Curtis Blaydes reminded UFC fans that he belongs in the upper echelon of the heavyweight division after smashing Russia’s Shamil Abdurakhimov at UFC 242.
Not long ago, with a four fight win streak in the UFC, Curtis Blaydes was in title contention. There was certainly talk that a win against Francis Ngannou at at UFC Beijing could land him in a title fight. Unfortunately, things did not go his way that night. Blaydes, practically a baby at 28-years old by heavyweight standards, bounced back against Justin Willis in March at UFC Nashville. At UFC 242 in Abu Dhabi on Saturday, he was looking to make it two in a row against Shamil Abdurakhimov.
The Russian, fighting out of Dagestan, had won three straight, with two finishes in that stretch. Most recently, he finished Poland’s Marcin Tybura at UFC St. Petersburg.
Blaydes forced Abdurakhimov to the outside early, and within thirty seconds, had the fight to the ground. He looked to take the back, but Abdurakhimov worked back up. Only for Blaydes to throw him back to the canvas. Blaydes again looked to control his opponent, however the Russian worked back up, controlling the hands. Back in the middle, Abdurakhimov fired off an uppercut, but Blaydes once again shot in for and completed a takedown. That marked his third within the first half of the opening round.
This time, Blaydes maintained control for a bit, landing some knees. When Abdurakhimov powered up, he was dragged right back down. On the fourth takedown, Blaydes moved to mount, and began dropping some heavy bombs, elbows and punches, on Abdurakhimov, who was frankly saved by the bell.
Cageside Press scored the round 10-8 for Curtis Blaydes
It was almost an instant takedown for Curtis Blaydes in round two, which moved him to five for five. This time, he was in half-guard, with Abdurakhimov looking to tie him up, then find a way out. However, he risked giving up his back. Blaydes began landing some hard punches, with ref Mark Goddard yelling at Abdurakhimov to “get out of that spot.” He did, but wound up defenseless again a moment later. A Blaydes elbow split him open, smashing his nose, and Goddard had seen enough, waving it off.
— UFC (@ufc) September 7, 2019
Official Decision: Curtis Blaydes def. Shamil Abdurakhimov by TKO, Round 2, 2:22