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UFC Columbus Main Event Preview: Blaydes vs. Daukaus

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March is just about over, but although the first quarter of 2022 is done, the MMA action is just heating up as this weekend, the UFC’s back in action for one last card before a bye week in the first weekend of April.

This time around, the MMA leader returns to the Buckeye State of Ohio for the first time in 5 1/2 years, specifically its capital city of Columbus and Nationwide Arena for another UFC Fight Night, a.k.a., UFC Columbus.

Heavyweights Do Battle In UFC Columbus Main Event

UFC Columbus this Saturday night will feature a 13-fight card live from Nationwide Arena on ESPN and ESPN+, highlighted by a showcase at 265 lbs. in the UFC Columbus main event.

No. 4 contender Curtis Blaydes (15-3, 1 NC MMA, 10-3, 1 NC UFC) will square off inside the famous UFC Octagon against Cage Fury Fighting Championships alumnus and former member of the Philadelphia Police Department Christopher Daukaus (12-4 MMA, 4-1 UFC) in the headliner from Columbus.

As with all UFC headliners, Saturday night’s main event will be an advertised maximum of five rounds at five minutes per round to close the show.

UFC Columbus Two Years In The Making

Initially, the UFC was slated to make an appearance in Columbus on March 28, 2020 at Nationwide Arena, as was first announced in the promotion’s original 2020 schedule of events, but a little more than two weeks before the scheduled fight night, COVID-19 was declared a worldwide pandemic.

In the aftermath, UFC President Dana White first announced that UFC Columbus, as well as the original UFC London, would be relocated from Ohio and England to the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, before later being canceled entirely.

Last week, it was London’s turn to host a UFC Fight Night two years in the making, and now it’s time for Ohio to shine on MMA’s biggest stage.

UFC Columbus Main Event Fighter Comparison

Heading into the UFC Columbus main event this Saturday night, Curtis Blaydes stands taller at 6-foot-4, with Christopher Daukaus countering at 6-foot-3.

Additionally, Blaydes holds a four-inch advantage in reach (80 inches to 76 inches) and a three-inch advantage in leg reach (76 inches to 73 inches) over Daukaus heading into Saturday’s fight.

Curtis Blaydes Still Confident He’s Superior To Derrick Lewis Ahead of UFC Columbus Main Event

Curtis Blaydes enters Saturday night’s headlining bout having posted a 4-1 mark in his last five fights, most recently scoring a unanimous decision victory against Jairzinho Rozenstruik last September during UFC 266’s main card.

But it’s the 1 in the 4-1 record that’s still bothering him, even months after a second-round knockout loss to Derrick Lewis during UFC Vegas 19 in February of 2021.

In January of this year, Blaydes spoke to MMA News, where he mentioned that he’s still confident in his superiority to “The Black Beast”.

“I don’t lose to bums, and he ain’t a bum. I know that,” Blaydes began. “I think, stylistically, I should have won that fight. He won the one way that he could win. I took a bad shot, he caught me, but otherwise, apart from that, because I’ve re-watched the fight, he lost the first round, he was on his way to losing that round, and I rushed it and paid the price. That’s always going to annoy me because I do believe, I know I lost, but I do believe I’m still better than Derrick Lewis. I think I have more skills than him, more ways to win. I’m better athletically. He’s just really good at what he does, which is getting the knockout.”

The time for talk is just about done for Curtis Blaydes, and come Saturday evening, when the Octagon door closes and the command to fight is given, the time will come for Blaydes to prove it.

Can he back up his comments or is he just all talk?

We’ll know soon enough, so tune into the UFC Columbus main event on Saturday and find out.

Christopher Daukaus Looks To Put First UFC Defeat Behind Him in UFC Columbus Main Event

In the other corner, Christopher Daukaus enters the UFC Columbus main event on Saturday having posted a 4-1 record of his own but he enters having tasted defeat for the first time inside the Octagon last time out, having dropped a first-round knockout to Lewis right before Christmas on Dec. 18 in UFC Vegas 45’s headlining bout.

Prior to that loss, he’d been on a five-fight winning streak dating back to his last fight in CFFC in August of 2019.

On the Tuesday of fight week for UFC Vegas 45, Daukaus announced that he’d be resigning his post as a police officer to focus exclusively on MMA, and that Saturday, he lost the fight.

Daukaus now has to put his first defeat in major MMA behind him, but this is something easier said than done.

Analysis, Film Study, and Prediction

Stylistically, the UFC Columbus main event on Saturday night seems to favor Christopher Daukaus, a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, while Curtis Blaydes counters with a blue belt in BJJ.

Therefore, it stands to reason that this headliner could very well be a grappler’s delight, but both of these men have also shown that they can close the show by knockout.

Curtis Blaydes Can Be Brutal With Strikes

One aspect of Curtis Blaydes’ fight game that stands out on film is his ability to put strikes together to score the knockout, as he did against Junior dos Santos in UFC Raleigh’s headliner in January of 2020.

During the second round of a scheduled five, after dos Santos showed some movement, Blaydes began to tee off by landing a punch to his opponent’s head, wobbling dos Santos and sending him to the cage fence, resulting in Blaydes momentarily going to the clinch.

From there, Blaydes showed his patience before unloading on dos Santos with a two-punch combination which sent him back against the cage fence, ultimately finishing the job with a barrage of knees and punches to nearly fold him like an accordion, with the referee waving off the fight just a minute and six seconds into the period.

If Curtis Blaydes is able to time his shots carefully and make Christopher Daukaus pay, the UFC Columbus main event will be a short fight.

Christopher Daukaus Can Be Just As Brutal

In the other corner, Christopher Daukaus is saying “Hold on, not so fast!”, as he can be just as impressive with strikes of his own, as he showed off during his bout against Aleksei Oleinik in UFC Vegas 19 last year.

About a minute and a half into the first round, Daukaus absorbed a leg kick and then countered with a right-handed punch before unloading with a combination including a knee strike,

At that point, it was all over but the shouting as Daukaus continued to tee off with a relentless barrage of punches to Oleinik’s head, mixed with another knee in the middle of the assault, to force a stoppage to the fight.

If Daukaus is able to connect with these brutal shots, the headliner won’t last long on Saturday night.

Final Thoughts

As chronicled during the film study, there’s one constant to heavyweight fights, such as the UFC Columbus main event on Saturday:

All it will take to close the show is as little as one well-placed strike and someone’s going to get knocked out.

Don’t blink, or you’ll miss something amazing.

Prediction: Christopher Daukaus by First-Round Knockout.

Featured image credit to UFC

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Drew Zuhosky has been writing about MMA since the spring of 2018. A graduate of Youngstown State University in Youngstown, OH, Drew enjoys a good game and an even better fight. When he's not writing, you can find him playing video games and listening to music.