Curtis Blaydes defeated Alexander Volkov in the main event of the UFC on ESPN held in Las Vegas last night. The American outpowered the Russian in wrestling and eventually earned a victory via unanimous decision.
All three judges scored in his favor, 49-46, 48-47, 48-46.
“I’m the heel. You don’t like what I do? I like to make you mad. I like to win. That’s probably the best part about this win, is I predicted this, and I did it. Twenty-five minutes,” said Blaydes (14-2 MMA, 9-2 UFC).
He would win after setting a takedown record as he brought down Volkov (31-8 MMA, 5-2 UFC) 14 times, which is the highest number in the heavyweight division ever.
We could say that this one was a boring match, in which Blaydes didn’t allow his opponent to fight very much, but also, kept Volkov restrained with wrestling.
The American was holding down his rival in the first three rounds, using all of his knowledge to put Volkov in awkward positions. He wouldn’t hurt the Russian too much, but eventually, he did score some points at the judges.
As time went by, Blaydes slowed down, and Volkov managed to get loose, sending several combinations in the fourth, which bleed Blaydes’ mouth. In the fifth, Blaydes neutralized the Russian and kept his advantage on the scorecards.
After the fight, he stated that there is no time for him to fight lower-ranked guys and that he deserves a chance to fight for the title. Blaydes has been pushing for this for a long time but isn’t getting the hype according to his opinion.
“Stay busy against who?” he said. “I fought Justin Willis, ranked below me. I fought (Shamil) Abdurakhimov, ranked below me. I fought Junior (Dos Santos), ranked below me. I fought Volkov, ranked below me. Like what? No.”
In the meantime, he spoke about a lot of things, which made the UFC president Dana White pretty angry, and he had to react on all Balydes’ comments, saying that
“Talking about rag-dolling people, and he’s not getting paid, and yada yada, he should be getting the title shot. He gassed out at the end of the third round, made it to the fifth, and won the fight. Yeah, he won,” White added.
The current title-challenger is Francis Ngannou, who recently defeated Jairzinho Rozenstruik, knocking him out in 20 seconds. Previously, the Predator defeated Blaydes on two occasions, and because of that, White gives a clear advantage to the French-Cameroonian fighter when it comes to challenging the champion.
Curtis Blaydes recorded 14 takedowns in his win over Alexander Volkov. That is the most takedowns in a fight in UFC heavyweight history.
Tonight's win is Blaydes' 9th UFC heavyweight victory, tied for 2nd-most in the division since 2016, behind only Derrick Lewis (10). pic.twitter.com/XTpqq76axs
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) June 21, 2020
Yet, both of them have to wait for Stipe Miocic and Daniel Cormier to finish their business and then to step in and battle.
That won’t be too soon, and according to many, meaning that both Ngannou and Blaydes might have to step in the octagon once more until the end of the year.
As for Volkov, this was his chance to get into the elite layer of UFC heavyweights, and establish himself as one of the potential few fighters who might earn himself a title-eliminator fight.
This was his second defeat in the previous three fights and a message that he still needs to work on his skills in the UFC even though he won the belts in Bellator and M-1.
Nikola Velickovic is a sports journalist who loves to write and read on all sports. Nikola contributes both news updates and functions as a sports breaking news writer at WagerBop.