UFC Predictions: UFC Vegas 19: Curtis Blaydes vs. Derrick Lewis predictions and picks



After last weekend’s big UFC 258 event, the UFC returns to its APEX facility this weekend for UFC Vegas 19.The main event sees a clash of UFC Heavyweight contenders, as Curtis Blaydes faces off against Derrick Lewis, while Bantamweights Ketlen Vieira and Yana Kunitskaya face off in the co-main.The rest of the card is far weaker, with only a handful of recognizable names. But as always with the UFC, it’s worth watching the show as you never know when a classic fight is coming.Here are the predicted outcomes for UFC Vegas 19: Blaydes vs. Lewis.#1 UFC Heavyweight division: Curtis Blaydes vs. Derrick Lewis Curtis Blaydes is probably the UFC Heavyweight division’s best wrestler.With a UFC Heavyweight title fight between champion Stipe Miocic and top contender Francis Ngannou finally signed for next month’s UFC 260, the stakes are high in this fight.A win for either man – particularly a big finish that goes viral – could propel them into the next title shot. However, the presence of Jon Jones in the Heavyweight division might change that.UFC President Dana White has claimed Jones will be next in line for a shot at Miocic or Ngannou, but Blaydes, in particular, could change that here.

Razor is on a four-fight win streak coming into this weekend, and stylistically, he seems like a tricky test for Miocic in particular.If Ngannou – who has beaten Blaydes twice – were to win the title, things would obviously be different. But if Miocic retains the belt, then there’d definitely be an argument for Blaydes, and not Jones, taking the next shot – particularly if he wins big against Lewis.What’s on the line for Lewis? In all honesty, probably nothing. The Black Beast already had his UFC Heavyweight title shot, coming up short in 2018 against then-champ Daniel Cormier. Since then, he’s gone 3-1 but is largely seen as a popular gatekeeper these days.So who is likely to take this one? To be honest, it’s hard not to favor Blaydes.Razor is probably the best wrestler in the UFC Heavyweight division right now. Indeed, he holds the record for the most takedowns landed in a UFC Heavyweight fight after dumping Alexander Volkov 14 times in their fight last summer.Blaydes has been criticized – even by White – for a somewhat dull fighting style, but that usually isn’t the case. Prior to his admittedly slower win over Volkov, he’d finished Junior Dos Santos and Shamil Abdurakhimov in violent fashion.

And this fight sounds stylistically perfect for him. Lewis is a concussive puncher – arguably only Ngannou hits harder in the entire UFC – but his ground game has always been a major weakness.Lewis’ straight-ahead style makes him relatively easy to take down, particularly for skilled wrestlers. And while he’s capable of escaping from the bottom, usually via brute force, UFC stars such as Cormier, Abdurakhimov, and Blagoy Ivanov found it relatively easy to keep him pinned.Add in the fact that The Black Beast also lacks in the cardio department, and you’d be forgiven for questioning how he’s made it this far.But when you possess the kind of face-melting power that Lewis does, you’ve always got a shot at winning. And so fights that The Black Beast was losing have quickly been turned around with one clubbing blow – giving him an impressive UFC record of 15-5.

Therefore, Lewis can win this fight, it just won’t be easy. His best bet might be to rush Blaydes from the off, just as Ngannou did, and bank on him being too willing to trade or panicking into making sloppy errors.However, I just don’t think that’s likely. It’s much more viable that Razor takes Lewis down early on, advances to the mount or back mount, and punches him very hard until the referee has to step in. A win like that would make Blaydes 11-2 in the UFC – and should net him a UFC title shot.The Pick: Blaydes via second-round TKO

Published 15 Feb 2021, 18:11 IST

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The emotional embrace between Kamaru Usman and Gilbert Burns after their UFC 258 war


Kamaru Usman finished Gilbert Burns via KO/TKO in the main event at UFC 258. Kamaru Usman was looking to defend his welterweight title against Gilbert Burns who had his first shot at the title in his six years at the UFC.Kamaru Usman and Gilbert Burns embraced in a deep show of friendship and respect right after the fight. Having been teammates for a long time in Sanford MMA, Florida, the title fight had a lot of emotional significance for both Usman and Burns. Burns broke down immediately after the fight was stopped in the third round as Kamaru Usman went southpaw to drop Gilbert Burns with a right jab that landed flush and followed it up with vicious ground and pound. Daniel Cormier empathized with Burns as he acknowledged the impact that a loss of such caliber can have on a fighter.Kamaru Usman stated in his post-fight interview that no credit should be taken away from what Gilbert Burns has done for the welterweight division but he leaves all friendship outside the Octagon.Kamaru Usman and Gilbert Burns go back a long wayKamaru Usman and Gilbert Burns have been teammates for almost 10 years. The two first met in 2012 while training with the now-defunct Blackzilians. After its shutdown, both Usman and Burns moved to Sanford MMA in Florida.Kamaru Usman moved to ONX sports in 2020 to train under coach Trevor Wittman in preparation for the fight against Gilbert Burns. After his third successful title defense, Kamaru Usman continues to be the undisputed king of the welterweights.
Published 14 Feb 2021, 12:17 IST

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Max Holloway reacts to Kamaru Usman’s phenomenal victory over Gilbert Burns at UFC 258


Former UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway has reacted to Kamaru Usman’s massive third-round knockout victory over Gilbert Burns in the main event of UFC 258.Holloway acknowledged that the welterweight champion brought his A-game to the fight and claimed that Usman has earned his respect with the incredible performance. The MMA community wanted to know if Burns would be the man who’d finally bring Usman’s domination inside the octagon to an end.However, it turned out that Usman truly is the ‘Nigerian Nightmare’ who smashed Burns’ dream of becoming champion.Kamaru Usman shows Gilbert Burns why he is the king of welterweightsThere was no customary touching of gloves between the ex-teammates before the fight and the tension in the air was palpable. Kamaru Usman as well as the viewers were in for an early surprise as Burns connected with a devastating right hook that rocked the champ.Usman got clipped right behind the ear and was down on one knee before managing to foil a flying knee attempt by Burns and transitioning into a takedown. Although Usman was ahead in terms of the total number of strikes at the end of the first round, Burns had clearly drawn first blood.It was in the second round that the champ truly started going to work. Usman used his five-inch reach advantage well, staying out of range and stinging Burns with hard jabs connecting flush on the chin. Usman had Burns clearly reeling from the jabs as he scored two knockdowns in the second round with a simple one-two combination.Burns was quickly fading and Usman realized that. The champion put his foot on the gas early in the round and managed to connect flush on the chin with a hard right-hand shot that sent Burns crashing down on the canvas.Kamaru Usman followed it up with some vicious ground and pound before Herb Dean stepped in to save Burns from further damage.
Published 14 Feb 2021, 12:09 IST

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