UFC on ESPN 11 is all set to have a massive Heavyweight clash serve as the main event. Fans will get to see 3rd ranked Curtis Blaydes face off against 7th ranked Alexander Volkov. The fight has huge implications in the division as current challenger Daniel Cormier will retire following his trilogy fight against Stipe Miocic. Francis Ngannou will fight the winner of the UFC 252 main event with Blaydes being next in line should he overcome ‘Drago.’
The 7th ranked Russian Heavyweight fighter has suffered defeat just once in his 6 fights in the UFC. It came against Derrick Lewis at the infamous UFC 229. Out of his 5 wins, 3 have come via decision. This includes a split decision over Timothy Johnson in his UFC debut at Fight Night: Mousasi vs Hall 2. In addition, he has unanimous decision wins over Roy Nelson (UFC on Fox: Johnson vs Reis) and Greg Hardy (Fight Night: Magomedsharipov vs Kattar). The latter was his final outing in the cage.
The other two wins have come via finishes. One of them was against Fabricio Werdum and the other came against Stefan Struve. The latter which came in the 3rd round remains his quickest UFC finish. It is a clear indicator that he isn’t one to finish a fight. But his record of 20 KO/TKO wins from 31 fights does prove otherwise. At the pre-fight media interaction, he revealed he worked on his takedown defense. For his sake, he needs to hope that it is strong enough to withstand the onslaught from ‘Razor.’
The 3rd ranked Heavyweight, Curtis Blaydes is a polar opposite in fighting style. ‘Razor’ has never been involved in a submission despite having a wrestling heavy fight style. In 8 wins from 11 fights in the UFC, Blaydes has only had 3 decision wins. These came against Daniel Omielanczuk (UFC 213) and Justin Willis (Fight Night: Thompson vs Pettis) and Mark Hunt (UFC 221). He has finished off Cody East, Aleksei Oleinik, Shamil Abdurakhimov, and Junior dos Santos in the 2nd round. Only Alistair Overeem managed to pass the 10-minute mark before going down via TKO.
‘Razor’ will look to deplete his opponent and go for a stoppage. He hinted at wrestling in the pre-fight media interaction, but his tweet, later on, indicated that he will grapple for a quick finish.
However, that could open him up to counter-attack by ‘Drago’ who has more finishes than Blaydes has wins. But a majority of these have come before ‘Drago’ signed with the UFC.
The 3rd ranked fighter has momentum on his side with 3 wins on the bounce. His only professional defeats have come at the hand of the dangerous Francis Ngannou. The small Octagon too will favor Blaydes with him securing a 2nd round finish. If Volkov is to have any chance he needs to maintain his distance and avoid going to ground.
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