The UFC heads to Raleigh for UFC Fight Night 166 which is headlined by rising star Curtis Blaydes and former champion Junior dos Santos. While there may not be a household name like Conor McGregor on this card, there are plenty of top contenders and up and coming fighters spread through the main card and prelims that provide some intriguing matchups and mismatches.
This fight is a typical striker v grappler match up of the highest order. Junior dos Santos (JDS) has been around the block and has been fighting the elite fighters in the UFC since 2008. He put together three straight wins since his loss to the heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic before falling to Francis Ngannou’s power in his most recent fight. If JDS can keep this on the feet, he will knock Blaydes out simple as that but it is easier said than done.
Much like his counterpart Blaydes fell victim to a Ngannou sledgehammer after an impressive run of wins but has come back in great style since, again looking like a world beater with two dominant wins in 2019. His only two career losses have come against Ngannou and he has looked dominant in every other fight.
Neither are a real submission threats so this will either likely end by a decision or knock out. The key question is can Blaydes take him down. Blaydes averages 6.8 takedowns a match with a 57% success rate but his opponent JDS has an 80% takedown defence success rate.
This really is one of the toughest fights to call with both only losing in recent years to the elite fighters of the heavyweight division. I have a slight lean towards Blaydes but I see both of these showing plenty of respect to one another’s strengths in the early rounds. I don’t see this as a flash knock out by JDS early on nor do I see Blaydes finishing JDS with ease on the ground as although he is largely a striker, he is Brazilian after all so I’m going to predict this fight will last at least a few rounds.
Montel Jackson is an exciting prospect in a division packed with talent and is only a fight or two away from getting a top 10 opponent and breaking onto the scene. He only has 9 fights to his name but in that time has shown plenty of raw and untapped ability. He comes into this fight against a fighter in Colares that has struggled to prove to be any sort of real threat and he will not be able to take a shot from Jackson like he did against de Freitas. I don’t see this lasting long as Jackson has loads of power and with Colares showing his striking defence is suspect at best this should be easy work for Jackson.
Herbert Burns who is the younger brother of current Welterweight, Gilbert has come through both One FC and Titan FC before earning a contract on the Contender series. This fight is rated as a coin flip but this matchup suits Burns much better than Landwehr. Landwehr will march forward pressuring Burns and trying to catch him clean with big shots. What looks likely to happen, however, is Burns will shoot the double leg as Landwehr overcommits to his punches and take him down. If he has any time to work on the ground it is a matter of time before he finds his back and finishes him. Burns has four rear naked chokes in his 11 pro fights and is likely to make it five here as Landwehr is no match for him on the ground.
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