Curtis Blaydes and Chris Daukaus fight Saturday in UFC Fight Night 205 at the Nationwide Arena. Blaydes enters this fight with a 15-3 record and has won 67 percent of his fights by knockout. Daukaus enters this fight with a 12-4 record and has won 92 percent of his fights by knockout.
Blaydes has won seven of his last nine fights and is coming off a September win over Jairzinho Rozenstruik. Blaydes is averaging 3.44 significant strikes per minute, with an accuracy percentage of 51 percent. Blaydes is averaging 6.27 takedowns with an accuracy percentage of 53 percent. Blaydes is coming off a decision win at UFC 266, a fight where he landed 113 total strikes and produced three takedowns. Blaydes is now 5-0 in career decisions, and two of his last three fights have seen the judges. Blaydes is a rare heavyweight in that he’s highly aggressive with his takedowns and has extreme success with his attempts, often coming in with a tackle form and throwing around some of the biggest guys in the sport. Once on the canvas, Blaydes has a nasty ground and pound, and it’s where he’s finished a lot of his fights. Blaydes can obviously hold his own standing up and has one-punch knockout potential, but he’s most effective on the ground and usually follows up his opponent’s strike attempt with a takedown rather than a counterstrike. With a background in wrestling and a blue belt in BJJ, Blaydes is one of the more balanced fighters in this division. However, all three of Blaydes losses have come by knockout, so his chin can be questioned. This will be Blaydes’ first career fight in Ohio.
Daukaus has won five of his last six fights and is coming off a December loss to Derrick Lewis. Daukaus is averaging 7.71 significant strikes per minute, with an accuracy percentage of 53 percent. Daukaus is averaging zero takedowns with an accuracy percentage of zero percent. Daukaus is coming off a knockout loss at UFC Vegas 45 where he landed 10 total strikes and ate 14 total strikes. It was the first loss for Daukaus under the UFC banner, and he hopes to avoid back-to-back losses for the first time in his career. Daukaus is a black belt in BJJ, but it’s his knockout power that draws most of the attention. Daukaus has produced knockouts in 11 of his 12 victories, and 14 of his 16 fights overall have resulted in knockouts. Daukaus won his only career decision that was decided five years ago. While a bit of a late bloomer at 32 years old, Daukaus has come along nicely quite quickly, and he’s now fully committed to the sport after recently retiring from his job as a police officer. This will be Daukaus’ first career fight in Ohio.
This line is quite disrespectful toward Daukaus who has been impressive in a short span, but we still need to see him against quality competition before we can trust him in spots like this. We’ll learn more about Daukaus in this bout. Blaydes is the safer bet given his proven track record, he’s the bigger fighter with the longer reach, and he has a clear edge on the ground. Blaydes should win this fight, and I’ll take him by finish to shave down the ML price.