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The Ultimate Fighting Championship heads to Rochester, New York, for its maiden event as UFC Fight Night 152 takes place this Saturday. A number of ranked fighters are competing on the card, so let’s take a look at them and the possible implications their fights could have on the rankings.
Headlining the card is a welterweight showdown between former lightweights Rafael dos Anjos and Kevin Lee. “RDA” (28-11) will be hoping to end a two-fight losing skid following losses to Colby Covington and current champion Kamaru Usman. Despite those two setbacks, the former lightweight champion is still high up in the rankings. Sherdog rates him as the fourth-best welterweight in the world, ESPN have him seventh, while the UFC rankings currently see him as the No. 3 contender.
As for Lee (17-4), this will be his welterweight debut. The “Motown Phenom” most recently lost to Al Iaquinta in December and finally decided to make the move up soon after. He is currently rated as the ninth-best lightweight in the world by Sherdog and ESPN, while he is the No. 7 contender in the UFC rankings. For dos Anjos, a win likely won’t move him up the ranks but a win for Lee, particularly a decisive one, would put him high up the ranks and right in the title mix.
In the co-main event, Antonio Carlos Jr. takes on Ian Heinisch. Carlos Jr. (10-2, 1 NC) has won his last five fights at middleweight, with four of them being submission finishes. As a result, he is ranked No. 12 in the UFC middleweight rankings. However, it’s clear that Heinisch (12-1) has much more to gain with a win. “The Hurricane” is 2-0 in the UFC so far and a win over the Brazilian would not only be the biggest of his career, but also insert him right into the top 15.
Welterweight contender Vicente Luque is also in action as he takes on short-notice opponent Derrick Krantz. Luque (15-6-1) only recently cracked the top 15 of the UFC rankings following an impressive knockout of Bryan Barberena. He was hoping to move up further with a win over the No. 13-ranked Neil Magny. However, the latter had to withdraw after failing a USADA drug test and Luque will now face a debuting Krantz (24-10). Like with the co-main event, Krantz has much more to gain as a win could see him blitz right into the top 15.
Megan Anderson is in women’s featherweight action too as she takes on Invicta FC champion Felicia Spencer. Anderson (9-3) will be looking to get her second win in the UFC following a TKO finish of Cat Zingano. She is currently rated as the sixth-best women’s featherweight in the world by Sherdog. Spencer (6-0), meanwhile, will be making her UFC debut and is rated as the seventh-best featherweight in the world by Sherdog. Given the dearth in 145-pound contenders, a win for either competitor should see them get the next crack at the title or a title eliminator with Cris Cyborg at the least.
Charles Oliveira will be looking to move up the lightweight ranks when he takes on Nik Lentz in a rematch. Oliveira (26-8, 1 NC) has won his last four fights, including a recent win over David Teymur who he submitted via anaconda choke. As a result, “Do Bronx” is currently No. 15 in the UFC rankings. Lentz (30-9-2, 1 NC), meanwhile, may have lost to Oliveira in 2015, but has won three of his last four. A win on Saturday could possibly see him crack the top 15 of the lightweight rankings.
Finally, Aspen Ladd faces Sijara Eubanks in a rematch featuring ranked women’s bantamweights. Ladd (7-0) has been impressive since making her UFC debut in 2017 with two TKO finishes over Lina Lansberg and Tonya Evinger. Having already defeated Eubanks (4-2) in Invicta FC, the 24-year-old will be looking to triumph once again and move up the ranks. Sherdog rates her as the fifth-best bantamweight in the world, ESPN have her seventh, while she is No. 6 in the UFC rankings.
As for Eubanks, she has won her last two fights at flyweight but having missed weight against Roxanne Modafferi, has decided to make the move up. She is currently ranked No. 15 in the UFC women’s bantamweight rankings. A win over Ladd would not only even the score but see her surge up the rankings.