Curtis Blaydes has been a heavyweight takedown machine in his UFC career. In his UFC Fight Night 166 main event against Junior dos Santos at PNC Arena in Raleigh, North Carolina, Blaydes wasn’t unable to take the fight to the ground. He was, however, able to score a brutal combination of punches to score a TKO of the former heavyweight champion in the second round to further cement his status as a top threat in the division.
Blaydes (13-2) tried for takedowns in the opening round but found each attempt stifled by dos Santos (21-7). Once one of the most feared strikers in the sport, dos Santos looked slow to pull the trigger and take advantage of the fight remaining on the feet. In the late stages of the opening frame, Blaydes was undeterred and changed his strategy from looking to get inside for takedowns to engaging in striking exchanges.
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In the second round, Blaydes briefly dipped down, giving the impression he would shoot again for a takedown but instead threw out a jab and followed up with an overhand right that connected cleanly to the jaw of the Brazilian. With dos Santos staggering backward, Blaydes pounced, throwing a knee before unloading with a series of right hands as dos Santos covered up until the referee was forced to jump in. The win came at the 1:06 mark of Round 2.
Following the victory, which ran his current win streak to three fights, Blaydes was quick to call for a title shot, saying he’d now proven his wrestling and striking skills in the Octagon. The only two career defeats on Blaydes’ resume came against Francis Ngannou, both by TKO.
Dos Santos was returning from being forced out of a fight in November due to a viral infection in his leg. He has now lost two consecutive fights, also suffering a TKO loss to Ngannou last March.