Backseat Matchmaker: Pettis and Blaydes

Backseat Matchmaker: Pettis and Blaydes

With UFC Nashville done and dusted, it was the at the top of the card where exciting match ups presented themselves. The card featured big names in Curtis “Razer” Blaydes and Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson who have remained at the top of their divisions for a while now. Blaydes took on Justin Willis and Thompson welcomed Anthony “Showtime” Pettis to welterweight with Willis and Pettis facing tough tasks if they’re to break into the top of their respective divisions.

 

Curtis Blaydes kept his place near the top of the heavyweight division with a dominant win over Justin Willis. The fight was an important one for Blaydes who came into the fight after his first-round loss to Francis Ngannou. Willis had talked a lot in the build-up and Blaydes was visibly relieved to beat Willis in such a flawless manner. This allows him to bounce back from his loss to Ngannou, showing that he deserves to be amongst the top contenders. Blaydes was on a great run before losing to Ngannou for the second time, beating Francis would’ve set him up for a title shot. The issue with the heavyweight division is that nobody really knows what is happening with the current champion Daniel Cormier and that his plans are going forward. What this does mean is we have 4 viable contenders ready to compete for the top spot.

Junior Dos Santos and Francis Ngannou is the obvious matchup for me. They were both meant to fight on Ngannou’s road to his first title shot but the fight did not happen. Instead, Ngannou fought Overeem and we all know how that played out. Both have put together some very good wins as of late and are probably the two men closest to fighting Daniel Cormier at this time. This leaves Curtis Blaydes and the former champion Stipe Miocic which I also believe is a great matchup. Miocic will likely not approve of this fight as he believes DC should give him a rematch. Beating Curtis Blaydes shows that Stipe has to fight DC again and with Francis, JDS and Brock Lesnar all on route to Daniel Cormier, I believe Stipe needs a win over a top contender he hasn’t beaten yet and that is Blaydes. For Curtis Blaydes, beating Stipe shows that he really is at the top level of the division and means that he would’ve beaten the same man Cormier did to get the belt in the first place.

 

The real star of the show was none other than Anthony “Showtime” Pettis. His fight with “Wonderboy” Thompson was one that puzzled many fans including myself due to the fact Pettis has previously competed as low as a featherweight and now he’s moving up to welterweight to fight one of the best range fighters in MMA. The fight was going as many had predicted with Thomspon using his superior range to keep Pettis at kicking range. This was until Pettis’ nickname “Showtime” came to the forefront and he landed a superman punch right at the end of the second round to knock out Thompson. It was one of the best finishes of the year so far and arguably one of the most surprising finishes in recent years.

Pettis has not got back-to-back wins since the end of 2016 but to his credit, since then has only been in tough fights. Before this fight, his last three bouts were against Dustin Poirier, Michael Chiesa and Tony Ferguson. In his post-fight interview he spoke about potentially returning to 155 after this but after such a big victory at welterweight, it makes sense for him to stay there. After gaining so much respect for this win, one fight came to mind instantly for Pettis and that’s him vs Robbie Lawler. Despite Pettis’ up and down run, he is often in great fights. Beating Robbie Lawler would put him in good company among the top fighters in the division. Not to mention it’s an absolute dream fight between two fan favourite fighters who always give it all in the cage. It would be an early contender for fight of the year before it even takes place. It’s that good.

 

Thanks for coming by and flicking through my picks. Do you agree? Disagree? Got any better picks? Let us know on social media and get involved!

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