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UFC Vegas 15: Blaydes vs. Lewis - Main Fight Preview

Curtis Blaydes vs Derrick Lewis

Curtis Blaydes (14-2-1 MMA, 9-2-1 UFC) is one of the athletes with the greatest technical polish in the heavyweight division within the UFC. “Razor” has a very interesting wrestling , very honest physical form for the division standard and is able to demonstrate decent performance in all areas of his MMA game when required.

At 29 years of age, Curtis finds himself in what can be considered his best career form. Coming from four consecutive wins, the runner-up in the division again tries to claim a shot at the belt. The last time he came close to realizing his position as a challenger, Blaydes was defeated by Francis Ngannou, author of the two marks in his defeats column.

On the other side of the cage will be the amusing Derrick Lewis (24-7, 1 NC in MMA, 15-5 in the UFC), who despite not being a technical master, has qualities that allow him to always be at the top of this table category, especially when we place the aforementioned in contrast to the level of competition often encountered.

Unlike Curtis, the "Black Beast" has much more apparent limitations in his game. However, he manages to avoid depending on them against a large number of opponents who cross his path. Lewis' firepower comes down to the strength he has in his hands and the powerful ground and pound , sustained by boxing rated 5.5 (on the MMA scale, obviously). Brute strength can make a difference when coupled with these two factors at the start of the duels, but it quickly goes away: the fuel tank of the 35-year-old quasi-veteran is terrible.

The big problem with most analyzes of Lewis' style is precisely to disregard the danger he can bring to his opponents, despite the chucro and caricature style. Technique by technique, Blaydes is much better than Derrick (who is well below having a punch with Ngannou's strength and technique, for comparison purposes), but needs to be assertive and precise so as not to expose himself unnecessarily.

Curtis Blaydes vs Derrick Lewis

There is a very interesting and relatively safe path for Blaydes here: using wrestling to practically neutralize all of your opponent's offensive potential. The chances of success are quite considerable, given that Derrick Lewis's floor is a complete freak. Daniel Cormier, for example, managed to knock down and pack the figure with a rear naked choke in the second round. Until he got there, however, he was cautious, showing that he didn't want to expose himself to the opponent's kick and run the risk of being surprised.

This duel could even be a good test for a more defensive and conservative approach to Blaydes, with a view to a third fight against Ngannou that will inevitably happen. Although quite different opponents, it is a chance to demonstrate maturity and versatility. With the good skill and physical capacity he has, it is precisely these one - off tune-ups that Curtis, a fighter who already has some respectable names in his cartel and has real chances of becoming king of this division, is missing in the coming years.

In the standing fight, Curtis has total conditions to beat Lewis, as long as he doesn't get carried away or make rough mistakes. Although lacking refinement, the Texas athlete is usually less passive and slow than Volkov and Cigano, for example, two much better boxers than Blaydes himself won. In the end, this ends up being a very interesting test for the “Razor”, who in the opinion of the scribe is very favorite, but has the task of not making mistakes that a top fighter cannot afford.