Junior dos Santos, Curtis Blaydes to collide in Raleigh, NC

Junior dos Santos, UFC Wichita, UFC rankings
Image via @ufc on Instagram

The UFC’s recently-announced January 25 stop in Raleigh, North Carolina, now has a main event. According to a report from ESPN, the card will be topped by a heavyweight tilt between Junior dos Santos and Curtis Blaydes. This report, which cites “multiple sources,” clarifies that contracts for the fight are not yet signed, but that both men have agreed to the bout.

Junior dos Santos, who is the former UFC heavyweight champion, currently holds the No. 4 spot in the division’s rankings.

He was expected to take on Alexander Volkov in the main event of last weekend’s UFC Moscow card, but was forced out of the matchup with a bacterial infection and replaced by American Top Team stablemate Greg Hardy, who lost to Volkov by decision.

Dos Santos last fought in June, when he was knocked out by top heavyweight contender Francis Ngannou. Prior to this setback, he was riding high on three-straight wins over Derrick Lewis, Tai Tuivasa and Blagoy Ivanov.

Curtis Blaydes, on the other hand, is currently on a two-fight win-streak, having recently defeated Justin Willis by TKO and Shamil Abdurakhimov by decision. His last loss occurred in late 2018, when he suffered his own knockout loss to the streaking Ngannou in China. He’s currently sitting at No. 3 in the UFC heavyweight rankings.

While the winner of Blaydes vs. Dos Santos fight is unlikely to pass Ngannou in the hunt for then next heavyweight title shot, that winner will be extremely well-positioned in the perilous UFC heavyweight division.

The UFC’s January 25 trip to Raleigh, complete with this Curtis Blaydes vs. Francis Ngannou main event, will air on ESPN+. Stay tuned, as more matchups are sure to be announced for the event soon.

This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 11/13/2019.