Revitalized Junior dos Santos Bounces Derrick Lewis in UFC Fight Night 146 Headliner

By Brian Knapp Mar 9, 2019

Junior dos Santos has re-emerged as a legitimate contender for the Ultimate Fighting Championship heavyweight crown he once held.

The affable Brazilian disposed of Derrick Lewis with punches in the second round of their UFC Fight Night 146 headliner on Saturday at Intrust Bank Arena in Wichita, Kansas. Dos Santos (21-5, 15-4 UFC) brought it to a close 1:58 into Round 2 and posted his third consecutive victory in the process.

Lewis (21-7, 12-5 UFC) was put in peril repeatedly by the former champion, who dazed him with an overhand right in the first round and then turned his focus to the body. Dos Santos doubled over “The Black Beast” with an exquisite spinning back kick to the solar plexus late in the frame, and though Lewis answered with a clean counter right hook to the head that knocked “Cigano” off-balance, he never seemed to fully recover from the blow to his midsection. Dos Santos stalked the New Orleans native from the start of Round 2, set him on rubbery legs with a straight right and forced him to turtle on the floor with a barrage of punches, giving referee Herb Dean no choice but to intervene on Lewis’ behalf.

Zaleski Dos Santos Choke Taps Millender

Onetime Jungle Fight champion Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos climbed another rung on the welterweight ladder, as he submitted Curtis Millender with a rear-naked choke in the first round of their co-main event. Millender (17-4, 3-1 UFC) bowed out 2:35 into Round 1, thus ending his career-best nine-fight winning streak.

Zaleski dos Santos (21-5, 7-1 UFC) clipped the CSW rep with a left hook and followed with a leg and body kick before executing a takedown. He shed a weak Millender attempt at a guillotine, settled in side control and ultimately advanced to full mount. Zaleski floated through a scramble, made a smooth transition to the back, bit down on the choke and prompted the tapout.

The 32-year-old Zaleski dos Santos has recorded seven straight victories.

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Price KOs Means in Firefight

Niko Price cut down former King of the Cage champion Tim Means with punches in the first round of their crackling welterweight showstopper. Means (28-11-1, 10-8 UFC) succumbed to blows 4:50 into Round 1, as he suffered the first legitimate knockout loss of his career.

Neither man paid much attention to defense, much to the action-starved crowd’s delight. Price (13-2, 5-2 UFC) had his counterpart ducking for cover early on but left himself open for a takedown in his haste to finish. Means battered him with ground-and-pound and continued to unload with accurate punches when they returned to their feet, snapping back the Futures MMA rep’s head with more than one multi-punch volley. Price retreated to the fence, caught “The Dirty Bird” moving in and detonated a devastating right hook on his jaw. Means hit the deck, appeared to suffer a serious lower-leg injury and was met by a diving right hand from the Floridian before losing consciousness after eating a series of hammerfists.

The 29-year-old Price has won three times in his last four starts and appears to be trending upward in the 170-pound weight class.

Ivanov Spoils Rothwell Return

Former World Series of Fighting champion Blagoy Ivanov won for the sixth time in seven outings, as he captured a unanimous decision over Ben Rothwell in a bruising three-round heavyweight feature. Ivanov (17-2, 1-1 UFC) swept the scorecards with 29-28 marks from all three judges.

In his first appearance since April 2016, Rothwell (36-11, 6-5 UFC) marched forward for 15 minutes, sometimes to his benefit and sometimes to his detriment. Ivanov connected with sweeping hooks, punched well in combination and bloodied his counterpart’s face. Rothwell was undeterred, applied merciless pressure and did his best work in Round 3, where he raised hematomas near both of the Bulgarian’s eyes with awkward power punches. However, his efforts went for naught in the eyes of those whose opinion mattered most.

Rothwell, 37, has suffered back-to-back defeats for the first time in his 47-fight career.

Dariush Armbar Submits Dober

Kings MMA mainstay Beneil Dariush submitted Drew Dober with an armbar in the second round of their featured lightweight encounter. Dober (20-9, 6-5 UFC) conceded defeat 4:41 into Round 2, halting his run of consecutive victories at three.

Dariush (16-4-1, 10-4-1 UFC) waded through considerable difficulty. Dober blasted him with clubbing left hands and multi-punch combinations throughout the first round, as he staggered the longtime Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt on more than one occasion. However, Dariush withstood the assault and altered the terms of their engagement in Round 2. There, he secured a takedown, shredded Dober’s guard and achieved full mount twice. Dariush whiffed on an armbar and allowed the Nebraska native to escape to his feet, only to execute another takedown and attack the arm again for the finish.

It was the first armbar submission for Dariush since January 2013.

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Akhmedov Handles Reeling Boetsch

American Top Team export Omari Akhmedov took care of business in a unanimous decision over Tim Boetsch in a three-round middleweight showcase. All three cageside judges scored it the same: 30-27 for Akhmedov (18-4-1, 6-3-1 UFC), who has not lost a fight in nearly three years.

Boetsch (21-13, 12-12 UFC) never got off of his mark. Akhmedov met him with a frustrating clinch, winging hooks with both hands, calf kicks and the occasional counter. He appeared to break Boetsch’s nose with a powerful straight right in the second round and opened multiple cuts on “The Barbarian” in the third, all while keeping fatigue at bay.

The 38-year-old Boetsch has lost three of his last four fights.

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