The Heavyweight division title picture was always going to be more confusing regardless of the result of the UFC Raleigh Main Event. The night's card closed with a #3 vs #4 ranked Heavyweight contenders fight between Curtis Blaydes and former UFC Champion Junior dos Santos.
Blaydes finished the night in just the second round as he defeated the Brazilian legend most unexpectedly. The first round played out with dos Santos cleverly stuffing all of his takedowns, with Blaydes visibly losing confidence in his gameplan.
However, it was his post-first round corner advice that made all the difference. They told Blaydes to mix it up and start trading punches with dos Santos and that eventually, the opening for the takedown would be there. This steered away from the predictability aspect of his gameplan, but nobody expected Blaydes to finish dos Santos while standing up and trading with him.
The consensus seemed to be that dos Santos was the better boxer but on the night, it was the 28-year old who once again put himself in possible title contention. He told Daniel Cormier post-fight that he wants a title shot next, which was a bit funny considering that DC will be the one getting the next shot to complete the Stipe Miocic trilogy.
As for who's next after, one would think that should Francis Ngannou beat Jaizinho Rozenstruik this March, he'll be locked as the next in line. As long as Ngannou keeps winning, it's unlikely that Blaydes will be able to get a title shot as they've faced each other twice, with Ngannou knocking Blaydes out on both occasions.
The future of the Heavyweight division is interesting, but it's going to keep getting stalled until the Miocic-Cormier trilogy concludes.Published 26 Jan 2020, 09:22 IST