In an unexpected heavyweight booking, Curtis Blaydes will reportedly be returning to action this fall as requested but not against the opponent he had in mind According to Ariel Helwani of ESPN, Curtis Blaydes and Francis Ngannou will face off on 11/24 in Beijing China instead.
Curtis Blaydes has been lobbying for a fight with Stipe Miocic, specifically calling for a fight against Miocic at the 25th Anniversary card on November 10th. Blaydes even made the claim that Miocic was formally offered the fight by the UFC. If that is true, then it would seem Miocic has decided to wait for the shot at the heavyweight championship that he dropped last month at UFC 226. Another possibility is that Miocic will be on standby in case Brock Lesnar is unable to face Cormier after all. Speculation aside, the only thing that is left to make Blaydes vs. Ngannou official according to the report are the heavyweights’ names on the dotted lines.
Of course this will not be the first time Blaydes and Ngannou have clashed. Two years ago, Blaydes’s and Ngannou’s bout came to a premature end, with the doctor being forced to call a stop to the fight due to a badly swollen right eye of Blaydes. This is the only loss on Blaydes’s record.
Since this contest, Curtis Blaydes has gone on a tear, running though every opponent put in front of him, including Oleksiy Oliynyk, Mark Hunt, and most recently, Alistair Overeem. Blaydes believes he is rightfully next in line for a title shot or should face Stipe for that honor, but perhaps his choice to remain active will give him a leg-up on the record-breaking champion for the next heavyweight title shot following the Cormier/Lesnar bout.
Francis Ngannou also went on a winning spree following his victory over Curtis Blaydes in 2016, with four straight victories, which brought his total winning streak at the time to 10. Like Blaydes, Ngannou’s last victory was against Overeem in what was a knockout for the ages that put the heavyweight division on notice. Ngannou would then lose to Stipe Miocic in a championship bout and then drop a unanimous decision to Derrick Lewis in what many consider to be the worst fight in the history of the heavyweight division.
What do you think about this booking? Is this rematch the right fight to make for Curtis Blaydes and Francis Ngannou?