Curtis Blaydes set a UFC heavyweight record last night with 14 take downs in a unanimous decision win over Alexander Volkov. The previous record was held by Cain Velasquez, who scored 11 take downs against Junior Dos Santos at UFC 155 back in 2012. Blaydes was tied for second on the list headed into the night courtesy of a 10 take down performance against Mark Hunt in February of 2018.
Grappling was the story of the fight overall, with Blaydes landing take downs with ease while optimizing top position. Volkov’s technical striking is among the best in the division, but he never got enough time to properly implement it. There were moments for Volkov, however, particularly towards the end of the fight. Both fighters were gassed by the fifth, but Volkov appeared to be the fresher fighter and landed a big knee towards the end of the fourth. With that said, it obviously wasn’t enough as 14 take downs secured the five round, main event victory for Curtis Blaydes.
This record setting performance for Blaydes comes just a week after Merab Dvalishvili did the same thing at bantamweight. Merab landed 13 take downs in a win over Gustavo Lopez, passing a high he set himself this past February.
Overall, the victory marked four in a row for the 29 year-old Blaydes, who last lost to Francis Ngannou back in November of 2018. That loss – a KO just 45 seconds in – was his second in as many attempts against Ngannou.
Ngannou actually tweeted that he believes Blaydes is worthy of a title shot following the performance, though he also stated that he should be first.
There is a chance that Ngannou and Blaydes could be facing off for the heavyweight belt in the not too distant future, seeing as how both Stipe and DC could retire following their highly anticipated rubber match in August. Ngannou is also riding a four fight winning streak, with all four victories coming within two minutes of the first round.