- UFC Fight Night 141 will be held on November 25th, 2018 at Cadillac Arena in Beijing, China
- Heavyweights Curtis Blaydes and Fancis Ngannou meet again in the main event
- This is a pivotal moment for the heavyweight division
The UFC has made a bold move by booking a rematch between Francis Ngannou and Curtis Blaydes. The two heavyweights first fought in 2016, when Blaydes was making his promotional debut and Ngannou was just one fight into his UFC career. Now they’re both ranked inside the top five, and the promoters feel it’s time they meet again.
The heavyweight division is in a precarious state at the moment. Double champ Daniel Cormier holds the strap and has at most two fights left in him. He’s holding out for a payday against either Brock Lesnar or Jon Jones, so the title could be tied up for a while. Then when he retires, he leaves a division filled with aging and declining fighters.
Blaydes is 27 and Ngannou is 32, which makes them babies in heavyweight years. With just a handful of fights to their names, both are in the early days of their fighting careers. This could be the fight that determines the future of the 265 lb division.
UFC Fight Night: Blaydes vs Ngannou 2 Odds
|Who Will Win UFC Fight Night 141?||Odds|
Less than a year ago, Francis Ngannou (11-3) was being hyped as the next big thing in the heavyweight division. He had landed the Knockout of the Year against Alistair Overeem and was granted a title shot against then-champ Stipe Miocic. Ngannou opened as the betting favorite despite Miocic being the most successful heavyweight champ in UFC history.
But then Miocic exposed Ngannou’s limited skill set and absolutely dominated him for five rounds. The loss shattered his confidence, and he was unable to even pull the trigger in his next fight against Derrick Lewis. Now he opens as the underdog against Curtis Blaydes (10-1, 1 NC), a fighter he beat back in 2016.
Tale of the Tape: Curtis Blaydes vs Francis Ngannou
|10-1, 1 NC||PRO RECORD||11-3|
|5-1, 1 NC||UFC RECORD||6-2|
|6 ft 4 in||HEIGHT||6 ft 4 in|
|80 in||REACH||83 in|
Blaydes lost his UFC debut to Ngannou, which marks the only loss in his professional career. Since then he’s grown as a fighter and has learned to better mix strikes into his wrestling. His two wins this year, against veterans Mark Hunt and Alistair Overeem, made him a prospect for the heavyweight crown. Avenging his loss to Ngannou would set him up for a title shot somewhere down the line.
Ngannou vs Blaydes 1 was a pretty one-sided affair. Blaydes stuck a few jabs and attempted a few takedowns, but nothing he tried had any lasting effect. Ngannou landed some heavy shots, including a few of his trademark uppercuts, which prompted a doctor to order a stoppage after the second round.
The fight world was too quick to declare Ngannou as the next big thing, and now it’s rushing to dismiss him as a hype job.
That was Blaydes’ UFC debut and the 27-year-old has developed in the two years since the fight. His wins against Hunt and Overeem demonstrated a more mature, well-rounded fighter. His striking has come a long way and with more tools in his arsenal, he doesn’t need to constantly shoot for the takedown.
The fight world was too quick to declare Ngannou as the next big thing, and now it’s rushing to dismiss him as a hype job. But Ngannou is still what he’s always been: a limited fighter with devastating power. That goes a long way in the heavyweight division and we already know it’s enough to beat some of the best in the division.
Pick: Francis Ngannou (+170)
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