Don’t let the fact this is not a title fight scare you away – UFC Fight Night: Blaydes vs. Lewis has so many implications. For starters, the winner of this fight could be poised to fight Francis Ngannou for the No. 1 contender spot. Curtis Blaydes and Derrick Lewis are scheduled to fight on Saturday, November 28th in Las Vegas at the UFC Apex. The free fight will be streamed on ESPN, and all fans of the UFC should tune in.
There has been a lot of drama surrounding the heavyweight division for the UFC. This fight adds one more layer.
Three of the last four UFC picks for heavyweight title fights have featured Daniel Cormier and Stipe Miocic. One of those fights had Cormier defeating Derrick Lewis. Francis Ngannou is the No. 1 contender for the next title fight with Miocic, but he has been vocal on Twitter about his displeasure with the UFC. In the past two years, there have been just two title fights and Miocic has not gone on record to say when he will be ready to fight again.
The UFC could potentially manipulate this and force Ngannou to take another fight to keep his contender status. That would be very unfortunate for Ngannou given he owns knockout wins in four straight contests. However, would we really be surprised if the UFC strung this along to their favor?
In the rankings, Curtis “The Razor” Blaydes is the No. 2 ranked fighter in the heavyweight division, while Derrick “The Black Beast” Lewis is the No. 4 ranked fighter. There’s a lot of belief that this fight will be finished by knockout. Blaydes has won 71% of his fights by T/KO, while Lewis has won 79% of his fights by knockout. Lewis is on a three-fight win streak and a win could put him back in promised position for another chance to make a run for a title fight. If Lewis wins, it could give him a chance to fight Ngannou for the No. 1 contender.
As for Blaydes, it would be interesting to see how the UFC moves forward. Blaydes lost to Ngannou in April 2016 and again in November 2018 , but he owns a four-fight win streak. If Blaydes wins, would he skip Ngannou? That is unlikely given how Ngannou has waited for the Miocic/Cormier drama to wind down. However, it could set up a PPV event for the No. 1 contender spot and a date with Miocic.
Blaydes opens up as the presumed favorite with -280 odds, while Lewis sits at +240. Blaydes has wins over Junior dos Santos and Alistair Overeem in the past, while Lewis holds a victory over Ngannou. Earlier in the summer, Blaydes made a declaration that he “would destroy” Lewis if the two met in the octagon. Now, he will get that chance.
Blaydes has everything to lose, while Lewis has everything to win with his underdog status. Blaydes is the better fighter between the two because he can hold opponents down and doesn’t just rely on the knockout. If Blaydes can get Lewis to the ground, he could hold on to for a decision win. The winner of this fight will be the No. 2 contender.