Curtis Blaydes typically beats his opponents on the ground with his dominant wrestling game. On Saturday night, he showed he can just as easily finish a fight from his feet.
Blaydes knocked out Chris Daukaus just 17 seconds into the second round, finishing his opponent with a straight right followed up with strikes on the ground.
Blaydes sends message to heavyweight division
According to Blaydes (16-3), he decided to beat Daukaus (12-5) with standup striking in order to show that he isn’t just a one-dimensional wrestler.
“I know everybody in here, including Chris Daukaus and his corner, everyone at home, were all expecting a [takedown],” Blaydes said after the win. “That slows you down. You’re waiting for me to wrestle. Well, I’m looking to do both. I saw the opportunity, and it worked.”
Blaydes came into Saturday’s main event as the No. 4 contender in the UFC heavyweight division. After another impressive win, he called for an interim title fight while the current champion rehabs from his recent knee surgery.
Blaydes had a couple of names in mind when it comes to his next opponent.
“A win over [Ciryl] Gane, who was on a hot streak, who was just in a title fight, a win over him should put me as the next title contender,” Blaydes told reporters. “The same thing with Stipe [Miocic]. He’s the GOAT, in my opinion. He’s the GOAT of this heavyweight division. He honestly deserved a rematch a while ago. But if he’s willing to risk it against me, and I beat him, that’s the same thing. A title shot for me would be the same thing after beating Gane or Stipe.”
When he was a relatively new professional, Blaydes trained with Miocic nearly a decade ago. Miocic hasn’t fought since losing his title to Francis Ngannou at UFC 260.
Nate Diaz asks for release
Veteran UFC star Nate Diaz took to social media on Saturday to ask for a release from his UFC contract. Diaz last fought in June 2020 against welterweight Leon Edwards. Since then, he has complained of wanting fights, but not finding an opponent he and UFC brass could agree on.
— Nathan Diaz (@NateDiaz209) March 26, 2022
“I would like to request to be released from the UFC,” Diaz tweeted, tagging both UFC President Dana White and CBO Hunter Campbell. “I apologize for asking online but [you] don’t give me a fight ASAP I got shit to do.”
Diaz is on the last fight of his current contract with the UFC. ESPN reported that the 36-year-old has talked to the UFC about extending the deal, but the two sides haven’t reached an agreement.
Demetrious Johnson wins mixed-rules fight
Former UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson won a unique bout against Muay Thai champion Rodtang Jitmuangnon on Saturday at the ONE Championship’s 10-year anniversary event, ONE X.
— ONE Championship (@ONEChampionship) March 26, 2022
Johnson needed to survive the fight round, which featured Muay Thai rules. While Johnson landed some strikes in the first round, Rodtang dominated the action, clearly looking for the finish before MMA rules came into effect.
Once Johnson survived the first round, he had a clear advantage. He managed to take down a much more cautious Rodtang, quickly took his back, and landed a rear-naked choke. While Rodtang never tapped, he lost when he passed out at 2:13 into the second round.