For heavyweights Curtis Blaydes and Chris Daukaus, their UFC Columbus main event wasn’t about climbing the rankings. Rather, the fight was more about maintaining position in a division all but stagnant in the absence of Francis Ngannou.
At some point later this year, with Ngannou recovering from knee surgery and still trying to hammer out a new deal with the organization, an interim title fight will likely be booked. Until that time, both Daukaus and Blaydes were looking to hold onto their spot in the weight class, with Blaydes admitting as much ahead of the fight.
For Daukaus, who had fallen to Derrick Lewis in December, UFC Columbus was a second straight headlining opportunity to prove he belonged among the elite of the weight class.
It was Daukaus connecting first in Saturday’s main event, a glancing blow with a right hand. A heavier right hand connected moments later, forcing Blaydes back. Blaydes fired a low kick, but it was the takedown most observers were waiting for. Another Daukaus right hand landed, Blaydes fired one of his own. More than half the round had ticked away, and Blaydes still hadn’t shot for a takedown. The pair continued to exchange in the second half, and while Daukaus was the busier fighter, he also had a small cut opened up to the side of his left eye.
In the second round, Curtis Blaydes flipped the script. His feared wrestling nowhere to be seen throughout the fight, Blaydes instead crushed Daukaus with a right hand, dropping him. Daukaus was caught on the way in, and Blaydes pounced, landing a bit of ground n’ pound before the ref came in to make the save.
HOW DO YOU LIKE @RAZORBLAYDES265 NOW?!?!? 💥 #UFCColumbus pic.twitter.com/80h2SPvpuO
— UFC (@ufc) March 27, 2022
The win, his second straight, was one of Curtis Blaydes’ more memorable highlights, which should bode well moving forward.
Official Result: Curtis Blaydes def. Chris Daukaus by TKO, Round 2, 0:17