UFC 146 takes place on Saturday 9 March with the main event expected to go ahead at around 5.00am the following morning GMT. That’s a tough one for British fans to plan for but the action on offer will ensure those who do stay up late to follow the card will see it as a worthwhile exercise. Armchair fans can follow live on BT Sport. Here are our top Derrick Lewis v Junior Dos Santos betting tips.
The Intrust Bank Arena provides the backdrop as Derrick Lewis and Junior Dos Santos face off in the main attraction in what will be the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s first visit to Kansas. The fighters involved will be hoping to make it a memorable occasion and there’s enough quality on the bill to ensure viewers will be in their seats early.
The main event is supported by Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos v Curtis Mullender and there’s also the chance to catch up on the progress of Tim Means, Niko Price, Blagoy Ivanov, Ben Rothwell, Beneil Dariush, Drew Dober, Tim Boetsch and Omari Akhmedov who make up the main card.
Watch each of the contests as an observer or ramp up your interest on the evening with a bet on the outcome of the bouts that catch your eye. Pick the winners and throw them together in an accumulator or aim for a bigger price in the specials, including the method of victory market. A trickier task, but the prices are well worth shooting for.
Let’s put the main fight under the microscope as we check up on how traders at major bookmakers expect this bout to go.
34-year-old Derrick Lewis fights out of Houston, Texas and is a warrior with a background competing in kickboxing, something that is evident in his mixed martial arts performances today. The Black Beast stands at 6ft 3inches tall and brings a professional record of 21 wins from 28 starts with one no contest. The spare on his record came back in 2012 when punches to the back of the head put an end to his bout with Jeremiah Constant in Colorado.
That was a disappointing return, but Lewis had no problem getting on with his career and put together a run of form that saw him win a place in the UFC and score some impressive victories under the banner. He has won three of his last four, including two by knockout. Marcin Tybura was stopped in three by punches and Alexander Volkov was dealt with in the same manner. The latter earned Lewis the performance of the night bonus on UFC 229 in good company and that would’ve boosted his confidence no end.
Lewis an Underdog
Derrick Lewis, despite his form, goes into this bout on the back of a painful defeat when beaten by Daniel Cormier in his most recent start, making this fight a chance to get him back to winning ways and back into contention for prizes. Lewis was beaten by Cormier via a reverse naked chokehold on UFC 230 in New York City back in November of last year with the battle coming to an end in only the second round when fighting for the UFC heavyweight championship. There’s no shame in that result, of course, but the defeat does mean he has arrived at a fork in the road.
Lose again here and Derrick will be forced to consider his future, having reached the heights of challenging for the crown, only to come up short. Many fighters struggle to make the step back down a level after tasting the glory that comes with challenging for a world championship belt. Will we see that from Lewis in this bout? Bookmakers believe so and have him priced as an outsider to get the desired result. That’ll surprise a few, especially those who have made money following Lewis in recent starts.
Junior dos Santos needs no introduction to MMA fans in any part of the world. He’s a real fans’ favourite who has fought at the top level of the sports for many years, earning followers plenty of money in betting profits throughout his career. The 35-year-old Brazilian is a poster boy for UFC, being a former world champion and his record reads like a who’s who of the sport. If they are good enough, they would’ve fought Dos Santos at one stage of his career.
The man from Cacador is a 6ft 4inch heavyweight with a record reading 20 wins from 25 starts with 14 of his victories coming by way of knockout, five by decision and only one KO/TKO. On the other side of the fence and Dos Santos has lost five times, three by knockout, one by submission and one points loss. He’s an all-or-nothing sort who is as talented as they come and wears his heart on his sleeve when he’s fighting, giving viewers real value for money.
Back to Winning Ways
Junior lost to Stipe Miocic by KO/TKO in May of 2017 for the heavyweight championship but managed to bounce back to winning ways, getting his career on track with a decision win over Blagoy Ivanov last summer in Idaho. He followed that with another success, this time knocking out Tai Tuivasa with a heavy-handed attack in Australia in December on a memorable show. That effort helped followers forget about the loss to Miocic, a fight he was expected to win, and many believe he’s ready to complete the hat-trick and catapult himself back towards major honours.
Will we see the experience of Junior shine through here? His best chance looks to be in avoiding the power coming from his opponent and relying heavily on the skills taught to him during his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu days where he reached the rank of blackbelt. He’s also capable in the art of boxing and that will ensure he can hold his own in any stand-up fighting with Lewis. This bout will be explosive from the start and, on paper, it looks a fascinating clash of styles that could go either way.
Go the Distance
Junior Dos Santos is hot favourite in the pre-fight betting and punters happy to trust him with their stake money will have to make do with the 4/9 available at 888sport as there’s not a lot better out there at the minute. Does that represent value, or would you rather take a punt on the 2/1 of his opponent? We’d prefer neither and will happily take up position on the fence.
Dos Santos to win on decision is our best bet and we expect him to remain cagey in the opening exchanges, avoiding the threat of Lewis and his big attacks. Once this one settles down the Brazilian should grow into the contest and we’ll see his skill and ability shine through. Back Santos to win on points or, if you’re after a bit more of a safety net, why not back the fight to last the distance. That will return a healthy 11/4, top price when taking advantage of Coral’s generosity. No distance is deemed the more likely outcome, sent out at 4/15 with the same firm. We’d much rather have the bigger price to shoot at.