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In what will be their fourth event in four weeks, the UFC has just two cards remaining before they take their talents to the much anticipated “Fight Island” on July 12th. While they’ve had to make do with talent already located in the United States to this point, Dana White and company have done a great job assembling strong cards with meaningful fights strung throughout.
When UFC the event comes to a close Saturday night, a pair of heavyweight contenders will have duked it out in the main event. A win could set up a fight with the No. 2 contender, Francis Ngannou, on Fight Island. You can stream it entirely on ESPN+. Let’s take a closer look at that main event between Curtis Blaydes and Alexander Volkov.
Curtis Blaydes (13-2-0) vs. Alexander Volkov (31-7-0)
These odds came from FanDuel Sportsbook on June 19, 2020.
Coming into the weekend ranked seventh for the heavyweight belt, Alexander Volkov is already well-established in the fight game. With a professional record that includes nearly 40 fights, over two-thirds of his 31 wins have come via knockout.
The last time we saw him inside the octagon was a largely boring affair with former NFL star Greg Hardy. Fighting in his home of Moscow, Russia, Volkov did what he needed to do to earn his seventh win in eight fights. It was also his first fight since 2017 that he allowed to go to the judge’s scorecard.
For Curtis Blaydes, a shot at the title is all but in reach. A win here would bring him one step closer to his ultimate goal of earning the heavyweight belt. Before then, a (third) rematch against Francis Ngannou would certainly be in order, as only two professional losses have come against the fellow heavyweight.
The last time we saw Blaydes in the octagon was a second-round TKO of Junior dos Santos back in January. The win meant that Blaydes claimed victory for the seventh time in eight fights, with over half of those coming by way of KO/TKO.
With a slight advantage on paper, in both physical presence and statistics, Blaydes comes into this one as the heavy favorite. His only losses came against the clear No. 1 contender for the belt. Blaydes has an impressive resume that could be put up against anyone in the heavyweight division.
I expect Blaydes to take this one to the ground if he’s unable to finish Volkov in the first round. With this in mind, I’m taking Blaydes with an early stoppage. That said, I’m buying some insurance on the back-end with Blaydes grinding out the Russian as needed.