The best and worst from UFC 242: Khabib vs. Poirier
#1 Worst: What was the point in Blaydes vs. Abdurakhimov?
Okay, so as a long time fan of Curtis Blaydes, it was nice to see him pick up another TKO win here, as he took opponent Shamil Abdurakhimov down at will and smashed him to pieces with his punches and elbows, eventually stopping the Dagestani by literally breaking his nose with a brutal elbow. But as nice as it was to see Razor win, was there really any point in the fight?
Abdurakhimov was ranked at #9 in the UFC’s Heavyweight rankings coming in, 5 spots below Blaydes, and were this a rebound fight for the monstrous wrestler, it might’ve made sense. That wasn’t the case, though – Blaydes already had his rebound fight earlier in the year, crushing Justin Willis en route to a lopsided decision win.
More to the point, Blaydes has defeated better fighters than Abdurakhimov before – Alistair Overeem and Aleksei Oleinik immediately come to mind – and judging on his 2016 loss to Derrick Lewis, it was clear that with a poor bottom game, the Dagestani was always going to struggle with Blaydes from a stylistic point of view.
Quite why the UFC chose to make this match I’m not sure. I don’t think either man really gained a lot from it, even if Blaydes picked up a TKO win. Whether higher ranked fighters were dodging Blaydes or weren’t available I don’t know, but I’d like to see him matched higher next time around.