Curtis Blaydes and Derrick Lewis are highlighting the UFC on ESPN 18. These two heavyweights chase a title shot and want to be the next one in the line behind Francis Ngannou, who is, according to Dana White, the undisputed challenger to Stipe Miocic at the moment.
Curtis Blaydes -290
The 29-year old is on a four-win streak that saw him beating the likes of Justin Willis, Shamil Abdurakhimov, Junior dos Santos, and Alexander Volkov. Overall, Blaydes has just one defeat since 2016, and that came via first-round KO against Ngannou, who is the only man so far to defeat this guy.
Razor is no.2 in the heavyweight division right now, behind the French-Cameroonian guy, but one of the youngest, which is his massive advantage.
We are very interested in seeing his gameplan against Lewis, who is massive, as Blaydes uses wrestling techniques more often than any other fighter in the division and is excellent in this area. Lewis’ team said that he improved takedown defense, and if he did. Blaydes will have a hard time here.
Though we need to give this man credit for learning how to combine ground and pound striking with takedowns. That earned him four of his last seven victories.
Derrick Lewis +235
Lewis is the guy with the most knockout wins in UFC history. THE MOST. Do you know what this means? One-tenth of a second, and you are gone. Overall in his 32 MMA matches, 24 were wins, and 19 of them came following a KO.
The last one against Aleksei Oleinik lasted for 21 seconds. Still, the victories vs. Ilir Latifi and Blagoy Ivanov came following a unanimous decision, meaning that Lewis improved his cardio and stamina.
Before these clashes, the Black Beas lost two in a row against Junior dos Santos and Daniel Cormier, the latter one was for the UFC heavyweight title.
The biggest problem for this guy is wrestling, as he finds himself inferior to most of the rivals in such situations. Even in wins against Ivanov and Latifi, Lewis struggled on the ground.
Blades is stronger than the majority of Lewis’ recent opponents. Combine that with his wrestling skills. Now, add the fact that his ground battle is much more efficient than, let’s say, Ivanov’s, and that Blaydes has much better cardio than any of Lewis’ rivals. The conclusion here is pretty clear, Blaydes wins via stoppage.