A heavyweight bout between perennial division contenders Justin Willis and Curtis Blaydes co-headlined tonight’s UFC Nashville event at Bridgestone Arena.
Curtis Blaydes (10-2 MMA) recently had his impressive five-fight win streak come to an end at the hands of knockout artist Francis Ngannou.
Prior to the setback, Blaydes was coming off a TKO victory over former division title challenger Alistair Overeem at UFC 225.
As for “Big Pretty”, Justin Willis (8-1 MMA) enters tonight’s contest on an eight fight win streak, his latest being a unanimous decision win over MMA legend Mark Hunt.
Round one of the UFC Nashville co-main event begins and Willis throws a left hand. Blaydes avoids and lands a jab to the body. Blaydes with a nice low kick now. He shoots in for a takedown and presses Willis against the cage. Justin is doing a good job of defending early. Blaydes with a knee to the body. Willis returns fire with some body shots. Curtis gets double under-hooks and drags Willis to the floor. He immediately moves to side control and then looks to move to mount. Blaydes with a big shot and then another. Willis attempts to scramble back to his feet. Blaydes hits him with a pair of knees and then picks him and throws him to the floor. Another heavy shot from Curtis Blaydes. Willis battles his way back to his feet but he is pressed against the fence and eating knees. Blaydes switches to punches. Willis is looking for a kimura but he doesn’t have the angle. He gives up on the submission attempt and Blaydes takes his back. Curtis with some big knees to the thigh of Willis. Forty seconds remain in round one. Blaydes once again drags Willis to the canvas. He begins unloading some left hands. Willis remains calm and the horn sounds to end round one.
Round two of the UFC Nashville co-main event begins and Willis takes the center of the octagon. Blaydes circles along the outside. He leaps in with a right hand that drops Willis. Justin scrambles back to his feet but Blaydes is right there to tackle him to the floor. Blaydes is working from half guard. He works in some short punches. Willis is still smiling as he looks for an arm. Blaydes moves to full mount. Willis immediately moves to scramble but gives up his back. Blaydes postures up and throws down a big elbow. Willis scrambles and gets back to his feet. Blaydes is still riding his back and drags him back down to the floor. Good punches from Blaydes now. He lands a powerful left followed by a pair of knees. Just over ninety seconds remain in round two. Blaydes continues to work but the referee is warning him to stay busy. He lands a number of short left hands. Willis is seemingly stuck in this position. He continues to pepper Willis with left hands. The horn sounds to end round two.
Round three begins and Blaydes is bouncing around like he hasn’t just been fighting for ten minutes. Willis is move backwards but catches Blaydes with a nice hook as Curtis was coming in. Blaydes circles back and then enters the pocket with a jab. Willis with a low kick that misses. Blaydes continues to use some good movement. Willis is looking for a big shots. Blaydes shoots in but Willis escapes. Justin with a right hand that narrowly misses the chin of Blaydes. The fighters take a look at the clock. Blaydes shoots in and presses Willis up against the cage. He works in some knees to the thigh and body of Willis. Curtis is looking for a takedown but Justin is doing a good job of defending here. The fighters break and meet in the center of the octagon. Blaydes shoots in and scores a takedown. He immediately moves to side control. Just over one minute remains in the final round. Willis tries to scramble but gives up his back. Blaydes with a some right hands. He adds in some lefts for good measure. Thirty seconds remain. Willis crawls to the fence. Blaydes is still glued to him. Knees from Blaydes. The horn sounds to end round three.
Official UFC Nashville Result: Curtis Blaydes def. Justin Willis via unanimous decision