The UFC is back this weekend, and this time the show emanates from the PNC Arena in Raleigh, North Carolina. Heavyweights occupy the main event slot as Curtis Blaydes faces former UFC Heavyweight Champion Junior dos Santos.
Here’s how you can watch.
Date: Saturday, September 25
Time: 5 pm ET for Prelims and 8 pm ET for main card
Live Stream: ESPN+
Whenever top-contending heavyweights are in action in a UFC main event, there is interest. Blaydes is one of the best big men in the UFC, but he hasn’t been able to break through to earn a title shot.
Blaydes has just two losses in his career, and both have come against Francis Ngannou.
On a few occasions he’s been close to getting an opportunity to win the UFC title, but he has fallen short in a fight that might have been his final impediment before getting the nod.
He might be in that situation again on Saturday. After taking his second loss to Ngannou in November 2018, Blaydes has won two in a row. Most recently, he stopped Shamil Abdurakhimov back in September 2019.
A win over dos Santos could push Blaydes into an opportunity to face the winner of the seemingly inevitable third fight between Daniel Cormier and current champion Stipe Miocic.
At the least, he might get Alexander Volkov or another top contender before being given a crack at the belt. In any case, this is a crucial fight for Blaydes.
Dos Santos has already been to the top, but he desperately wants to return. His path might be a bit more arduous than Blaydes because he is coming off a loss to Ngannou in June 2019.
Ngannou is almost certainly a win over Jairzinho Rozenstruik away from his second chance to become champion. Because Ngannou is justifiably ahead of him, Dos Santos needs to beat Blaydes and perhaps a few more ranked guys to get back to the top.
Still, the climb begins with Blaydes on Saturday.
The Card and Odds
- Curtis Blaydes (-240) vs. Junior Dos Santos (+200)
- Rafael Dos Anjos (-275) vs. Michael Chiesa (+235)
- Alex Perez (-270) vs. Jordan Espinosa (+230)
- Angela Hill (-160) vs. Hannah Cifers (+140)
- Jamahal Hill (-135) vs. Darko Stosic (+115)
- Bevon Lewis (-420) vs. Dequan Townsend (+335)
- Arnold Allen (-285) vs. Nik Lentz (+225)
- Lucie Pudilova (-175) vs. Justine Kish (+155)
- Montel Jackson (-630) vs. Felipe Colares (+465)
- Sara McMann (-155) vs. Lina Lansberg (+135)
- Tom Gravely (-115) vs. Brett Johns (-105)
- Nate Landwehr (-125) vs. Herbert Burns (+105)
The card is a modest one as it pertains to name value, but as we’ve seen in the past, that doesn’t mean the action won’t be epic. The co-main event is an interesting one with former UFC Lightweight Champion Rafael dos Anjos facing new and rejuvenated welterweight Michael Chiesa.