Junior dos Santos vs. Curtis Blaydes - 1/25/20 UFC Fight Night 166 Pick, Odds, and Prediction
Photo by Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports
Curtis Blaydes vs. Junior dos Santos
Saturday, January 25, 2020 at 10:45 pm (PNC Arena)
The Line: Junior dos Santos +216 / Curtis Blaydes -244 -- Over/Under: 2.5
Curtis Blaydes and Junior dos Santos fight Saturday during UFC Fight Night 166 at the PNC Arena.
Curtis Blaydes enters this fight with a 12-2 record and has won 75 percent of his fights by knockout. Blaydes has won six of his last seven fights and is coming off a September win over Shamil Abdurakhimov. Blaydes is averaging 3.71 significant strikes per minute with an accuracy percentage of 51 percent. Blaydes is averaging 6.79 takedowns with an accuracy percentage of 57 percent. Blaydes continues to climb up that ladder as one of the best heavyweights in the world, and he’s fresh off a dominant second round finish. Outside of two losses to Francis Ngannou, Blaydes has yet to lose a fight and it seems like he’s getting more and more comfortable each time he steps in the octagon. 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 on the canvas 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, Blaydes is one of the more balanced fighters in this division and is someone who could have a title shot soon if he keeps on this path. This will be Blaydes’ second career fight in North Carolina.
Junior dos Santos enters this fight with a 21-5 record and has won 71 percent of his fights by knockout. dos Santos has won four his last six fights and is coming off a June loss to Francis Ngannou. dos Santos is averaging 4.76 significant strikes per minute with an accuracy percentage of 48 percent. dos Santos is averaging 0.33 takedowns with an accuracy percentage of 55 percent. dos Santos is coming off a rather quick knockout loss where he went down with one shot that grazed him and was finished with ground and pound. dos Santos now hopes to avoid back-to-back losses for the first time in his career. dos Santos is one of the best boxers in the heavyweight division with terrific technique and still enough power for his opponent to respect. dos Santos also has more variety to his stand up, as he’ll mix in some spinning back kicks and isn’t afraid to work the body rather than head hunt for the quick finish. dos Santos is also a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, so his ground game can’t be overlooked despite five of his last eight wins coming by knockout. This will be dos Santos’ first career fight in North Carolina.
dos Santos and plus money is always worth a look given his experience, and especially here considering he’s never lost back-to-back fights in his career. However, dos Santos looked slow in his last fight, and he’s now fighting a hungry 28-year-old who has been on a tear lately and has the balance to win this fight wherever it goes. Blaydes not only has the power edge at this stage of dos Santos’ career, but he’s also one of the few heavyweights who wouldn’t mind taking the Brazilian to the canvas.
This should be a victory for Blaydes, and we’ll take it inside the distance to cut down on the juice of just an outright victory.