There was plenty of heat between the two, but heavyweight contender Curtis Blaydes opted to let his fists and wrestling prowess do all the talking in his grudge match with Justin Willis on Saturday.
While Willis tried going toe-to-toe with Blaydes in the co-main event of UFC Fight Night 148 in Nashville, Blaydes instead went air-to-canvas quite a bit. “Razor” scored multiple takedowns over the course of three rounds and on more than a few occasions, Blaydes launched the heavier Willis through the air. Willis couldn’t get anything going as Blaydes did whatever he wanted for 15 minutes and the Elevation Fight Team representative made history during his triumph.
Blaydes landed seven of 11 takedown tries against Willis, giving him 40 for his UFC career. That figure is most in the history of the heavyweight division; Cain Vleasquez is No. 2 all-time with 34.
“I’m very excited with this win,” Blaydes said after his conquest. “They said I now hold the record for most takedowns in UFC heavyweight history (40). I didn’t think that I could hold a record this early on in my career.”
Blaydes’ wrestling has always been the key to his success in MMA and it has allowed him to remain in UFC heavyweight title contention. He’s thrashed every man he’s faced thus far, save for Francis Ngannou, and “Razor” expects his dominance over the weight class to continue.
“I think my wrestling is the best because I rely on it the most,” he said. “[Daniel Cormier] is a good wrestler, Cain is a good wrestler and so is Stipe [Miocic]. But I think they’ve fallen in love with what the crowd tells them to do. I love wrestling, I love doing what I do and the dominance speaks for itself. 30-25, 30-26, who can say something against that?”
For his next Octagon appearance, Blaydes is seeking an opponent higher on the food chain.
“I’ll take Stipe, JDS, Derrick [Lewis],” he declared. “Just someone higher than me. I don’t want another Justin Willis; I want higher than that. I haven’t fought during International Fight Week yet, so I’d love that next.”