UFC Wichita (UFC Fight Night 146) takes place Saturday, March 9 at Intrust Bank Arena in Wichita, Kansas. The card previously was revealed to be headlined by heavyweights Derrick Lewis and Junior dos Santos, and over the weekend a couple new preliminary bouts were added to the card, via ESPN. The new bouts are listed below, along with my initial reactions to them, in today’s edition of MMA odds and ends.
Tim Means vs. Niko Price, UFC Fight Night 146
An exciting welterweight matchup between Tim Means and Niko Price is set for UFC Fight Night 146. Means (28-10, 1 NC) is 10-7, 1 NC in the UFC and is coming off of a TKO win over Ricky Rainey that snapped a two-fight split decision losing skid. At 34 he is started to age but showed in the Rainey fight his striking skills are still top notch. Price (12-2, 1 NC) is 4-2, 1 NC in the UFC and is coming off of a quick TKO loss to Abdul Razak Alhassan that was a disappointing follow-up to his brutal KO win over Randy Brown in the summer. What a great fight this is between Means and Price because it’s a battle between two men who can finish the fight on the feet and on the ground. I can see this one going either way, and this might be a surprise to those who have been following me for years, but I’d actually slightly lean towards Price here just because of his age advantage and the fact Means has been in so many wars. The opening line should be close, but I’d probably peg Price as a slight favorite at open.
Alex Morono vs. Zak Ottow, UFC Fight Night 146
Welterweights Alex Morono and Zak Ottow will also meet on this card. Morono (15-5, 1 NC) is 4-2, 1 NC in the UFC and defeated Kenan Song in a “Fight of the Night” performance his last time out. Ottow (17-6) is 4-3 in the UFC and is coming off of a split decision win over Dwight Grant. This is a very evenly-matched bout between two guys in the middle of the pack at 170lbs who have so far been inconsistent in their UFC careers. I have been slightly more impressed with Morono inside the Octagon so I’d favor him just a tad here, but on paper it’s a close matchup and I expect the opening line to be near a Pick ’em.
Louis Smolka vs. Matt Schnell, UFC Fight Night 146
And finally, Louis Smolka and Matt Schnell will move up to bantamweight and compete on this card. Smolka (15-5) recently made his return to the UFC with a submission win over Mudaerji. All-time Smolka has a 6-5 record in the UFC and is currently riding a four-fight win streak overall in MMA. Schnell (11-4) is 2-2 in the UFC and defeated Naoki Inoue and Marco Beltran in his last two outings. Although Schnell has looked better lately, Smolka is the more talented fighter and is more proven fighting at 135lbs. I’d have to favor Smolka to win this fight, and the fact it’s not taking place at flyweight is another sign the division is going to be shut down this year.