UFC On ESPN 18 : A Curtis Blaydes Analysis Of Derrick Lewis

Curtis Blaydes Defeats Alistair Overeem UFC 225
Jun 9, 2018; Chicago, IL, USA; Curtis Blaydes (blue gloves) defeats Alistair Overeem (red gloves) during UFC 225 at United Center. Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

UFC Heavyweight contender Curtis Blaydes believes Derrick Lewis doesn’t love going down to “Dark Places” and really doesnt expect much from Derrick Lewis on Saturday in UFC On ESPN 18 headliner.

Blaydes also buy into the idea that, Lewis could end any fight with the power he possesses but sees it as a general characteristics of a Heavyweight fighter and his reliance on his power makes him more predictable and vulnerable.

“We’re heavyweights; power is a prerequisite,” Blaydes told MMA Junkie. “I’m not overly impressed with it. Do I understand he’s got it? Yes. But do I understand that he’s just looking to knock my head off? Yes. That’s what makes him predictable.

“He doesn’t use his jab. He doesn’t set up combinations. He doesn’t move his feet. When he throws his rear overhand, he brings up his rear leg, and he ends up in a square stance, which is the worst thing to do against a guy like me, so there’s just so many holes in his striking.”

Blaydes also layed emphasis on Lewis’s limited grappling ability and the fact that he gets taken down by most less experienced grapplers. Lewis being a great slugger mostly goes back to his feet ones taken-down and that according to Blaydes isn’t the best if techniques when facing an experienced grappler.

“People aren’t doing their research on who are the people taking him down, who are the people that he’s standing up against,” Blaydes said. “The thing is, he’s getting taken down by everybody. Blagoy Ivanov took him down. Ilir Latifi took him down. Alexander Volkov took him down. Marcin Tybura took him down. Everyone took him down, but these guys aren’t even good grapplers.

“When a good grappler takes you down, you don’t just get up. You need technique to get up, and that’s the thing: The UFC has protected him. He hasn’t gotten a good grappler. Now he’s getting one. He’s not just going to stand up. That’s disrespectful to all the years of wrestling I’ve put into my own game. I’ve worked too hard at this. The muscle memory is too locked in. That’s not how it works.”

The two fighters are ranked No.3 and No.4 respectively and the winner on Saturday could see himself propelled into title contention. The Bookmarkers see Blaydes a huge favourite ahead of the fight and have installed him at -370. Blaydes concurred to that and sees the fight boiling down to how much heart the Lewis has.

“You’re always hoping to get a finish, but it depends on him, how tough he is,” Blaydes said. “It’s a grind. I’m going to press him, get him up against the cage, get him on the ground. Take him down, ground and pound him, and if he makes it out of the round, rinse and repeat. If he makes it out of that round, rinse and repeat. If he makes it out of that round, rinse and repeat.

“Is he willing to go to the dark places? I’ve been to the dark places. My last fight against Volkov, I went to the dark place, and now I know how to operate within that space. I don’t think he’s ever been happy going to that place.”

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