Curtis Blaydes set a new record for takedowns in a heavyweight bout and controlled Alexander Volkov for most of their fight on Saturday en route to a unanimous-decision victory in the main event at UFC Fight Night in Las Vegas.
An accomplished wrestler, Blaydes (14-2) took the 6-foot-7 Russian to the mat just seconds into the fight and maintained control throughout Round 1, which proved a sign of things to come. He ultimately succeeded on 14 of 25 takedown attempts and racked up 19:50 of control, drawing judges’ scores of 49-46, 48-47 and 48-46 for his fourth straight victory.
Blaydes dominated the first three rounds and most of the fourth with wrestling — plus a few vicious right hands in Round 2 — but it wasn’t all smooth sailing. Volkov (31-8) escaped from his clutches late in Round 4 and landed a few heavy blows, bloodying Blaydes in the closing seconds of the round.
Blaydes, who weighed in at 261 pounds on Friday, struggled to the finish through labored breathing but managed additional takedowns despite fatigue in Round 5, controlling Volkov enough to close out the win.
“I’m tired,” Blaydes said on the broadcast afterward through heavy inhales. “Volkov was a lot harder than I thought to take down. He has big strong legs.
“… Always good experience to know you can go five rounds. I know I’ve got to work on my conditioning after the third round.”
Earlier Saturday, Josh Emmett (16-2) handled Shane Burgos (13-2) in a unanimous decision to win a featherweight bout, landing 98 head strikes to 68 for Burgos. All three judges scored the bout 29-28.
In other main-card fights, Raquel Pennington (11-9) won a battle of women bantamweights over Marion Reneau (9-6-1) via unanimous decision; Belal Muhammad of Palestine (17-3) outlasted fellow welterweight Lyman Good (21-6) via unanimous decision; and Jim Miller (32-14) submitted Roosevelt Roberts (10-2) with an armbar at 2:25 of the first round in their catchweight bout.
The most notable undercard result came in a lightweight bout, in which Austin Hubbard (12-4) defeated Max Rohskopf (5-1) by technical knockout after the latter retired after two rounds.
It was a suspenseful finish, as Rohskopf was heard repeatedly requesting that chief cornerman Robert Drysdale call the fight prior to the third round. But Rohskopf was sent back out to fight before Nevada State Athletic Commission inspector Charvez Foger ended the bout.
Nevada State Athletic Commission executive director Bob Bennett told ESPN there would be an investigation and said, “We might want to take disciplinary action on them. That doesn’t sound like they are looking out for a fighter. Obviously, he didn’t want to come out (and fight).”
–Field Level Media