MMA Record: 9-1, 1 NC
UFC Record: 4-1, 1 NC
Notable Wins: Mark Hunt, Aleksei Oleinik
Notable Losses: Francis Ngannou
Last Fight: Decision win over Mark Hunt
Fighter Profile: One of the top heavyweight prospects in MMA, Blaydes has put together quite a run to begin his UFC career. After racking up five-straight wins on the regional circuit, the UFC signed Blaydes and he lost to then-unknown Francis Ngannou in his Octagon debut. But he learned from his mistakes in that fight and since then he’s reeled off and unbeaten streak of five-straight fights, including a huge breakthrough win over Mark Hunt in his last fight. Blaydes is a huge heavyweight with tremendous wrestling skills and improving striking, and now it will be interesting to see if he can take that next step in his career with a win over Overeem.
MMA Record: 43-16, 1 NC
UFC Record: 8-5
Notable Wins: Fabricio Werdum, Mark Hunt, Junior dos Santos, Brock Lesnar
Notable Losses: Francis Ngannou, Stipe Miocic, Ben Rothwell, Antonio Silva
Last Fight: KO loss to Francis Ngannou
Fighter Profile: One of the greatest heavyweights in MMA history, Overeem’s UFC tenure has been full of up-and-down moments. His debut in the Octagon saw him knock out Brock Lesnar, but then he suffered two-straight upset KO losses to Antonio Silva and Travis Browne which showed how fragile his chin is. At times he has looked excellent in picking up KO wins over the likes of Mark Hunt and Junior dos Santos, but then there’s fights where his chin just won’t hold up like in his losses to Ben Rothwell, Francis Ngannou and Stiope Miocic. Overeem has an incredible skillset as he has excellent striking and really good grappling, but having suffered five knockout losses in the UFC (11 total knockout losses in MMA) and now at age 38, his best days might be behind him at this point.
Fight Breakdown: This is one of the best fights on the entire card featuring two of the best heavyweights in the sport. Blaydes looks like he has all the tools necessary to be a title contender, but Overeem is still a big step up for him. As for Overeem, he still has all the skills necessary to make another run at the belt but will his chin hold up is the question. Stylistically, this is a really intriguing matchup. Blaydes would surely love to take Overeem down and work him from top position but the reality is Overeem is a very good wrestler himself with solid takedown defense and this fight is most likely going to take place on the feet. Overeem has the more varied striking attack and has more pure knockout power, but Blaydes’ striking has been improving as of late and I liked what I saw in the Hunt and Oleinik fights. I just can’t see Overeem’s chin holding up against a guy like Blaydes who hits really hard. I think Blaydes is going to catch Overeem on the chin and knock him out for the biggest win of his career to date, and a title shot may be just around the corner.
Prediction: Curtis Blaydes via TKO