Curtis “Razor” Blaydes comes off a dominant second-round TKO victory over former heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos in January.
It’s a matchup of Top-10 heavyweights as the headline bout of UFC Fight Night 173 on Saturday night from Las Vegas as American Curtis Blaydes takes on Russia’s Alexander Volkov. Blaydes is a -365 favourite on the MMA odds with Volkov at +255. The event was initially to take place at the SaskTel Centre in Saskatoon.
Blaydes vs. Volkov UFC Vegas 3 Odds
The UFC heavyweight champion is Stipe Miocic and the No. 1 contender is Daniel Cormier. They have fought twice previously and will again at UFC 252 on Aug. 15. The 41-year-old Cormier has said he’s retiring win or lose, and there’s speculation that the 37-year-old Miocic might as well to tend to his family and continue his work as a firefighter in his home of Cleveland.
Thus, it’s not out of the question that the 29-year-old Blaydes (13-2), ranked third in the division, could get a title shot early next year with a win here. Perhaps against No. 2 Francis Ngannou? He is the one who has handed Blaydes his only two losses, coming via first-round TKO (punches) in November 2018 and second-round TKO (doctor stoppage) in April 2016.
“Razor” Blaydes comes off a dominant second-round TKO victory (punches) over former heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos in January. Blaydes wins 77 per cent of the time by KO/TKO. The 6-foot-4, 260-pounder averages 3.74 significant strikes per minute (absorbs 1.86) and a whopping 6.63 takedowns per 15 minutes with 55 per cent accuracy. His takedown defence is 25 per cent.
Volkov (31-7), 31, is ranked seventh in the division and is a former Bellator heavyweight champion. “Drago” – Volkov is a 6-foot-7 Russian so nicknamed after “Rocky IV” villain Ivan Drago – has won seven of his past eight in the Octagon. He followed up a third-round KO loss to Derrick Lewis with a unanimous decision victory over former NFL Pro Bowl defensive end Greg Hardy in November 2019.
Overall, Volkov has won 20 of his bouts by KO/TKO, eight by decision and three by submission. On the flip side, three of his losses are by decision, two by submission and two by KO/TKO. Volkov averages 5.36 significant strikes per minute (absorbs 2.48) and 0.75 takedowns per 15 minutes with 75 per cent accuracy. His takedown defence is 76 per cent. Volkov says he hasn’t been able to train in his usual gym in Russia because of COVID-19 and essentially has been training at home.
UFC Fight Night Predictions: Blaydes vs. Volkov
This is basically grappler (Blaydes) vs. striker (Volkov). Even though Volkov is three inches taller, the two fighters’ reach is the same and both have orthodox stances. Blaydes’ average fight time is just over 9:00, while for Volkov it’s 15:00. Blaydes wins by second-round TKO (price for method of victory TBA).