0-2
Last Fight: Grant def. Day, R3 KO, UFC 251 (7/11/20), Ewell def. Dos Santos, UDEC, UFC On ESPN+ 12 (6/22/19)
Last Five Fights: Day 3-2, Dos Santos 3-2
Betting Odds: Day -175, Dos Santos +155
Preview: A pair of bantamweights looking for their first UFC win in their third appearance takes place as Day battles Dos Santos. Day is coming off a knockout loss to Davey Grant on Fight Island in July in an exciting fight. Dos Santos is returning after being out of action since a decision loss to Andre Ewell in June 2019. Dos Santos has the big experience edge and holds a pre-UFC win over Ricky Simon, and he is a great submission fighter, with eleven wins by submission.
Day will have a good height and reach advantage, which he will use to keep Dos Santos at striking range. Day is the favorite in this fight, and I like his chances to score his first UFC win.
Women’s Flyweights: Gina Mazany vs. Rachael Ostovich
Overall Records: Mazany 6-4, Ostovich 4-5
UFC Records: Mazany 1-4, Ostovich 1-2
Last Fight: Avila def. Mazany, R1 TKO, UFC On ESPN 10 (6/13/20), Van Zant def. Ostovich, R2 SUB, UFC On ESPN+ 1 (1/19/19)
Last Five Fights: Mazany 2-3, Ostovich 2-3
Betting Odds: Mazany -145, Ostovich +125
Preview: After a long layoff, Ostovich finally steps back into the Octagon for the first time since January 2019. She has made a name for herself outside of fight action, but a USADA suspension and various things have kept her from competing. Mazany is fighting for the second time since returning to the UFC, and she’s dropping to flyweight for the very first time.
Neither woman have career records that stand out, but both are tough women that bring the fight to their opponents. Mazany is more of a finisher and Ostovich has been finished in all of her losses. Ostovich does like taking the fight to the mat and she has 100% takedown accuracy during her three UFC fights.
Ostovich is in bad need of a win and is hungry and a win would be great for her career, both inside and outside of the Octagon. Mazany is no easy foe, though. This will be an interesting test for both women.
Featherweights: Jonathan Pearce vs. Kai Kamaka
Overall Records: Pearce 9-4, Kamaka 8-2
UFC Records: Pearce 0-1, Kamaka 1-0
Last Fight: Lauzon def. Pearce, R1 TKO, UFC On ESPN 6 (10/18/19), Kamaka def. Kelley, UDEC, UFC 252 (8/15/20)
Last Five Fights: Pearce 4-1, Kamaka 5-0
Betting Odds: Pearce +325, Kamaka -400
Preview: Kamaka will make his second UFC appearance, and for the second time, he’s taking a fight on very short notice. That proved to be no problem for him in his decision win over Tony Kelley in August in a fun fight. Pearce is dropping to 145 pounds for his second Octagon appearance, as he looks to rebound from a first-round TKO loss to Joe Lauzon in October 2019. Fighting a veteran like Lauzon for your first UFC bout is a lot to ask for a Contender Series fighter, so this is a needed step back for him.
Kamaka has won six straight fights, and while he is exciting, only once in his career has he finished an opponent. Pearce, meanwhile, has eight wins by stoppage, with seven by knockout. Kamaka is a huge favorite in this fight, which is a surprise, considering he took this fight on just under two weeks’ notice, while Pearce has had a full training camp, though he was preparing for a much different opponent in Sean Woodson. This should be a fun fight and one where anything could happen.
Flyweights: Su Mudaerji vs. Malcolm Gordon
Overall Records: Mudaerji 12-4, Gordon 12-4
UFC Records: Mudaerji 1-1, Gordon 0-1
Last Fight: Mudaerji def. Soukhamthath, UDEC, UFC On ESPN+ 15 (8/31/19), Albazi def. Gordon, R1 SUB, UFC On ESPN+ 30 (7/18/20)
Last Five Fights: Mudaerji 3-2, Gordon 4-1
Betting Odds: Mudaerji -340, Gordon +280
Preview: After more than a year out of action, Mudaerji returns to action in a new weight class as he looks to score his second straight win. Gordon makes his second Octagon appearance and is looking to erase the sting of a quick submission loss to Amir Albazi on Fight Island in July. Gordon didn’t get a chance to really show off his skills that got him on the UFC radar, and Mudaerji gives him the opponent with a style that is good for him.
Mudaerji likes to stay on the feet and have wild exchanges, but he struggles with submission specialists, as all four of his losses have seen him tap. Gordon mixes everything well, and half of his wins have come by submission. There is plenty of room for flyweights to break into the title picture, and the winner will start moving their way up the ladder.
140-pound Catchweights: Luke Sanders vs. Nate Maness
Overall Records: Sanders 13-3, Maness 12-1
UFC Records: Sanders 3-3, Maness 1-0
Last Fight: Sanders def. Barao, R2 KO, UFC On ESPN 1 (2/17/19), Maness def. Munoz, UDEC, UFC On ESPN+ 31 (8/1/20)
Last Five Fights: Sanders 2-3, Maness 4-1
Betting Odds: Sanders -115, Maness -105
Preview: Sanders is returning from a long layoff looking to score his second straight win while Maness is gunning for his third straight win in his second UFC bout. Sanders is coming off a knockout win over former bantamweight champion Renan Barao in February 2019, but ring rust could be a factor after 21 months out of action. He has the Octagon experience edge over Maness and likes to keep the fight standing, though all three of his losses have come by result of being finished.
Maness should look for a finish because he was lucky to escape with a decision win over Johnny Munoz in his UFC debut as many felt Munoz won the fight. This should be a fun opener and is very much a toss-up fight according to the oddsmakers.