Curtis Blaydes vs. Derrick Lewis
Saturday, November 28, 2020 at 10:00 PM (UFC APEX)
The Line: Derrick Lewis +255 / Curtis Blaydes -305 -- Over/Under: Click to Get Latest Betting Odds
Curtis Blaydes and Derrick Lewis fight Saturday in UFC Vegas 15 at the UFC APEX.
Curtis Blaydes enters this fight with a 14-2 record and has won 71 percent of his fights by knockout. Blaydes has won five of his last six fights and is coming off a June win over Alexander Volkov. Blaydes is averaging 3.55 significant strikes per minute with an accuracy percentage of 53 percent. Blaydes is averaging 6.98 takedowns with an accuracy percentage of 55 percent. Blaydes is coming off a decision win at UFC Vegas 3 where he landed 116 total strikes, 69 percent of his significant strikes and produced 14 takedowns. Blaydes has now won four straight fights, looks for his third win of the year and is now 4-0 in career decisions. 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 picking up 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 opponents 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 and could soon be champion of this weightclass. This will be Blaydes’ third career fight in Las Vegas.
Derrick Lewis enters this fight with a 24-7 record and has won 79 percent of his fights by knockout. Lewis has won six of his last eight fights and is coming off an August win over Aleksei Oleinik. Lewis is averaging 2.64 significant strikes per minute with an accuracy percentage of 50 percent. Lewis is averaging 0.54 takedowns with an accuracy percentage of 26 percent. Lewis is coming off a second round knockout at UFC Vegas 6 where he landed 35 total strikes and 83 percent of his significant strikes. Lewis now holds the UFC record for most heavyweight knockouts with 11, and he looks for his third win of the year. There’s no surprises with Lewis when he steps into the octagon, as he’s a powerful striker who has produced knockouts in 17 of his last 21 wins. With a boxing background and heavy hands, Lewis looks to land that one shot that flips the fight upside down and eventually ends things. Lewis doesn’t have much of a ground game, and he has a reputation for tiring quickly, so he’s going to live and die with his standup striking and hopes to end things in the early rounds. However, each of Lewis’ last nine wins have made it out of the first round. Lewis has improved his takedown defense as of late and his movement has gotten better, but his power striking is where he makes his money. Lewis is a boxer with a blue belt in BJJ, and he will have the edge with most fighters on the feet. This will be Lewis’ seventh career fight in Las Vegas.
Blaydes is going to be the obvious favorite here, as he has the striking to hold his own with Lewis standing up, but he also has the clear edge in the gapping and ground game department. If Blaydes can close the distance and get his hands on Lewis, he should control the fight and win rounds comfortably, and that’s without mentioning a possible submission. With that said, Lewis has improved his takedown defense over the years and he’s also a bit more comfortable in the later rounds. Lewis doesn’t look as gassed in the alter rounds as he did in the past and that’s going to be key in this fight. Lewis also has the edge with his standup striking and the power is the ultimate eraser. I always have a hard time turning down big plus money with somebody who is a knockout artist. We’ve also seen Lewis come through in the underdog role in the past and one could argue this is one of the best stretches we’ve seen from him.
Give me Lewis and the big plus money.