UFC Raleigh: Will Blaydes or Dos Santos Inch Closer to a Title Shot?

UFC heavyweight Curtis Blaydes
Daniel Omielanczuk, right, fights Curtis Blaydes in a heavyweight mixed martial arts bout at UFC 213, Saturday, July 8, 2017, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

On Saturday January 25, 2020, Curtis Blaydes and JDS will square off in the Main Event at UFC Fight Night 166, commonly UFC Raleigh. The bout should be an edge-of-your-seat showdown between two top heavyweight contenders that are both seasoned strikers and harness knockout power. While JDS has more experience in the Octagon, Blaydes has a track record of taking on some of the toughest fighters in the UFC’s Heavyweight division.

A Rundown on Curtis “Razor” Blaydes

Blaydes, 28, is the number three ranked UFC Heavyweight. He boasts elite level striking when standing with his opponents and is a relentless finisher that delivers precise punches, overwhelming his victims. But it doesn’t stop there. Effective takedown ability with the strength to toss his opponents around the Octagon and surprising grappling technique, make Blaydes a formidable foe for virtually any opponent.

Coming off of two wins, taking his record to 12-2-0, Blaydes is well on his way to a title shot. But he must make his way through the veteran, Junior dos Santos, and his equally dangerous arsenal first.

The Veteran, Junior “Cigano” dos Santos

For JDS, 35, the prospect of fighting a heavier and younger fighter doesn’t shake him in the least. The number four ranked UFC Heavyweight has been matched up against and beaten 21 worthy adversaries in his long professional career (he has only lost six) and is looking to add one more victory to that record.

A power striker and well-rounded mixed martial artist, JDS hits like a heavyweight and moves like a welterweight. Blaydes will certainly need to maximize his cardio to keep up with the speed of his opponent.

Prediction for the Fight 

It’s hard to predict the outcome of any fight, however, one prediction can be made about the UFC Raleigh Main Event. It won’t go the distance. On paper, the bout should be an all out, precision based slugfest that will end in Blaydes or JDS taking an unexpected nap.

Who Deserves a Title Shot?

Both JDS and Blaydes would make for an exciting match against the current champ. However, by the time either of these two get their title shot, there could very well be someone other than Miocic holding that belt. 

While JDS taking the number one spot once again would be exciting, MMA is all about a quick turnover of fighters until a superstar champ is established. At 35 years old JDS may only have a few years left and will probably take minimal fights, whereas a younger Blaydes could be ripe for a long title defense. The latter is preferred by many fans of the sport including myself.

There’s the competition to consider as well. Miocic vs. DC 3 is likely up next. March’s Ngannou vs. Rozenstruik could also have something to say about who gets the next shot at heavyweight gold.