Several veterans have been confirmed to be competing at the UFC’s debut in Kansas.
Officials announced Tuesday that Tim Boetsch (21-12) will fight Omari Akhmedov (17-4-1) in a middleweight bout at the upcoming March 9 show in Wichita. Also confirmed was the previously reported heavyweight main event between Derrick Lewis (21-6, 1 NC) and Junior dos Santos (20-5).
Other bouts that were made official include a heavyweight bout between Blagoy Ivanov (16-2, 1 NC) vs. Ben Rothwell (36-10), a women’s bantamweight bout between Yana Kunitskaya (11-4, 1 NC) and Marion Reneau (9-4-1), a lightweight bout between Beneil Dariush (15-4-1) and Drew Dober (20-8), a welterweight bout between Anthony Rocco Martin (15-4) and Sergio Moraes (14-3-1), and a heavyweight bout between Daniel Spitz (6-2) and Jeff Hughes (10-1).
Having made his Octagon debut back in February 2008 as a light heavyweight, Boetsch will be making his 24th UFC appearance. The 37-year-old has competed primarily at middleweight in recent years and he’s 4-6 in his last 10 fights. Most recently, “The Barbarian” was submitted inside of a round by Antonio Carlos Junior in April, a loss that dropped his UFC record to 12-11.
Akhmedov, 5-3-1 in the UFC, pulled out of his lone fight booking of 2018 due to injury and he’ll be looking for his first win since May of last year. He is unbeaten in his last three bouts, having fought Marvin Vettori to a draw in his last outing in December 2017.
Ivanov debuted in the UFC this past July with a five-round unanimous decision loss to dos Santos in the main event of UFC Boise. Prior to that, Ivanov had won 16 of his first 17 pro bouts (excluding one no contest) and successfully defended the World Series of Fighting (later the Professional Fighters League) heavyweight title four consecutive times.
The Reneau-Kunitskaya bout was scheduled for UFC 233, but was moved after that event was canceled. Reneau recently saw a four-fight unbeaten streak snapped with a unanimous decision loss to Cat Zingano in Boise. The 41-year-old was coming off a 3-0-1 stretch that included finishes of Sara McMann, Talita Bernardo, and Milana Dudieva.
Kunitskaya, a one-time UFC featherweight title challenger, picked up her first UFC win in October by outpointing Lina Lansberg. “Foxy” won the Invicta FC 145-pound title before making her Octagon debut with a first-round TKO loss to Cris Cyborg at UFC 222.
First reported by Farah Hannoun, Dariush’s bout with Dober sees two fighters jockeying for position in the deep lightweight division. Dariush snapped a winless skid in November with a unanimous decision nod over Thiago Moises after two KO losses and a draw in his three previous bouts.
Dober enters his 30th pro bout hoping to inch closer to the top of the rankings. He has won three straight and five of his last six, most recently defeating Jon Tuck by unanimous decision at UFC Lincoln.
Martin has gone 3-0 since moving up to the welterweight division, including consecutive knockout victories over Jake Matthews and Ryan LaFlare in his last two outings. Those wins capped off an undefeated 2018, boosting Martin’s UFC record to 7-4.
Moraes, 36, is 8-2-1 since joining the UFC as a finalist from the first season of The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil. A submission specialist, “Serginho” was last seen finishing Ben Saunders with an arm-triangle choke in September.
Three-time UFC competitor Daniel Spitz will welcome recent Legacy Fighting Alliance heavyweight champion Jeff Hughes to the Octagon. Spitz is 1-2 in the UFC thus far, while Hughes debuts on the strength of a four-fight win streak that includes a successful defense of his LFA title and a contract-winning KO on Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series. This bout was first reported by FloCombat.
UFC Fight Night 146 will take place at the INTRUST Bank Arena in Wichita, Kansas, and air live on the ESPN+ streaming service.