UFC Fight Night: Curtis Blaydes vs. Derrick Lewis

(This fight will take place on February 20th at 8:00 PM at UFC Fight Night)

On Saturday, February 20, 2021, top heavyweight fighters Curtis Blaydes and Derrick Lewis will meet at UFC Fight Night to end the media war and to identify a possible title contender. The main fight will begin at approximately 8:00 PM EST. 

Odds on the fight have been released, with sportsbooks placing the clear favorite as Curtis Blaydes. 

Curtis has been in great form, winning his last four fights and is currently ranked as the second most dangerous heavyweight in the UFC. Lewis is not far behind, being ranked two lines lower at number four. Despite this, the sportsbooks are not particularly impressed by the closeness of the fighters on paper. 

The Hype Before the Fight

The fighters have been vocal about their upcoming trip to the Octagon. Lewis has tweeted that he plans to take Blaydes forward with his feet. The fighter has also came out in an interview with MMA Fighting, where he has detailed his strategy along with a prediction for the fight:

I for sure have to get down 15, 20 pounds to feel comfortable in there, and you really will see something scary out of me for sure. Yeah, put that on the headline. Make the headlines, go ahead. Type it. That’s headlines right there. I’m going to take Curtis Blaydes down and finish him.

Blaydes has responded with laughter, after immediately accepting the challenge. UFC President Dana White was more than happy to make the fight official on November 28 at Fight Night. 

Tale of the Tape

16 Fights 31
14 Wins 23
2 Losses 7
0 No Contest 1
6'3 Height 6'2
264 lbs Weight 264 lbs
29 Age 35

Curtis Blaydes

During his professional career, the fighter has only lost to Francis Ngannou.

  • 16 fights, 14 wins, 2 losses

Blaydes has been approaching the fight in dazzling form, confidently dealing with recent opponents. The only loss came for the heavyweight was Francis Ngannou. Marking the second time that Curtis has lost to the Cameroonian. 

However, despite the wins over high-ranked opponents such as Alistair Overeem, Junior Dos Santos and Alexander Volkov; Dana White has been hesitant to give the Blaydes the title. This comes down presumably to the dull nature of the wins. 

After the humbling defeat against Ngannou, Blaydes changed his tactics. The heavyweight has been relying more heavily on the struggle and wrestling aspects of the fights. Normally this would be fine, however the caution and unconvincing in striking techniques have not translated into spectacular performances.

This certainly goes against the leadership of the UFC. Thus, this next fight should serve as an excellent catalyst for Blaydes’ chase for the title. 

Derrick Lewis

UFC record holder for knockouts among heavyweights.

  • 31 fights, 23 wins, 7 losses

Derrick Lewis has gained the love and admiration of UFC fans not only by way of his impressive knockouts, but also with his outlandish statements. The American is a UFC veteran, who has already had more than 20 fights in his career. 

Lewis has already managed to fight for the title once and set the record for the most knockouts in the heavyweight division with 11, and is tied for the second most knockouts of all time, regardless of weight. 

The fighter does carry some uncertainty on the ground, is poorly protected from transitions to the canvas and does not have very good functional training. In his fights, Derrick waits for the first mistake of his opponents before immediately tagging them with a barrage of blows. 

Many have not had time to react to such an attack, and for that reason Lewis is confidently among the top five most dangerous UFC heavyweights. 

A true fan of the showmanship, Lewis loves the trash talk and will gladly take any opportunity to piss off the opponent. Just so happens that this is exactly how he earned his fight with Blaydes. 

Blaydes vs. Lewis prediction

Curtis Blaydes is a versatile, tough, and very accurate fighter who is not used to risking himself in the exchanges. His fighting style works at a distance and goes for the finish whenever possible. Pressing them into the wall, bringing the fight to the ground, all in all exhausting the opponent.

The only fighter to this day to find the magic antidote to this style has been Ngannou. According to statements from Lewis, he is not afraid to fight with Blaydes on the canvas, and is ready for it.

However, it's a statement that is admittedly hard to believe. From a predictive mindset, it is difficult to see how Derrick can successfully protect himself from the takedowns, as he does not move much and is often stagnant, which would seemingly make him the perfect prey for an explosive athlete like Curtis. 

In the heavyweight division, one blow can decide the entire outcome of the fight. However, in order to deliver it, the athlete must have great movement. Lewis has problems with this, while Blaydes has an excellent sense of the movement and distance between the fighters. 

Curtis Blaydes’ caution and his technical preparation for this fight makes him the obvious favorite.