UFC Wichita brings fans a heavyweight main event between two of the division’s biggest heavy hitters, and Cageside Press has their picks set.

Staff Writers
Boetsch vs. Akhmedov
Dariush vs. Dober
Ivanov vs. Rothwell
Means vs. Price
dos Santos vs. Millender
Lewis vs. dos Santos
Jason Payne (40-7)
Drake Riggs (39-8)
Heath Harshman (36-11)
Steve King (35-12)
Josh Evanoff (35-12)
Bryson Hester (28-10)
Mike Straus (34-13)
Jay Anderson (33-14)
Paarth Pande (33-14)
Jesse Gillette (32-15)
Joe McDonagh (32-15)
Gabriel Gonzalez (31-16)
Shawn Bitter (31-16)
Dan Doherty (30-17)
Adam LeBarr (7-4)
Eddie Law (29-18)
Alex Scaffidi (28-19)

The main event of UFC Wichita pits together two longtime heavyweights who have never crossed paths: Derrick Lewis and Junior dos Santos. Lewis went on a three-fight win streak that earned him a short-notice title shot against Daniel Cormier. Cormier ragdolled him en route to a submission, and Lewis has not fought since. JDS is back on the winning trail after falling to Stipe Miocic in a title fight in May 2017. Last year, dos Santos defeated both Blagoy Ivanov and Tai Tuivasa. JDS received 10 of 16 picks.

The co-main event features a different, lighter dos Santos, with Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos battling Curtis Millender. After falling in a split decision in his promotional debut, dos Santos is 6-0 with a pair of brilliant knockouts in his last two bouts and three Fight of the Night bonuses. Millender has impressed in the UFC so far, going 3-0 with an incredible knockout against Thiago Alves in his debut. All but two writers picked Curtis Millender.

Tim Means is taking on Niko Price in an exciting bout. Means has been with the promotion since 2012, being a part of some great battles in his career. He’s struggled recently though, winning twice in his last six appearances. Price, who is 4-2 in the UFC with one no contest, and he has yet to go to a decision. A loss to Abdul Razak Alhassan stopped a two-fight win streak most recently. 11 of 16 writers sided with Niko Price.

Ben Rothwell makes his long-awaited return to the cage against Blagoy Ivanov. Ivanov, a former WSOF standout, defended his heavyweight title four times (once under the PFL banner). He was awarded with a difficult UFC debut against former champion Junior dos Santos, losing by decision in the main event. Rothwell was on a great run, stopping four opponents in a row, including Alistair Overeem, before running into dos Santos. Following the fight, Rothwell was handed a two-year suspension by USADA. Ivanov was picked by 12 writers.

Beneil Dariush looks to keep climbing back up the ladder against Drew Dober. Dariush was winless in three fights in a row, twice losing by brutal knockout, before defeating short-notice opponent Thiago Moises in November. Dober has quietly won five of six fights, riding a three-fight win streak into UFC Wichita. Like the heavyweight scrap above, 12 writers picked Beneil Dariush.

Opening up the main card will be Omari Akhmedov vs. Tim Boetsch. Akhmedov is 5-3-1 in the Octagon, fighting to a draw with Marvin Vettori in his last appearance back in 2017. Boetsch first fought in the UFC in 2008, then started his second and current stint in 2010. Boetsch knocked out former champion Johny Hendricks before losing to Antonio Carlos Junior by submission. In the closest fight on the card, nine writers picked Tim Boetsch and seven picked Akhmedov.

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