Curtis Blaydes Grinds Out Alexander Volkov in UFC on ESPN 11 Headliner

By Tristen Critchfield Jun 20, 2020

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The Curtis Blaydes takedown tour continues to roll on in the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s heavyweight division.

Blaydes (14-2, 9-2, 1 NC UFC) earned his fourth consecutive triumph in the UFC on ESPN 11 main event, grinding out a unanimous decision over Alexander Volkov (31-8, 5-2 UFC) at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas on Saturday night. All three judges scored the fight in favor of the Elevation Fight Team standout: 49-46, 48-47 and 48-46.

Blaydes grounded Volkov in every frame, setting a heavyweight record with 14 takdowns landed over the 25-minute affair. The first takedown occurred within the bout’s first 10 seconds, and “Razor” forced Volkov to carry his 260-plus pounds for much of the contest. However, Blaydes’ pace gradually slowed over the course of the fight, and he was often unable to land any offense of significance from top position.

“I’m tired. Volkov was a lot harder than I thought to take down,” Blaydes said. “He was real strong.”

Volkov’s best moments occurred in the championship frames. A counter knee in Round 4 had Blaydes bleeding from the mouth, the Russian ended that period with a takedown and some ground-and-pound of his own before the horn. Another knee by “Drago” had Blaydes circling away in Round 5, but the American was able to plant Volkov on his back once more and ride out his victory from top position.

“It’s always a good experience to know you can go five rounds. I know I’ve got to work on my conditioning after the third round,” Blaydes said. “I’m happy with the win. Volkov is legit, and I’m one step closer to the title shot.”

Emmett Outduels Burgos in Memorable Brawl

Josh Emmett is known for his deadly right hand, but that familiar weapon wasn’t what made the difference against Shane Burgos.

Propelled by a pair of knockdowns in the third frame, Emmett earned a wildly entertaining unanimous decision triumph over Burgos in a pivotal featherweight clash. Scorecards read 29-28, 29-28 and 29-27 for Emmett, who won his third consecutive bout within the Las Vegas-based promotion.

“He’s a tough guy. All the respect in the world. I knew it was gonna be a hell of a fight,” Emmett said.

Throughout the bout, Emmett (16-2, 7-2 UFC) threw his right hand with malicious intent, and numerous times it connected. While Burgos (13-2, 6-2 UFC) absorbed those blows, it was a pair of short left hands from Emmett that floored the Team Tiger Schulmann product twice in the final stanza. That strong finish was needed, as the rangier Burgos seemed to have briefly seized momentum in Round 2 behind a diverse arsenal of punching combinations and low kicks.

Making the victory even more impressive was the fact that Emmett was compromised early in the fight, when he appeared to injure his knee. That didn’t prevent him from attacking Burgos’ chin the rest of the way.

“I think I hyperextended it in the first round,” he said. “Just no stability, it’s just giving out.”

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Pennington Outworks Reneau

Former bantamweight title challenger Raquel Pennington garnered a three-round verdict over Marion Reneau, earning scorecards of 30-27, 29-28 and 29-28 from the cageside judges. Pennington’s eight UFC triumphs rank second in the history of the women’s 135-pound weight class.

After a competitive opening stanza, “Rocky” gradually picked up steam. Pennington (11-8, 8-5 UFC) did her best work to the body, overpowering Reneau in the clinch and landing multiple knees to the midsection. Pennington continued to gain momentum in Round 3, as she tagged a fading Reneau with right hands and elbows in addition to the continued body work.

Reneau (9-6-1, 5-5-1 UFC) has lost three consecutive fights, all via decision.

Muhammad Survives Against Good

Belal Muhammad ran out to an early lead, then survived a harrowing final frame to earn a unanimous verdict over Lyman Good in a welterweight clash. All three judges scored the fight 29-28 in favor of the former Titan Fighting Championships king. Muhammed has won seven of his last eight promotional appearances.

Muhammad (17-3, 8-3 UFC) confounded Good (21-6, 1 NC, 3-3 UFC) by frequently switching stances and utilizing lateral movement while landing crisp punching combinations and kicks to the body over the bout’s first 10 minutes. Good’s power surfaced in Round 3, when he stunned his foe with a pair of right hands early in the frame. Good continued to find the range on his right hand until Muhammad landed a late takedown and ended the fight attached to his opponent’s back.

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Miller Armbars Roberts for 10th UFC Submission

Thirty-five bouts into his Ultimate Fighting Championship career, Jim Miller remains one of the most dangerous submission artists in the sport today.

The New Jersey native tapped out Dana White’s Contender Series alum Roosevelt Roberts with an armbar 2:25 into the opening round of their featured lightweight contest for his 10th career submission victory within the Las Vegas-based promotion. It was Miller’s first victory via armbar since tapping Fabricio Camoes with the maneuver at UFC 168 in December 2013.

Miller (32-14, 21-13 UFC) quickly assumed top position early in Round 1 after Roberts (10-2, 4-2 UFC) slipped on a kick. The 36-year-old maintained top position for a period, and then capitalized by framing an armbar when Roberts attempted to scramble to his feet. Roberts defended well until he broke his grip to land a hammerfist, and that was when Miller was able to torque the hold and elicit the verbal submission.

“He’s talented on the ground. I felt that I had a pretty significant strength advantage,” Miller said. “I was just looking for him to make that mistake.”

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