01 Jan UFC on ESPN 11 live blog: Curtis Blaydes vs. Alexander Volkov
This is the UFC on ESPN 11 live blog for Curtis Blaydes vs. Alexander Volkov, the heavyweight headliner for Saturday’s fight card at UFC APEX in Las Vegas.
Blaydes hopes to win his fourth straight octagon fight and climb into heavyweight title contention, while Volkov aims to build on a recent decision over Greg Hardy.
Check out the UFC on ESPN 11 live blog below.
Round 1: Blaydes deposits Volkov onto the canvas in under 10 seconds after Volkov jabs his way in. Volkov manages to stand up, but is tripped back down. Blaydes knees the legs and butt as Volkov tries to stand again. Blaydes hangs on the Russian’s back and continues to knee. Volkov finally gets up, but another foot sweep puts him back down. Blaydes lets his hands go and then suplexes Volkov after he stands up. More knees to the butt as Volkov kneels. Action stalls as Volkov continues to hang out. Eventually, he set up for a kimura. Blaydes fights it off, but Volkov manages to get up. Blaydes expends more effort to trip Volkov back to the mat. And again, Volkov is kneeling as the round ends.
MMA Fighting scores the frame 10-9 for Blaydes.
Round 2: Blaydes starts to mix it up with Volkov on the feet. He lands a few punches as Volkov stands flat-footed, not doing much to optimize his time on the feet. A right hand sets up another shot from Blaydes, who charges and puts Volkov on the canvas against the fence. Volkov rights himself. An inside trip again puts him down, and this time, Blaydes has his opponent in the middle of the octagon. Ground and pound from top position is sparse; Volkov is making things tough as he ties up the arms. Blaydes goes to work with his right elbow, hammering Volkov. Blaydes stands overhead and gets up. Volkov goes to work with kicks and shucks a takedown attempt. But the next one, Blaydes is able to get under the hips and get the double leg to close out the round.
MMA Fighting scores the round 10-9 Blaydes, who’s up 20-18.
Round 3: Blaydes does some nice work early with his punches and kicks, outworking Volkov with his speed. Twenty seconds in, he catches Volkov flat-footed and goes for the takedown. Volkov hits the cage and manages to stay upright, and he gets another shot on his feet. Not more than a few kicks are loosed before Blaydes shoots again. They hit the fence and wrestle for position, and Volkov lands a knee. Blaydes ducks under and gets another takedown of sorts – Volkov is basically kneeling on the canvas as Blaydes tries to flatten him. Volkov wraps the head briefly, and Blaydes frees himself. Action stalls, and referee Herb Dean warns for action. Volkov wraps the head again and tries to stand up, but Blaydes is all over him. Two minutes remaining, and Blaydes backs off and lands a nice knee to the midsection. He whips around to the back and traps a leg and works to flatten Volkov. Volkov wraps the head and threatens a guillotine before powering up to his feet. He complains of an errant shot, and Blaydes again shoots. Volkov stuffs it, and then stuffs a follow-up as the round comes to an end.
MMA Fighting scores the frame 10-9 Blayes, and it’s 30-27 in his favor.
Round 4: Volkov works his front kick, and Blaydes whips around to his back and kicks out those legs to end up on top. Blaydes on Volkov’s back. Volkov stands up and rejects another trip down with a fence grab. Blaydes tries the big suplex and can’t pull it off. Volkov lets go a punch at distance, and Blaydes ducks under and shoots. He can’t get it done, and he’s forced to stand. Volkov gets off one combo that’s short before Blaydes does his thing and gets the double-leg. Both heavyweights look very tired. Dean warns for action when the two do little but rest. Blaydes postures up and fires down a few hammerfists and punches, but there’s not much on them. Volkov elbows the top of the head, forcing Blaydes to move. Dean stops them and stands them up with less than one minute to go. One combo exchanged, and Blaydes barely avoids a knee as he shoots. Volkov chases after him with punches and goes for his own takedown. With 10 seconds left, the Russian gets it, and he peppers Blaydes, who’s bleeding badly from his mouth. Time runs out before Volkov can do any more serious damage.
MMA Fighting scores the frame 10-9 for Volkov, and it’s 39-37 Blaydes.
Round 5: Volkov goes to work with his jab and cuts off Blaydes, who’s visibly on fumes. A kick catches Blaydes flush as he goes for the takedown. Blaydes is on the defense now, backing up as Volkov pursues. Volkov gets a little too greedy and Blaydes gets an easy takedown. Seated against the fence, Volkov tries to stand, and Blaydes moves to his back. Three minutes to go, and Volkov uses hand control to reverse to his feet. Blaydes is right on him, but Volkov reverses against the fence. Blaydes breaks off and drives in for a takedown. Volkov lowers his center of gravity and knees the body. Blaydes drops down and tries to get the takedown. Volkov hammerfists his opponent’s exposed head, and Blaydes drives for another takedown when Volkov briefly gets up. Less than one minute, and Blaydes has the top position. He’s throwing a few punches here and there while Volkov elbows and flails from the bottom. The round ends, and Blaydes rolls to his back before righting himself. A grueling fight for both men.
MMA Fighting scores the round 10-9 for Volkov, but Blaydes gets the 48-47 decision.
Official result: Curtis Blaydes def. Alexander Volkov via unanimous decision (49-46, 48-47, 48-46)