Curtis Blaydes was in trouble early, but survived the power of Mark Hunt, and suplexed his way to victory at UFC 221 in Perth, Australia.
UFC 221 was live from Perth Australia in the UFC’s first trip to the city down under. In the main event, Yoel Romero faces Luke Rockhold in an interim middleweight title bout. However, before got underway, we had a battle of top-10 heavyweights in the co-main event. It was Australia’s own Mark Hunt, taking on the young prospect Curtis Blaydes in a match-up with possible title implications down the line. It was a match-up of different styles as well, as Blaydes was expected to wrestle Hunt and wear him down as the fight progressed, while Hunt would rely on his one-punch knockout power.
Round one began, and we saw Blaydes use his reach and throw a couple of kicks out to close the distance. Eventually he got the takedown, but Hunt immediately sprang to his feet. Hunt then rocked Blaydes badly, and it looked like he might get the finish. Somehow, Blaydes survived that storm, and scored two more takedowns, eventually ending the round in full mount and in control.
Round two began with Blaydes shooting for another takedown less than ten seconds into the round. Hunt shrugged it off. The pair circled off the cage, and came to stand in the center looking to trade. Neither man had their range down, however. With about two minutes left in the round Blaydes landed a takedown, and looked to get in some ground and pound as Hunt couldn’t get to his feet. Blaydes again ended the round in control.
Round three started much like round two, with Blaydes shooting for a takedown right off the opening bell. He got it, as he slammed Hunt to the ground. He then moved his way into mount and dropped good punches and elbows. Eventually Hunt was able to get Blaydes out of mount and get back to his feet. But Blaydes then suplexed him, and prevented him from getting any offense in. Much of the round was spent like this, with Hunt getting back up and Blaydes taking him back down over and over again. It was stunning to see Hunt treated like a ragdoll. Impressively, Blaydes finished with ten takedowns in the fight, a career high.
When it went to the scorecards, tt was an easy fight to judge, your winner: Curtis Blaydes.
Curtis Blaydes def. Mark Hunt by unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26, 29-27)