One of the top contenders within the UFC’s heavyweight division, Curtis Blaydes has been looking to prove he deserves a title shot. While he exhausted a lot of his strength, “Razor” did all that he could to take down a former champion in Alexander Volkov.
At UFC on ESPN 11, Blaydes (14-2, 1NC) took control against Volkov (31-8), beating him via unanimous decision (49-46, 48-47, 48-46). Inside the UFC’s APEX Center in Las Vegas, Blaydes set the record for most takedowns scored by a heavyweight with 14.
“I’m tired,” Blaydes stated after the fight. “Volkov was a lot harder than I thought to take down. He had big strong legs… It’s always a good experience to know you can go five (rounds)… I know I’ve got to work on my conditioning after the third round. I’m happy with the win, Volkov’s legit, and I’m one step closer to a title shot.”
The pace was set for what would be a productive evening for Blaydes in the first ten seconds, as he immediately landed a single-leg takedown. Blaydes’ hand control had him locking in the ground game with no sign of letting up. He then landed a double underhook and would strike the face of Volkov. By the end of round one, Blaydes outstruck Volkov 33-3.
Blaydes already warned fans that his game plan would be to wrestle his opponent, and the tweet would end up being a talking point throughout the fight.
“FYI if y’all were hoping to see a 25 minute stand up war you probably shouldn’t tune in to the main event cause I fully intend on ragdolling my opponent just figured I’d let y’all know ahead of time.”
FYI if y’all were hoping to see a 25 minute stand up war you probably shouldn’t tune in to the main event cause I fully intend on ragdolling my opponent just figured I’d let y’all know ahead of time 🤷🏾♂️
— Curtis Blaydes (@RazorBlaydes265) June 19, 2020
— UFC (@ufc) June 21, 2020
By round two, Blaydes would land strong rights and had seven takedowns already. Blaydes would not stop smothering Volkov, who was moving around to get into some sort of good positioning. With over eight minutes of control time on the ground already, Blaydes would not let Volkov breath, figuratively. Meanwhile, literally, Blaydes was sounding tired when by his corner.
By the third, Volkov was trying to avoid the takedown and used his knees to gain some momentum. They were bleeding as Blaydes dragged him across the floor. Every so often, Volkov would bring Blaydes back up, and landed a few shots. Round four saw the record (11) of takedowns get broken, but referee Herb Dean wanted more action and brought the fighters up. Volkov took advantage and hit a few rights and a takedown of his own, with the announce team applauding his actions. With Blaydes bleeding by the mouth, it looked as if luck was on Volkov’s side.
— UFC (@ufc) June 21, 2020
Round five saw both just swinging away at one another, with a tired Blaydes trying for a takedown. Volkov was scouting his opponent well and landed a knee as Blaydes was reaching. Still, Blaydes landed one last takedown as Volkov almost hooked in the triangle. Both ended up fighting on the floor before it was all over.
Blaydes has now won four in a row. The third-ranked fighter in the UFC’s heavyweight rankings, Blaydes is hoping to face the winner of Stipe Miocic v. Daniel Cormier III. In his way may be Francis Ngannou, who has beaten him twice before.
The loss ended a one-fight win streak for Volkov. He is now 2-2 in his last four fights, last beating Greg Hardy back in November.