Curtis Blaydes vs Alexander Volkov
Curtis Blaydes (-400) (13-2-0, 1 NC)
Blaydes comes into this fight riding a three-fight win streak, finishing his last two bouts both by 2nd round TKO. The UFC veteran has put together quite an impressive resume to date, with his only two losses coming against fellow heavyweight contender Francis Ngannou.
With DC and Stipe set to meet again in a couple of months and Ngannou likely awaiting the winner, a win in Saturday’s main event won’t guarantee Blaydes a title shot. Yet another impressive performance will give Blaydes the opportunity to cement his place among the heavyweight elite and keep himself firmly in the heavyweight title picture.
Alexander Volkov (+300) (31-7-0)
Volkov will be looking for his 2nd consecutive victory when he steps into the octogan Saturday night, following an unanimous decision victory over rising prospect Greg Hardy last November. Like Blaydes, Volkov has done his part to put together an impressive resume in the UFC with five wins and a lone loss coming to Derrick Lewis; a fight that he likely would have won had he not gotten knocked out with 11 seconds to go.
Nevertheless, Curtis Blaydes will be an extremely tough test for Alexander Volkov. If he’s able to pull out a win here, it would go a long way towards elevating the #7 ranked heavyweight into title contention.
Prediction: Curtis Blaydes via 2nd Round TKO
I expect Blaydes to make a statement in Saturday night’s main event. Blaydes is an extremely well-rounded heavyweight and represents a legitimate step up in competition for Alexander Volkov. He has greatly improved his stand-up since entering the UFC and it compliments his wrestling ability very well. I expect the smaller cage to allow Blaydes to utilize his strength and aggression to smother Volkov en route to another 2nd round finish.