Curtis Blaydes put on a wrestling clinic in the main event of UFC on ESPN 11, earning a wide decision victory over top contender Alexander Volkov.
The main event of UFC on ESPN 11 was a heavyweight affair, one that could land the winner in the title picture. As murky as the weight class has been over the past year, things have started to become clearer. While whoever wins between Curtis Blaydes and Alexander Volkov likely won’t be the next in line, they’ll be within striking distance.
That’s all thanks to Stipe Miocic vs. Daniel Cormier 3 being booked for August. With Francis Ngannou next in line, the Blaydes vs. Volkov winner could be next after that. Or, should either Cormier or Miocic retire with a win, perhaps even sooner, for a vacant belt.
Which meant a lot was on the line in the UFC on ESPN 11 main event. A fight that went how most keen observers expected.
Curtis Blaydes got the takedown immediately, clocking in at nine seconds into the contest. Volkov tried to fight his way back to his feet, but he ended up giving his back in the process. Volkov ended up eating some shots and then attempted to get back to his feet before being suplexed by Blaydes. Blaydes would land some hard knees and pepper Volkov with shots on the ground, tiring out the Russian. The round would come to a close with Blaydes on top, an absolutely dominant round.
Blaydes opened up with some huge right hands in round two, snapping Volkov’s head back multiple times. Blaydes landed a huge right hand and jumped in on a beautiful double leg takedown to get Volkov down. Volkov tried to get back to his feet, but was dragged down, and just conceded to letting Blaydes sit in his guard. Volkov attempted to just hold onto Blaydes, but Blaydes started landing some huge elbows. Blaydes tried to elbow Volkov’s head through the mat with some of them. Volkov would work his way to the feet and land a nice body kick, but Blaydes would get another takedown to end the round on top.
Blaydes shot for the takedown early in round three, but Volkov stuffed it. Volkov landed a kick to the body, and Blaydes shot for the takedown once again, and Volkov stuffed him once again. However third time was the charm as Blaydes would get the takedown up against the fence. Volkov tried to work his way back to his feet, but once again was dragged down. Blaydes would land a big knee then took Volkov’s back, before shifting position and letting Volkov put his back to the fence. Volkov went for a guillotine off his back but was unable to get it. Volkov would get back to his feet in the final seconds but was unable to do much damage with the time remaining.
Volkov threw a kick to start the fourth round and was taken down immediately. Volkov would work his way back to the feet, but Blaydes would drag him down again. It was a theme throughout much of the fight. Volkov would work his way back to the feet, and Blaydes would shoot for the takedown but was stuffed. Blaydes would however get the takedown after separating and end up in Volkov’s guard. Volkov started elbowing Blaydes off his back, which was actually more than what Blaydes was doing, as Blaydes seemed to take the time to get a breather. The two would eventually get stood up, and Volkov seemed to be the fresher fighter. Volkov got a takedown of his own in the final seconds of the round!
Volkov started the fifth round by pushing the pressure, and he seemed to be way fresher than Blaydes. Volkov landed a huge head kick that wobbled Blaydes early, but Blaydes would get a big takedown once again! Blaydes would get Volkov’s back and land some punches from the top. Volkov would fight back to his feet, but Blaydes would keep on him and keep the fight in the clinch. Blaydes would shoot in for another takedown, and land some knees in the clinch. Blaydes would get a big takedown in the final 90 seconds that seemed to secure his victory. Volkov looked for a triangle off his back but couldn’t get it. Volkov tried to throw strikes off his back, but nothing was really doing damage. Curtis Blaydes would end the fight on top, and earn himself a clear decision victory.
— UFC (@ufc) June 21, 2020
The question now is, where does the win leave Curtis Blaydes? Having lost twice to Francis Ngannou, he’ll sit behind “The Predator” who is likely to get the winner of Miocic vs. DC 3. The problem there is that unless the winner of that fight retires, Blaydes could be waiting a while. On the plus side, he set a takedown record for the heavyweight division, hitting 12 throughout the fight.
Official Result: Curtis Blaydes def. Alexander Volkov by unanimous decision (49-46, 48-47, 48-46)