UFC Fight Night 166: Blaydes vs. dos Santos preview and pick

Profile Picture: Danny Howard

January 23rd, 2020

The air-raid sirens are blaring and the bombs are about to drop when Curtis Blaydes and Junior dos Santos collide for heavyweight supremacy Saturday, Jan. 25 at the PNC Center in Raleigh, North Carolina. This is a fight where both competitors have enough power to call it an early night.

Junior dos Santos vs. Curtis Blaydes odds

Junior Dos Santos
Curtis Blaydes

Blaydes is a superior athlete

Youth and athleticism are on the side of Blaydes, who has volatile power and exceptional wrestling skills. Blaydes possesses an 80-inch reach and often fights tall, behind a solid jab to set up his power shots, which can be devastating up close or from a distance. Blaydes has no issue taking opponents to the ground and his strikes are increasingly more savage once he scores a takedown.
An argument can argue be made that dos Santos is the better tactical striker, but his recent performances suggest his age and long career are showing in the worst way. His punch resistance has waned, a telltale sign a fighter is beyond their best days, and he is going up against an opponent who outmatches him in the grappling department.

dos Santos will have to take big risks to win

For dos Santos to win, he has to take risks to bypass Blaydes’ reach and cut off the ring to limit attacks. Smothering Blaydes with throwaway shots while tucking his chin in could work, especially if Blaydes makes himself open to counters, but a straight-up fist fight spells doom for the veteran. Blaydes will stuff any takedown attempts should dos Santos get inside, which means dos Santos will hope to stifle any momentum and avoid a big shot.

This fight will come down to who can land the big shot first, and Blaydes has everything he needs to do that and follow up accordingly. dos Santos needs to be in the danger zone to win, and he doesn’t have the resources to survive a sustained assault from Blaydes. Blaydes will back dos Santos up—and it won’t take long—then unload his best shots after pinning him in the corner.

This fight could be over early

In two rounds or fewer, Blaydes will catch dos Santos on the outside and follow up with the ground and pound to earn a stoppage and get that much closer to a heavyweight title shot.

MMA free pick: Blaydes (-285)

Check out all the MMA matchups for this weekend at BetAmerica!