UFC Fight Night 185 at the UFC Apex in Nevada will see #6 contender Derrick “The Black Beast” Lewis face off against #2 ranked contender Curtis “Razor” Blaydes in a 25 minute heavyweight main event.
Blaydes, an incredibly accomplished wrestler, made it very clear that he intends to utilize his wrestling early and often, recently stating on Ariel Helwani’s show that “he’s not going to stand and bang with a guy who has terrible wrestling”.
Derrick Lewis, who recently acquired his record setting 11th heavyweight knockout victory against Aleksei Oleinik, has a decidedly simpler gameplan: Punch Curtis in the face very hard.
Lewis has the knockout power and acumen to take anybody out in one shot. Curtis is well aware of that. However, Curtis may have to stand and trade with him at some point given that Lewis recently showed an improved resilience to submission attempts. In his last fight against Oleinik, a seasoned and expert submission artist, Lewis was able to survive being taken down in the first round to come back and knock him out in the second.
For Blaydes to win, he is going to have to use his wrestling to control the fight and keep Derrick down on the mat, much like he did to Aleksander Volkov back in June. In that fight, Blaydes landed 14/25 takedown attempts on his way to a unanimous decision win.
Gambling Odds & My Prediction
Derrick Lewis: +300 (Underdog)
Curtis Blaydes: -380 (Favorite)
As a Houston guy, it brings me no pleasure to say that I agree with Vegas on this one. Derrick can be neutralized by opponents who vehemently stick to their wrestling against him (see Daniel Cormier). Look for Curtis to shoot for takedowns early and often. I think Blaydes wins by decision.
Don’t be shy about putting money on Derrick though. They don’t call him the Black Beast for nothing.
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