Last night (Feb. 10, 2018), rising heavyweight contender Curtis Blaydes scored the biggest victory of his career, as he outwrestled veteran Mark Hunt on his way to a decision win.
Given the fact that Hunt is one of the very best knockout artists that the heavyweight division has ever seen, Blaydes knew that he had to get the fight to the ground where he feels as if he’s a ‘shark’:
“That was always my game plan. I am not a fool,” Blaydes said at the evening’s post-fight press conference. “I had no aspirations of standing and trying to bang with Mark Hunt so he can knock my head off. That was always the game plan. I am the better wrestler, why not use it? And I train in Denver, we’re a mile up in the air. There’s no elevation here in Perth, I knew I’d be the better conditioned athlete, I knew wrestling would gas him out a lot faster than standing and banging at his own pace, so I wanted to dictate where we went.
“On the feet, he’s a lion; on the ground, I’m a shark. I wanted to drag him into deep waters. That’s what I did.”
He did, however, admit that he was ‘rocked’ for a moment on the feet when Hunt landed a big shot, even going as far as to reveal that his vision ‘went black’:
“When he landed those heavy strikes, he definitely rocked me,” Blaydes said. “My vision went black for like, two seconds, and I heard my cornermen screaming ‘takedown!’ I knew I should get the takedown and that’s why he was able to get up so quickly because I wasn’t really in it so I got the takedown, it gave me enough time just to recover and then from there I kind of knew my range and I knew where not to be. From there, I knew I had to continue with the takedowns. I knew it would gas him out and help me get the W.”
At 26-years-old, Blaydes certainly has a bright future ahead of him. With a marquee win now under his belt, who would you like to see him face next?