- Date & Location: Saturday February 20 @ UFC Apex in Las Vegas
- Odds: Curtis Blaydes (-370) vs. Derrick Lewis (+280) via Bovada
- Prediction: Blaydes via KO/TKO
On Saturday, February 20, two UFC heavyweights who are both on winning streaks meet in the main event of a UFC Fight Night event. In that contest, Curtis Blaydes, who is the No. 2 ranked fighter in the official UFC heavyweight rankings, faces the No. 4 ranked Derrick Lewis.
Blaydes is on a four-fight winning streak. Overall, his UFC record is 9-2-0-1. The only fighter Blaydes has lost to in his career is No. 1 ranked Francis Ngannou. Ngannou defeated Blaydes by TKO in April 2016. He scored a second TKO win over Blaydes in November 2018.
Lewis has won his past three contests. His two most recent setbacks came in 2018 and 2019 when UFC heavyweight champ Daniel Cormier submitted him. Former titleholder Junior dos Santos defeated Lewis via TKO.
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BLAYDES vs. LEWIS ODDS
BLAYDES vs. LEWIS PREDICTION & PICK
Blaydes is one of the best wrestlers in the UFC’s heavyweight division. His game plan is relentless takedowns and pressure from the top once he gets the fight to the mat. He has scored one takedown or more in nine of his UFC fights. In his most recent outing, Blaydes defeated Alexander Volkov in a five-round contest. Blaydes attempted 25 takedowns during that contest and landed a UFC heavyweight record on 14 takedowns in a single fight. Blaydes racked up 19:52 of control time during that 25-minute fight.
Lewis’s cardio is getting better, but he’s going to be hard-pressed to keep his wind with Blaydes pursuing so many takedowns. Lewis’s takedown defense is 52 percent, but Daniel Cormier went four-for-four on takedowns when he faced Lewis and Roy Nelson scored on seven of 10 attempts against Lewis. In short, Lewis struggles against better wrestlers.
Lewis is strong and can usually work himself off the mat, but Blaydes is taller, heavier, and more athletic than Lewis and that could be a problem for him.
Prediction: Blaydes at -375 at BetOnline
BETTING VALUE WITH BLAYDES
Blaydes had not gone five rounds before he faced Volkov. He was gassed by the end of that fight, so I believe Blaydes will come into this fight with a better game plan and improved cardio. Blaydes has also improved his boxing and striking skills. That improvement has made him much more than just a wrestler.
I see Blaydes using his striking to set up his takedowns against the cage and then finishing an exhausted Lewis before the horn sounds to end the fifth round. A submission is possible, but I believe a TKO from ground strikes is more probable for Blaydes.
As for Lewis, his striking is incredibly powerful, so there’s always a chance for him to land a heavy strike to end the night, but Lewis has good takedown defense and he only gets hit, on average, 1.73 times per minute, which ranks him eighth all-time in the UFC heavyweight division.
WHO HAS THE EDGE?
Blaydes has statistical advantages over Lewis in every major category except for takedown defense and it’s highly unlikely that Lewis will opt to attempt a takedown outside of a desperation move to stop a striking battle on the feet.
Lewis packs more power in his punches, even when his gas tank runs low. So Blaydes needs to be aware of that fact as long as the fight takes place on the feet. Other than that, Blaydes is the more well-rounded and athletic fighter.
FIGHT STATS: BLAYDES vs. LEWIS
|Curtis Blaydes||Category||Derrick Lewis|
|3.55||Significant Strikes Landed Per Minute||2.64|
|1.73||Significant Strikes Absorbed Per Minute||2.09|
|6.98||Takedown Average Per 15 Minutes||0.54|
|0.0||Submission Average Per 15 Minutes||0.0|
WHAT’S AT STAKE
With UFC heavyweight champion, Stipe Miocic booked to face No. 1 ranked Francis Ngannou in the main event of UFC 260 in March and UFC president Dana White saying the winner of that fight will face former UFC light heavyweight champ Jon Jones, this fight is more or less a placeholder in the rankings.
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