Curtis Blaydes promised a suffocating performance in the UFC on ESPN 11 main event and the top five ranked heavyweight definitely delivered.
On the back of 14 takedowns over five rounds, Blaydes won a unanimous decision over Alexander Volkov, although he definitely had to gut out the final 10 minutes with his gas beginning to run low. Ultimately Blaydes’ dominance on the mat was just too much to overcome as he secured a fourth straight win while moving ahead towards his goal of becoming UFC champion.
“I’m tired,” Blaydes said while breathing heavy after the win. “Volkov was a lot harder than I thought to takedown. He was real strong. It’s always good to experience to know you can go 25 minutes.
“I’m happy with the win. Volkov’s legit. Now I’m one step closer to the title shot.
It took less than 10 seconds for Blaydes to put Volkov on the mat with his first takedown as he looked to employ his powerful wrestling attack to ground the Russian. With Volkov desperately trying to get back to his feet, Blaydes continued to punish him with punches on the canvas as he maintained total control.
At the start of the second round, Blaydes decided to throw hands as he blasted Volkov with a powerful right hand and then rushing forward to take the action back down to the mat. Blaydes continued to maintain his ground control until he found an opening to unleash a series of elbows that came slicing down like an axe chopping through wood.
Blaydes just kept adding to his takedown total in each passing round but the output was starting to slow down despite his dominance on the ground.
A stand up from referee Herb Dean late in the fourth round gave Volkov an opportunity to throw a barrage of strikes while fending off another takedown as he clipped Blaydes with some hard punches. Blood began pouring out of Blaydes’ mouth as exhaustion started to set in but Volkov just couldn’t take advantage.
Time and time again, Blaydes found a way to swoop inside, grab onto the legs and bring the fight back to the floor. He may have been dragging himself across the finish line but Blaydes found a way to close out the night for his second straight win in a main event.
Considering his current run, Blaydes would typically be looking at a title shot already but with reigning champion Stipe Miocic preparing for a trilogy with Daniel Cormier and Francis Ngannou waiting in the wings for the winner, it’s tough to say what he does next.
What’s most likely is contract negotiations as Blaydes previously expressed interest in seeking a new deal with the UFC and that will likely keep him busy for the time being.