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UFC Vegas 19: Blaydes vs. Lewis - Winners and Losers

The real winners and losers from UFC Vegas 19

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Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

The UFC heavyweight division was in a weird spot heading into Saturday’s UFC Vegas 19 fight card. Stipe Miocic puts his title on the line against No. 1 ranked Francis N’Gannou on March 27 in the main event of UFC 260. The promotion expects former UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones to face the winner of that contest. Meanwhile, at UFC Vegas 19, No. 2 ranked Curtis Blaydes faced No. 4 ranked Derrick Lewis.

Lewis was a significant underdog by the time the fight started, but something we know about Derrick Lewis is that he hits really hard and his power can change the trajectory of a fight in a millisecond. Lewis reminded everyone of that fact early in the second round of the main event matchup.

As Blaydes leaned in for a takedown, Lewis connected with a vicious uppercut that left Blaydes falling unconscious to the mat before referee Herb Dean could react.

The stoppage gave Lewis his fourth straight win and could make things very interesting in the heavyweight division, which also has another big fight on the horizon. On Saturday, February 27, No.3 ranked Jairzinho Rozenstruik faces No. 7 ranked Ciryl Gane.

Before that heavyweight battle takes place, here are the winners and losers from UFC Vegas 19, which took place at UFC Apex in Vegas and streamed on ESPN+.


Derrick Lewis: Derrick Lewis is now tied for first in UFC history with 12 UFC knockout wins. On Saturday night, he made sure to make number 12 count. Lewis dipped his hips as Curtis Blaydes leaned down to attempt a takedown. Blaydes did not get the takedown, but Lewis’ punch landed and it turned out the lights for Blaydes and ended his four-fight winning streak. Lewis is now on a four-fight winning streak of his own. The UFC also awarded the 36-year-old a “Performance of the Night” bonus for his nasty knockout win. The $50,000 bonus is the first Lewis scored since he lost to former champ Junior dos Santos in 2019 when the fighters took home “Fight of the Night.”

Yana Kunitskaya: Kunitskaya got the win over Ketlen Vieira based on damage and landing more impactful strikes. The most significant takeaway from this fight, to me, was how well Kunitskaya listened to the coaching of her corner throughout the battle. It’s always impressive when a fighter can focus on their corner and implement the advice it gives them in the heat of battle. With that, I don’t think Kunitskaya is done progressing in this sport.

Darrick Minner: Darrick Minner moved to 2-1 in the UFC with a dominant win over Charles Rosa. Minner racked up four takedowns on five attempts, sunk in three submission attempts and was in control for 12:34 of the 15-minute contest. Minner also outstruck his opponent, 96 to 40. Rosa never stopped trying, but Minner, who has 22 career submission wins, was clearly the superior fighter in this matchup.

Tom Aspinall: Tom Aspinall had a lot of bounce in his step against Andre Arlovski and a fair share of confidence. Aspinall hurt Arlovski against the cage with his strikes and unloaded a flurry of body strikes. With those punches not hurting Arlovski, Aspinall wisely abandoned the attack to the body and reset.

Aspinall tried a different approach in the second round. During the second stanza, he blasted a takedown that put Arlovski on his butt against the cage. As the former UFC champion attempted to stand, Aspinall slipped behind him and sunk in a rear-naked choke that brought a quick tap from Arlovski. The submission setback was only the second of Arlovski’s career.

I’m not sure this win will put the 27-year-old Aspinall in the heavyweight rankings, but it should give him a big bump in competition.

Jared Gordon: Jared Gordon is known for his wrestling, but he did not attempt one takedown in the first round of his fight against Danny Chavez. Instead, Gordon focused on calf kicks in the first stanza. He landed those kicks, but Chavez was faster with his hands. Gordon changed tack in the second round and landed an early takedown and kept the fight there for a decent amount of time. Gordon wasn’t as successful with his wrestling in the third stanza, but he got one takedown and also prevented Chavez from landing big strikes by holding him against the fence. With the decision win, Gordon showed that if an opponent wants to beat him, that person better have good takedown defense and an ability to spin off the fence.

John Castaneda: John Castaneda allowed Eddie Wineland to control the majority of the first round of their bantamweight bout on Saturday. While Wineland get the best of the early striking exchanges, Castaneda reminded Wineland he was still in the fight with a few well-timed counters. With the first round coming to a close, Castaneda seemed to sense an opening. He landed a right that forced Wineland to pause for a second. Castaneda showed excellent awareness at that moment. He closed distance and rushed in with a volley of punches that forced referee Jason Herzog to wave off the contest at the 4:53 mark of the first round. The stoppage was Castaneda’s first UFC victory.

Julian Erosa vs. Nate Landwehr: It didn’t last long, but the featherweight bout between Julian Erosa and Nate Landwehr didn’t lack action. These two got after each other from the start and just threw down. Both fighters got hurt in the early going, but it was Erosa who kept his feet under him. He pushed Landwehr to the fence where Erosa finished the fight with a flying knee. The 56-second TKO victory put Erosa on a three-fight winning streak. Landwehr drops to 1-2, but I don’t think he’s in danger of losing his job as he is an exciting scrapper.

Casey O’Neill: Casey O’Neill made her UFC debut on Saturday and she looked pretty good in the process. The 23-year-old showed a willingness to brawl on the feet against Shana Dobson, but where she took over the contest was in her takedowns and ground striking and control. O’Neill went four for six on her takedown attempts. Dobson got back to her feet a few times in the first stanza, but the takedown O’Neill scored early in the second stanza was a different story. O’Neill put Dobson on the mat in the early going of that round and used relentless ground strikes to get a TKO finish. The stoppage ended a run of two consecutive decision wins for O’Neill.

Aiemann Zahabi: Aiemann Zahabi started a bit slow against Drako Rodriguez and that allowed Rodriguez to jump ahead early with his striking. However, Zahabi seemed to take that time to get a line on his opponent and when Rodriguez attempted a reckless uppercut, Zahabi came back with a right hook that ended the fight. The stoppage put Zahabi back in the win column for the first time since his UFC debut in 2017, ending a two-fight losing skid.

Sergey Spivak: Sergey Spivak taught Jared Vanderaa a lesson on Saturday. Vanderaa had called out Spivak after his win on a Contender Series card. Spivak handed Vanderaa a TKO loss and left him with what will probably be a nasty scar after Spivak bloodied Vanderaa on the mat.

Spivak, who is just a baby in the heavyweight division at 26, is now 3-2 with the promotion and he showed he has the takedown and ground skills to make for a miserable night for any opponent who does not have good defense.

Spivak has a lot of time to develop in the rather shallow heavyweight division and that could be a bad thing for those who get booked against him.


Curtis Blaydes: Momentum can shift in a second in an MMA fight. Derrick Lewis reminded us of that fact on Saturday night when he stiffened Curtis Blaydes with a hellacious uppercut in the early going of the second round. Blaydes had the striking advantage in the fight, but when he tried to get a takedown, Lewis knew it was coming. Meanwhile, Blaydes did not know the uppercut that would turn out his lights was heading his way. The stoppage ended Blaydes’ four-fight winning streak.

Ketlen Vieira: Ketlen Vieira had a lot of ground control time in her matchup against Yana Kunitskaya. What she didn’t have was a submission attempt or more than 10 significant strikes landed. UFC commentator Michael Bisping summed things up on this fight when he said Vieira was too focused on locking in a submission when none was there. The loss is going to be a costly one for Vieira as she was ranked No. 6 in the women’s bantamweight division headed into this fight.

Charles Rosa: Charles Rosa has been with the UFC since 2014. HIs record stands at 4-5 during that span. He has never won two UFC fights in a row. He had a chance to accomplish that feat on Saturday, but he fell short in losing a decision to Darrick Minner. The thing to like about Rosa, even though he lost this bout, was that whenever he had the opportunity he tried to produce offense. He never stopped trying for the win, even when the victory was out of his reach.

Aleksei Oleinik: Aleksei Oleinik is always a gamer, but the veteran had nothing to offer the rising Chris Daukaus.

Nassourdine Imavov: Nassourdine Imavov came on strong during the last round of his bout against Phil Hawes, but it was too little, too late. Had Imavov been able to break away from Hawes’ clutches against the cage or stopped a few more takedowns he might have win this fight. Imavov had the better striking, but Hawes, while he still had gas in the tank was able to nullify that striking.

Andre Arlovski: Andre Arlovski was more aggressive against Tom Aspinall than he had been in some of his other recent fights, but it did not pay off. Arlovski made a poor decision in the second round in attempting to stand while Aspinall was trying to spin to his back after a takedown. That opening allowed Aspinall to slide in a choke that brought a quick tap from the former champ. The one and only other submission on Arlovski’s record was a 2016 tap to Josh Barnett. The setback ended Arlovski’s two-fight winning streak.

Danny Chavez: Danny Chavez had to feel good after the first five minutes of his bout opposite Jared Gordon. The two spent the first five minutes of their matchup on the feet and Chavez scored thanks to the speed of his strikes. With zero takedown attempts from Gordon, Chavez had to like has chances heading into the second stanza. Those chances faded when Gordon scored takedowns in the second and third rounds. Chavez stopped four of six takedown attempts, but with six minutes of control time, the contest went to Gordon.

Eddie Wineland: Eddie Wineland was 1-3 in his four fights coming into his matchup against John Castaneda. Despite that run, which dated back to April 2017, the 36-year-old Wineland looked confident and calm as he used his striking to control the majority of the first round. Wineland kept Castaneda backing up, but the younger fighter caught Wineland with strikes of his own a few times. The tide turned late in the first stanza when Castaneda clipped Wineland with a right. That punch set up the flurry that ended the bout in the closing seconds of the first round. With the loss, Wineland has been knocked out in the first round in his two most recent outings.

Shana Dobson: Shana Dobson did her best to get a second straight upset victory when she faced Casey O’Neill, but she could not stop the takedowns of her opponent and after a prolonged beating on the mat, referee Chris Tognoni stopped the scrap in the second stanza.

Drako Rodriguez: Rodriguez controlled the location and ace of the fight in the early going. He looked like a better and more aggressive striker than his opponent, Aiemann Zahabi, but that turned around when Rodriguez threw a big uppercut that left him wide open for a counter that finished the fight.

Jared Vanderaa: In a case of be careful what you wish for, Jared Vanderaa called for a fight against Sergey Spivak. What he got was a beating. Vanderaa had little takedown defense and even less to offer on the ground. He took a nasty beating on the mat and referee Chris Tognoni did him no favors by letting that beating go too long.

Michael Chandler: I don’t know what the UFC was thinking, but it decided that Saturday night was a good time to feature Michael Chandler in a Black History Month spot. Let me be clear that I have no qualms with anything Chandler did in the spot, but I do have an issue how this was handled. The UFC has never been able to handle race well and it totally dropped the ball in this case. The video came across as a “white savior” spot and there is no room for that, not during Black History Month and not ever. The UFC really needs to work better at handling things of this nature. This tweet did a great job of summing up the issue of what the UFC did by featuring the Chandler family during Black History Month.

Herb Dean: Herb Dean was out of position in the main event and that allowed Derrick Lewis to land two nasty strikes to an already unconscious Curtis Blaydes in the evening’s headliner. Lewis even acknowledged that fact right after Dean waved off the fight.

Phil Hawes: C’mon now, Hawes said he hopes Chris Weidman or Uriah Hall get COVID-19 so he can slip into that fight. If something does happen to one of those men, I hope the UFC overlooks Hawes because of this comment. Sure, he was probably joking, but, that was not funny, at all.

Chris Tognoni: Referee Chris Tognoni really let the first fight of the night go on too long. When the top fighter stops punching for a second or so and the bottom fighter stays covered up and does nothing else, well, that’s not intelligent defense, that’s “please stop the beating” defense. Tognoni did not do that in the Sergey Spivak vs. Jared Vanderaa matchup.


Phil Hawes: Phil Hawes won his bout against Nassourdine Imavov, but he still has a lot of work to do before he reaches the status of legit contender. Hawes is strong, he has good takedowns and he can hold his opponents against the fence. However, his gas tank is not great and he has a tendency to get tagged when he decides to strike with his opponents.

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