EXCLUSIVE | 9th-ranked UFC heavyweight Curtis Blaydes makes prediction for Miocic vs. Ngannou fight

Curtis Blaydes

When heavyweight veteran Alistair Overeem stepped into the Octagon with brick-fisted puncher Francis Ngannou at UFC 218, he opted to stand and trade with him, and ultimately paid the price, succumbing to a first-round uppercut. Speaking on the latest episode of BJ Penn Radio, 9th-ranked UFC heavyweight Curtis Blaydes explained that he does not expect Francis Ngannou’s next opponent, UFC heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic, to make this kind of mistake. Instead, he expects a cautious and surgical approach from the champ.

“I was a little surprised [how the fight went],” Curtis Blaydes said on the latest episode of BJ Penn Radio. “I wasn’t surprised at Ngannou. He did, definitely, what he should have done, [which] was just stand there and chuck [punches at] him, and it worked. I’m surprised that Overeem was so quick to engage in that type of action. Overeem’s a veteran, and him knowing that he doesn’t have the best chin anymore, I was a bit surprised at how eager he was [to trade].”

“I think Miocic is a lot smarter,” Blaydes continued, offering a breakdown of this Stipe Miocic vs. Francis Ngannou fight, which headlines UFC 220 in January. “I wouldn’t say smarter, but I think he respects Ngannou’s power, and I don’t think he’ll be as quick or eager to jump into a fire fight with him. I think he’ll be smart. I think he’ll pick his shots from the outside, utilize inside leg kicks to just get him thinking about everything so that he can’t just focus on defending the one, big punch. I think Stipe, if he can drag him into the second round, third round, I think he ends it, but if Ngannou does win, it’ll for sure be in the first round.”

What do you think of Curtis Blaydes’ breakdown of UFC 220’s Stipe Miocic vs. Francis Ngannou heavyweight title fight?

This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 14/12/2017.