UFC action continues outside the APEX as this weekend’s event heads to the Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio for UFC Fight Night: Blaydes vs Daukaus.

Top 10 heavyweights Curtis Blaydes and Chris Daukaus meet in the main event of Saturday’s contest. Blaydes is coming off a big win over Jairzinho Rozenstuik in his last outing while Daukaus will try to bounce back after getting knocked out by Derrick Lewis in his last bout. A win by either fighter will put him back in the title hunt. For Blaydes, it may mean one win away from a title shot. For Daukaus, it will be solidifying his status among the heavyweight elites.

Meanwhile, women’s flyweight veteran Joanne Calderwood-Wood and Alexa Grasso will co-headline the event. Also fighting in the main card are Matt Brown and Bryan Barberena while a potential men’s flyweight title eliminator between Aska Askarov and Kai Kara-France will also take place this Saturday night. Veteran heavyweight Ilir Latifi and Aleksey Oleynik will also be fighting in the main card.

Let’s take a look at the UFC Fight Night 205 main card bouts and make our predictions.

“Fighting" Curtis Blaydes vs Chris Daukaus

Curtis Blaydes is the no. 4 ranked heavyweight in the UFC. The 31-year old from Naperville, Illinois is a former Resurrection Fighting Alliance heavyweight champion who also competed under XFO. Razor joined the UFC in 2016 and after losing via knockout to current UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou in his UFC debut, Blaydes won 10 out of his next 11 bouts, including one that was overturned into a no-contest after Blaydes tested positive for marijuana.

Two fights ago, Blaydes saw his four-bout win streak ended by Derrick Lewis at UFC Vegas 19. He bounced back by defeating Jairzinho Rozenstruik in his most recent UFC appearance. Razor has a record of 15-3 with 10 knockouts. He is 6-4 tall with a reach of 80 inches and fights out of the orthodox stance.

Chris Daukaus is the no. 9 ranked heavyweight in the UFC. The 32-year old from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania fought under XFE, Cage Fury FC, KOTC, CES MMA, and Ring of Combat. Daukaus joined the UFC in 2020 and picked up five consecutive stoppage wins over Danny Holmes, Parker Porter, Rodrigo Nascimento, Alexey Oleynik, and Shamil Abdurakhimov to start his UFC career.

In his most recent bout, Daukaus suffered his first setback in the UFC when he was knocked out by Derrick Lewis at UFC Vegas 45. He owns a record of 12-4 with 11 knockouts. Daukaus is 6-3 tall with a reach of 76 inches and is an orthodox fighter.

What are the Moneyline Odds?





Odds from BetOnline as of 03/25/2022

Blaydes’ three losses have come against the biggest punchers in the division in Derrick Lewis and Francis Ngannou ( twice). While Daukaus has shown his knockout ability in the UFC, he doesn’t have the one-punch stopping power of Lewis or Ngannou. Without that kind of knockout power, Blaydes should be able to get near Daukaus without the thought of being slept. That said, Razor should be able to land his takedowns and impose his impressive wrestling against Daukaus.

Once on the ground, the smaller Daukaus will find it difficult to get back on his feet. Blaydes should be able to smother him with top control or ground and pound. Either way, it’s going to be a win for Razor.

Prediction: Curtis Blaydes

“Fighting" Joanne Wood vs Alexa Grasso

Joanne Wood, formerly Calderwood, is the no. 7 ranked female flyweight in the UFC. The 35-year old from Irvine, Scotland is a former International Kickboxing Federation and WBC Muay Thai champion. Wood Invicta FC and Cage Warriors before joining the 20th season of The Ultimate Fighter where she lost to Rose Namajunas in the quarterfinals. Wood is just 4-6 in her last 10 bouts and is coming off back-to-back losses to Lauen Murphy and Taila Santos.

Wood has a record of 15-7 with five knockouts and one submission victory. She stands 5-6 tall with a reach of 65 inches and is an orthodox fighter.

Alexa Grasso is the no. 9 ranked female flyweight in the UFC. The 28-year old from Guadalajara, Mexico began her career at Fight Hard Championships and Xtreme Combat before joining Invicta FC where she went 4-0. Grasso joined the UFC in 2016 and alternated wins and losses in her first six bouts before winning her last two fights against Ji Yeon Kim and Maycee Barber.

Grasso is 13-3 with four wins via knockout. She is 5-5 tall with a reach of 66 inches and is an orthodox fighter.

What are the Moneyline Odds?





Odds from BetOnline as of 03/25/2022

Neither Wood nor Grasso is known for her grappling or takedown offense so this is a fight that will most likely be fought on the feet. Wood’s background is as a kickboxer but unlike most kickboxers in the UFC, she does most of her damage in the clinch. That gives Grasso, who has one inch of reach on Wood, the advantage here as she has the ability to pick Wood apart using her long-range striking while also being able to match her opponent in the clinch.

Grasso also has the speed advantage in this bout and that will enable her to land her strikes on Wood who isn’t just older but has looked much slower in previous bouts.

Prediction: Alexa Grasso

“Fighting" Matt Brown vs Bryan Barberena

Matt Brown was a contestant on the 7th season of The Ultimate Fighter where he lost to eventual winner Amir Sadollah in the quarterfinals. The 41-year old known as the Immortal defeated former Bellator champion Douglas Lima to win the ISC East Coast Welterweight title in 2007. Brown joined the UFC in 2008 and started his Octagon career with a 5-5 record. Brown won seven straight fights to earn a title eliminator against Robbie Lawler. He lost that bout and hasn’t been the same with a 4-6 record since then.

Brown has a record of 23-18 with 15 knockouts and six submission wins. He is six feet tall with a reach of 75 inches and is an orthodox fighter.

Bryan Barberena competed at Dakota FC, KOTC, Extreme Cage Fighting, and Crowbar MMA before joining the UFC in 2014. He is just 7-6 inside the UFC Octagon but is 2-1 in his last two bouts with wins over Anthony Ivy and Darian Weeks. Barberena owns notable wins over Sage Northcutt, Wallrey Alves, and Jake Ellenberger.

Barberena is 16-8 with 10 knockouts and two submission victories. He stands six feet tall with a reach of 72 inches and fights out of the southpaw stance.

What are the Moneyline Odds?





Odds from BetOnline as of 03/25/2022

Brown is a very violent man who always hunts for the knockout. He’s a Muay Thai fighter who excels in close distance fighting because of his Muay Thai trips and transition to elbows and knees. Barberena is a barbarian himself and he also likes to slug it out. He has heavy hands and a solid chin. However, since losing to Vicente Luque, Barberena has looked like a shell of his former self.

The Immortal is way past his prime but neither is Barberena in his peak. Brown is no longer as fast or well-conditioned as he was during his best years but he still has the killer instinct. He still hits hard and can still take damage. Barberena will try to put Brown to sleep early on but the latter has better technique and some power. I think Brown pulls off the upset here.

Prediction: Matt Brown

“Fighting" Askar Askarov vs Kai Kara-France

Askar Askarov is the no. 2 ranked flyweight in the UFC. The 29-year old from Dagestan is a former Absolute Championship Berkut flyweight champion and 2017 Deaflympics wrestling gold medalist. Askarov joined the UFC after two successful title defenses at ACB and after figuring in a draw with former flyweight champion Brandon Moreno in his UFC debut, Askarov has picked up impressive wins over Tim Elliott, Alexandre Pantoja, and Joseph Benavidez.

Askarov is 14-0 with four knockouts and seven submission wins. He is 5-6 tall with a reach of 67 inches and is an orthodox fighter.

Kai Kara-France is the no. 6 ranked flyweight in the UFC. The 28-year old New Zealander is a former KOZ flyweight champion in Australia who also fought under promotions like AFC, Kunlun Fight, Pacific Xtreme Combat, W.A.R.S., and Hex Fight Series. He joined the UFC in 2018 and won his first three UFC assignments. Kara- France lost two out of his next three bouts but has won his last two by knockout, including a massive first-round stoppage of former bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt at UFC 269.

Kara-France is 23-9 with 11 knockouts and 9 submission victories. He stands 5-4 tall with a reach of 69 inches and is an orthodox fighter.

What are the Moneyline Odds?





Odds from BetOnline as of 03/25/2022

Kara-France’s clear path to victory is landing those powerful hands. However, he has to defend Askarov’s takedowns and scramble back to his feet if he is taken down. Those are easier said than done though. Although he has an excellent takedown defense, Askarov’s wrestling and grappling are something Kara-France has not seen.

Askarov is big and strong and we’ve seen Kara-France getting controlled on the ground by smaller fighters. Askarov’s striking isn’t as polished as Kara-France’s however, his relentless style, cardio, and decent striking defense should be more than enough to get him the victory here.

Prediction: Askar Askarov

“Fighting" Ilir Latifi vs Alexey Oleynik

Ilir Latifi is a former two-time Swedish national wrestling champion. The 38-year old known as the Sledgehammer for his power fists formerly fought under Shark Fights, Rumble of the Kings, and GLORY. After winning the Superior Challenge Light Heavyweight title in 2012, Latifi joined the UFC. He won 7 out of his first 10 Octagon assignments but then lost three straight bouts, including a heavyweight match against Derrick Lewis. In his last bout, Latifi defeated Tanner Boser via a split decision.

He has a record of 15-8 with six knockouts and four submission victories. Latifi is 5-10 tall with a 73-inch reach and is an orthodox fighter.

Alexey Oleynik is a veteran of M-1 Global, ProFC, and IAFC. He also fought under Bellator MMA, KSW< and YAMMA Pit Fighting. The 44-year old from Ukraine is also a former Combat Sambo World Champion and is the first fighter to compete across four decades. Oleynik joined the UFC in 2014 and he's not found consistent success inside the Octagon. Currently, he's lost five out of his last seven bouts and is on a three-bout losing skid. Oleynik has a record of 59-16 with 8 knockouts and 46 submission victories. He is 6-2 tall with a reach of 80 inches and fights out of the orthodox stance.

What are the Moneyline Odds?





Odds from BetOnline as of 03/25/2022

Latifi was doing well at 205 pounds and his move to heavyweight was questionable. In two fights against bigger opponents, he has landed just 15 total strikes and hasn’t done much except wrestle. Meanwhile, Oleynik is finally showing signs of his age and he fades more quickly and is easily hurt by opponents. Still, he is a very dangerous submission expert.

This is a fight I’d rather not pick because both fighters don’t look too good right now. But between the two, Latifi is younger and looks faster, and has heavier hands. No doubt he has the tools to end Oleynik’s night early. Latifi is tough to take down too and his muscular frame makes it appear like he doesn’t have a neck. That makes it hard to choke him out too. In the end, I think the older man tires faster and Latifi lands one big punch that sends Oleynik to dreamland.

Prediction: Ilir Latifi

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