No. 3 heavyweight Curtis “Razor” Blaydes (12-2, 9 KOs) will meet former champion Junior dos Santos (21-6, 15 KOs, 1 SUB) at UFC on ESPN+24 on Saturday, January 25, 2019 at the PNC Arena in Raleigh, North Carolina. The card airs live starting 8pm ET.
Curtis Blaydes finally might earn a title shot - provided he beats former champion Junior Dos Santos this Saturday in North Carolina.
The UFC odds at Betcris opened with Blaydes as a big -240 favorite, with JDS at +190 on the comeback. Sign Up at Betcris! and let’s break down your best UFC betting options. Live UFC betting is available during the fight as well.
It’s an especially important contest for Blaydes, who is arguably the best heavyweight that hasn’t fought for the belt yet. Part of that is due to the ongoing Daniel Cormier-Stipe Miocic saga. The other major factor is two knockout losses to Francis Ngannou - the latest coming at a time where many felt that he was just one win away from a title challenge. To date, Ngannou remains the only fighter that’s beaten him.
Dos Santos recently had a three-fight win streak snapped by Ngannou, knocking him out of title contention. The Brazilian has had an up-and-down career, but he’s steadily established himself as an elite gatekeeper in tough division. While a third title shot doesn’t seem to be in the near future, JDS always seems to be right in the conversation. Beating Blaydes would be a huge statement that he’s still championship material.
- Curtis Blaydes -245
- Junior Dos Santos +190
- Fight goes/doesn’t go to decision: +290 / -410
Significant Striking Stats
- Strikes landed per minute: Blaydes 3.71 / Dos Santos 4.76
- Striking accuracy: Blaydes 51% / Dos Santos 48%
- Strikes absorbed per minute: Blaydes 2.03 / Dos Santos 3.09
- Striking defense: Blaydes 55% / Dos Santos 58%
- Takedowns per 15 minutes: Blaydes 6.79 / Dos Santos 0.33
- Takedown accuracy: Blaydes 57% / Dos Santos 55%
- Takedown defense: Blaydes 25% / Dos Santos 80%
- Submission average per 15 minutes: Blaydes 0 / Dos Santos 0.07
Blaydes might not have had the meteoric rise of somebody like Ngannou, but the MMA community has quickly realized his massive potential. For starters, he’s only 28 years old in a weight class where many are in their mid-30s and beyond. “Razor” is big, athletic and already one of the best wrestlers in the division. Not only does he have a stellar takedown rate, his top game is excellent and his ground and pound is absolutely brutal. It’s hard not to get excited about heavyweight wrestlers with good cardio.
But while Blaydes has the decided advantage on the mat, he will have some problems in the standup against Dos Santos. The Brazilian is one of the best technical boxers in the division, while Blaydes is still evolving that part of his game. While Cain Velasquez pounded a few years off his career, Dos Santos’ technicality and athleticism has kept him near the top of the division. The chin might not be what it used to be, but Dos Santos is still a guy that beats everybody that doesn’t have an elite skill.
Obviously, Blaydes needs to get this fight to the ground. That’s a tough obstacle, as only Velasquez was able to accomplish that with any consistency - and even then he had to seriously grind for a few rounds. Blaydes easily took down guys like Overeem and Justin Willis, but Dos Santos is far better equipped to fend off takedowns.
UFC Odds Pick: Dos Santos to win at +190
We see JDS as a serious ‘live dog - there is a ton of value in him as a 2-1 underdog. Blaydes can crack, but he’s not the type of explosive one-hitter quitter that Dos Santos has problems with. The Brazilian’s wars with Velasquez left him well-prepared to fight wrestlers, and he should be able to keep this contest on the feet.