Given the eventual retirement of Daniel “DC’ Cormier, two behemoths looking to insert themselves intotitle contention are Curtis “Razor” Blaydes and Alexander “Drago” Volkov. It just so happens, these two will headline UFC Fight Night slated for this Saturday from the UFC Apex. Can Blaydes be “Razor” sharp in cutting his way unto title contention or will Volkov channel the spirit of his nickname sake and decide “I MUST BREAK YOU”?
Blaydes’ “Razor” Edge
Many will question my sanity for the following notion. Minus the ethnicity, injuries and “Brown Pride” chest tattoo, Curtis Blaydes rings Cain Velasquez tones. How? The two are double-edged swords as strikers and grapplers. Both have striking accuracy above 50%, they absorb under three strikes per minute and they average above five takedowns per bout. Additionally, Blaydes has applies smothering pressure. Did you see what Blaydes did to finish Alistair Overeem? That, along with wins over Shamil Abdurakhimov and Junior Dos Santos helped Blaydes win three of his last five outings.
Enter the Drago
At 6’7”, Alexander Volkov stands as Blaydes’ tallest opponent to date. He’s also stood tall over four of his last five opponents, which include Greg Hardy, Fabricio Werdum, Stefan Struve and Roy Nelson. One constant in Volkov’s career is his striking output. Averaging almost six strikes per minute, one can never accuse him of pulling punches…or kicks, for that matter. Also, don’t let the stature fool you! Volkov is quite involved in the grappling game. He can both dish (75%) and defend them (76%). Roughly seven takedowns per fight vs. a defense rate of 75%…something’s gotta give!
Volkov’s height could be menacing for Blaydes. If utilized correctly, Volkov could very well have counterstrikes waiting for Blaydes whenever he attempts to close distance. If Volkov is able to nullify Blaydes’ wrestling, it’ll force Blaydes to rely purely on striking, which most likely will be disadvantageous.
However, “Drago” has never dealt with the kind of pressure that “Razor has to offer. When it comes into play, “overwhelmed” could be the operative word to describe Volkov’s outing. I’ll go with “Razor” to channel his inner Cain Velasquez and outwork Volkov. The only unfortunate side of Volkov’s loss is we won’t get to hear him say “If He Dies, He Dies” during his post-fight interview. Only Rocky fans will get that!
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