UFC Vegas 90: Brendan Allen Avenges Loss to Chris Curtis, Calls for Strickland Rematch

Brendan Allen and Chris Curtis, UFC Vegas 90
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - APRIL 06: (L-R) Brendan Allen punches Chris Curtis in a middleweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on April 06, 2024 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Middleweights Brendan Allen and Chris Curtis met for the second time in the main event of Saturday’s UFC Vegas 90.

The pair’s initial encounter had come not all that long ago, at a UFC on ESPN event in December of 2021. Allen had not lost since; Curtis was 3-2, 1NC since that fight.

Things went Allen’s way early in Saturday’s rematch, as he took control with a bodylock when the pair came together at center. The takedown would be completed alongside the fence, with Allen taking the back and getting a body lock in place. With over three minutes on the clock “All In” methodically pursued the submission, softening Curtis up and looking to control the wrists. But Curtis turned in and escaped to his feet, perhaps proving something to himself in the process.

On the feet, Curtis walked the former LFA champ down, even while giving up a bit of reach and height. Allen focused on his lateral movement along the fence but was soon covering up when Curtis went on the attack.

Round two saw Curtis find a home for his right hand in the opening minute, but Allen wore it well. Allen answered by walking forward, working his jab and left hand. Another Curtis right would have Allen wagging his finger, as if to say “you didn’t get me.” But Allen did get Curtis, appearing to have him hurt ever so briefly in the ensuing exchange. The back-and-forth would continue with Allen landing a knee up the middle. Curtis ripped the body, and added in a kick to the leg at times.

An action-packed round with both men having their moments led to the third frame. Allen’s corner suggested between rounds that he had won the second, as well as the first. Whether the judges agreed remained to be seen.

More back-and-forth action played out in round three. Allen mixed in an elbow, and landed a right hand. He landed a kick; Curtis fired a lazy jab. Not so lazy was a right hook that landed on Allen a moment later. A thumb poke by Allen, however, halted the action, but Curtis was able to continue after a moment. Back underway, Curtis clipped Allen with a right hand; Allen fired back in response before shooting a takedown. He didn’t quite land it, but took the back of Curtis, who was standing. That forced Curtis to support his opponent’s weight, sapping him of additional energy, at least in theory. It also bought Allen precious time to recover.

Round four saw an eye poke nearly derail things again, with Allen the victim this time. Allen briefly turned away, but was able to continue. Curtis pressed, backing Brendan Allen up. Allen then shot and landed a double-leg takedown at the midway point of the round, and soon had hooks in. Curtis reversed, however, and got back to his feet, forcing Allen to follow. On the feet, Curtis ripped the body, then went upstairs. Allen was showing a fair amount of damage, and while the fight remained close, Chris Curtis appeared far fresher in that department.

An Allen head kick nearly made it a moot point; a takedown attempt followed, but Curtis sprung back up. Only to have Allen drag him down and take the back, both hooks in once again. This time, when Curtis attempted to reverse, Allen countered, transitioning to mount so fluidly it appeared he’d had a premonition of the sequence. Or at least had adapted to Curtis’ defense.

Heading to the final frame, both men remained in the fight. A very sportsmanlike embrace opened the round, with Curtis pressing the action early. Curtis then stuffed an Allen takedown, at least initially, landed a knee, and added few hammerfists before “All In” took the back. Allen couldn’t keep the fight down, however, with Curtis, as he had all fight long, finding a way to escape. On the feet, however, Allen appeared to be getting desperate. The shots were a bit wild, a bit far out now. Curtis marched forward, fired an elbow, and blocked a kick. Allen changed levels for another takedown; Curtis sprawled and ripped the body with Allen still on his knees.

Allen attempted to lay back in guard, but Curtis was having none of that. Instead, he forced Allen up; Allen punched his way in but fell short on a takedown attempt before adjusting and landing it with just over a minute on the clock. Time was a huge factor now, as Curtis had likely been ahead in the round to that point. Allen got his hooks in and landed a few strikes before Curtis reversed and escaped! Another desperation takedown by Allen fell short; he then charged in with a jump knee! Curtis was hurt! Allen fired another punch before the horn sounded, and Curtis fell to one knee, then his side, clutching his hamstring at the end of the bout.

It went to the judges after a grueling, hard-fought five rounds. Two awarded it to Allen, who called for either a title shot, or another rematch, with Sean Strickland. As for Curtis, hopefully the leg injury isn’t too serious, as he remains one of the most reliable fighters in the division.

Official Result: Brendan Allen def. Chris Curtis by split decision (47-48, 48-47, 49-46)