The typical wrestler versus striker matchup at heavyweight comes back around this weekend as Curtis Blaydes meets with Chris Daukaus with both men trying to get themselves back into the contention spots amidst a recent tussle from some rising stars in the heavyweight ranks.
Following on from Tom Aspinall's faultless display against Alexander Volkov last week, both men now come into this fight knowing it is an absolute must-win if they are to get recognised as a threat in the division once more. Blaydes is still in fourth and seemingly always one more win away from jumping back into title contention, but after his loss to Derrick Lewis, Daukaus is down in ninth.
Needless to say that Blaydes' way of winning this fight is once again with the wrestling. Despite only winning five of his 15 wins in this manner with the other 10 being TKO/KO victories, the American is still one of the most threatening wrestlers around. In fact, the 6ft 4 former D1 star has still dominated the likes of Jairzinho Rozenstruik and Volkov on the ground within the past two years, and his only real slip up (albeit, a major one) in his pursuit of the title since his loss to Francis Ngannou back in 2018, has been that KO to Lewis.
Daukaus also felt the fury of the "Black Beast" though, as he was also dispatched last time out in round one by Lewis. Still, the black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu will fancy himself on the mat against the blue belt of Blaydes, but with his opponent boasting such incredible strength and technical ability as a wrestler, Daukaus still has to keep this on the feet once again.
Given how it's a five-round fight too, the Philadelphia man needs a TKO/KO, because as long as this goes on, Blaydes will continue to rack up the takedowns and win the rounds. At the same time, Daukaus, just like Blaydes, has only that defeat to Lewis in the past few years top contend with since his move into the UFC, as he beat Parker Porter inside the first round on his debut, before beating Rodrigo Nascimento, Alexey Oleinik, and Shamil Abdurakhimov with a Performance of the Night display soon after.
We're going to tip Blaydes to win this oe on points, however, as he likely takes Daukaus into the deep waters of wrestling once more.