This past Saturday night in the headliner of UFC Vegas 71, we saw a massive fight in the heavyweight division. Top four contenders battled it out as Curtis “Razor” Blaydes (17-4, 1 NC) took on the surging Sergei Pavlovich (18-1).
Blaydes entered the contest having won three fights in a row, granted, the last fight was due to a knee injury from his opponent Tom Aspinall. Nevertheless, he had won three fights in a row and was going to be the biggest test thus far for Pavlovich.
Pavlovich had won five fights in a row without a single fight making it to the second round. His impressive stretch was something to behold, but none of the opponents were as skilled in wrestling as Blaydes so this was going to be a big challenge.
However, Blaydes didn’t get to his his wrestling. Instead of trying to shoot for takedowns right away, Blaydes chose to stand with Pavlovich. Both men landed really good shots in the opening minutes, but it was puzzling to see Blaydes try to strike with Pavlovich.
He could only do so for so long. Just over three minutes into the first, Pavlovich put Blaydes down and finished him at UFC Vegas 71. It was just the third loss for Blaydes in the last seven years.
What’s next after UFC Vegas 71?
If there’s anyone you should feel bad for in the heavyweight division, it’s Curtis Blaydes. He’s been the one guy you could point to as to have been the biggest victim of the stagnant title picture over the last several years. Since 2016, Blaydes has lost three fights.
Prior to Saturday, he had only lost twice. Before the first loss, Blaydes had gone 5-0, 1 NC in six fights which concluded with a TKO win over Alistair Overeem. Then, he was knocked out by Francis Ngannou. Another four fight winning streak led him to a fight with Derrick Lewis where he got knocked out.
Then, he had this three fight winning streak leading up to UFC Vegas 71. Typically those type of winning streaks get you a title shot. However, for Blaydes, they got him to a title eliminator and he’s been finished in all three bouts.
So, what should the UFC do with him? Well, I actually don’t think it would be a bad idea to have him run things back with Tom Aspinall. These two fought in July in London with Aspinall going down almost immediately with a knee injury.
The promotion is returning to London again in July. Why not just rebook this fight like it was originally going to be booked. Have Bladyes and Aspinall run it back in London and let’s try it again. Who says no?