Back in March, longtime regional veteran Derrick Krantz came up with a big win in the headlining slot of LFA 63. The 31-year-old, who has been competing professionally since 2008, stopped opponent Justin Patterson with strikes, just 2:27 into the first round. But more than just filling out his resume, the victory came in front of UFC President Dana White, who was in attendance filming an episode of his Lookin’ for a Fight web series.
“I’ll be honest with you. You’re 31 years old, you’re 24-10. It makes no f—ing sense to bring you on the Contender Series. But I love your attitude. Welcome to the Tuesday Night Contender Series. You fight this summer,” White told Krantz after the event.
If that in and of itself seemed like a big opportunity for the Team 515 fighter out of Texas, the eventual result has become something much better.
Following Neil Magny’s short-notice withdrawal from the UFC Rochester co-main event against Vicente Luque, due to a failed out-of-competition drug test, Krantz has been asked to step in as a short notice replacement. Krantz’s team announced his signing with the UFC in a post on Instagram.
‘D-Rock’ will enter the Octagon on a four fight winning streak, stretching back to his 2017 split decision loss to James Nakashima—in which Krantz relinquished his LFA welterweight title. He has wins over UFC vets Brock Larson, Daniel Roberts, and Kyle Bradley, as well as losses to Dustin Poirier, Andrey Koreshkov, Jorge Patino, and Rich Clementi (among other notable UFC & Bellator fighters).
His opponent, Vicente Luque, has carved out a name for himself as one of the UFC’s most dangerous finishers—after a rough start to his career in the world’s largest MMA promotion. Despite a debut loss to Michael Graves, coming off the 21st season of the Ultimate Fighter, Luque has gone 8-1 in his fights since, with all eight wins coming inside the distance. Most recently, he KO’d Bryan Barberena in the closing seconds of their fight-of-the-year candidate at UFC on ESPN: Ngannou vs. Velasquez.
UFC Fight Night: Dos Anjos vs. Lee takes place this upcoming Saturday, May 18th, in Rochester, NY. The event will be headlined by a welterweight bout between former lightweight champion Rafael Dos Anjos, and former interim lightweight title contender Kevin Lee. Stay tuned to Bloody Elbow for more news and notes as the event approaches.