Preview: UFC Fight Night 240 ‘Allen vs. Curtis 2’

Allen vs. Curtis

The Ultimate Fighting Championship makes one more trip to the Apex before UFC 300, and this card is a solid enough appetizer per the usual Apex standards. The main event took a hit when Marvin Vettori pulled out, but the UFC did well to put together an interesting replacement, pitting Brendan Allen against Chris Curtis; it's a rematch of Allen's most recent loss in 2021, and Allen has improved just enough in the interim to make the dynamic interesting in 2024. Past that are two well-matched featherweight fights, as Alexander Hernandez faces another opponent looking to drag him into deep waters in Damon Jackson, and highly-touted French standout Morgan Charriere looks to build on an excellent UFC debut with a win over tough out Jose Mariscal. There's also some lightweight violence on tap, with top prospect Ignacio Bahamondes taking on Christos Giagos, and a matchup between Trevor Peek and Charlie Campbell matched purely for entertainment.



Brendan Allen (23-5 overall, 11-2 UFC) vs. Chris Curtis (31-10, 1 NC)

Odds: Allen (-198), Curtis (+164)

Allen's overachieved in his UFC career thus far, and with a breakout 2023 now in the rearview mirror, "All In" looks to affirm his status as a potential middleweight title contender here in 2024. Allen impressed on the Contender Series in 2019 and figured to find a niche as an entertaining action fighter, but conventional wisdom was that his aggressive and grappling-focused approach would hit a ceiling with the move up to better competition. But Allen's UFC campaign instead got off to an impressively hot start, as he was able to swamp talented grapplers like Kevin Holland, Tom Breese and Kyle Daukaus, suggesting that Allen could be able to beat anyone in the division if given the opportunity to play his own game. To that end, Allen's momentum finally hit a stop when Sean Strickland and Curtis were able to keep the fight standing and take Allen apart on the feet - but Allen has rebounded in impressive fashion, stringing together six straight victories and winning main events against Andre Muniz and Paul Craig. Allen's striking is much improved and he has some newfound power, but his success has still mostly hinged on his wrestling and grappling advantages; five of those six wins have come via rear naked choke, and Allen's made a lot of hay out-striking grapplers that then fall right into his wheelhouse on the mat. Given that Allen still isn't a defensive whiz on the feet, it'll be interesting to see how those improvements hold up against an opponent that can neutralize his wrestling and force him into a striking match once again - which makes this an ideal time for him to rematch Curtis, who's plateaued since beating Allen at the end of 2021.

Given that seemingly everyone who wins on the Contender Series gets a contract nowadays, it's even more baffling in retrospect that Curtis wasn't brought into the fold after scoring a highlight reel knockout on the show in 2018. That snub was nine years into Curtis's career, during which he had honed a crafty striking-heavy game, and led to one of the many retirements on the long road towards "The Action Man" finally getting his big moment. After a tough three-fight run in the PFL - which also included two more retirements - Curtis eventually went on a heater in 2021, winning four straight fights on the regional scene before getting the long-overdue UFC call as a late replacement, facing Phil Hawes in Madison Square Garden. And Curtis certainly made up for lost time, scoring an impressive knockout win on a big stage, then turning around four weeks later to finish Allen. It seemed like Curtis's well-honed ability to take advantage of whatever openings his opponents presented would carry him up the middleweight ladder in short order, but the division seemed surprisingly quick to adjust to Curtis's set of skills; given that Curtis is quite squat and undersized for the division, opponents found themselves able to frustrate Curtis by either staying at range or smothering him in the clinch. It's been a bit disappointing to see Curtis unable to force a few of those fights open, but a January win over Marc-Andre Barriault was a solid reminder that he can still be the same potent fighter that scored those big wins over Hawes and Allen, even as Barriault showed off his own improvements. One of the keys to Curtis's success is that he's a surprisingly stout defensive wrestler and grappler, which was on display in the first fight against Allen and figures to hold up here; so from there, it's mainly a question as to whether Allen can be patient enough to concede to a slow-paced striking match without getting aggressive and opening himself up for Curtis's accurate counters. It'd be a nice evolution for Allen - if not necessarily an exciting one to watch play out - but given that he hasn't done it yet, this does look like a fight that could play out similarly to the first one, even if Curtis might not be able to land the knockout blow that he did the last time around; the pick is Curtis via decision.

Jump To »
Allen vs. Curtis
Hernandez vs. Jackson
Charriere vs. Mariscal
Bahamondes vs. Giagos
Walker vs. Brzeski
Peek vs. Campbell
The Prelims


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Johan Ghazali