By Jed Meshew | | 4 mins
UFC Fight Night 166: Dos Santos vs Blaydes Best Bets to Back
This weekend’s UFC Fight Night main event featured a pivotal heavyweight matchup between former UFC heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos and Curtis Blaydes. The fight, on Saturday in Raleigh, North Carolina, has potential title and definite UFC betting implications.
Dos Santos, ranked fourth, has been near the top of the division for a decade and is trying to put together one final title run. Meanwhile Blaydes, ranked third, has lost just twice, both times to title challenger in waiting Francis Ngannou. Blaydes seeks to assert himself as a legitimate title threat and faces his biggest opponent to date. It’s a big fight with some big bets available.
Dos Santos-Blaydes Bets to Back
|Dos Santos to win||+200 with FanDuel|
|Dos Santos by KO||+400 with FanDuel|
|Blaydes by Decision||+450 with Unibet|
Junior dos Santos vs. Curtis Blaydes Analysis
Junior dos Santos rose to the UFC heavyweight title on the back of powerful, solid boxing and strong takedown defense; that remains the core of his game today. JDS has added some flashy spinning attacks to his repertoire but he still mostly sticks to his bread and butter: Counterpunches, jabs, and body shots. He also has pretty good footwork for a heavyweight and this helps him greatly with his takedown defense.
"Striker vs Grappler" gets thrown around a lot, but the stats really showcase that for the #UFCRaleigh main event:— MMA By The Numbers (@NumbersMMA) January 23, 2020
Junior Dos Santos holds the UFC Heavyweight record for most knockdowns (14)
Curtis Blaydes holds the UFC Heavyweight record for most takedowns (45)
Dos Santos rarely gets tied up in a wrestling hold and even when he does, he’s incredibly difficult to take down. Consider his third fight with Cain Velasquez: JDS was severely hurt in the later rounds but still fended off most of Velasquez’s takedowns. That ability will serve him very well on Saturday.
Blaydes has the opposite style. Blaydes is a former college wrestler and is one of the few MMA heavyweights who has remained fully dedicated to that discipline. It’s not always pretty, but Blaydes will relentlessly pursue takedowns and is more than happy to win slow-paced, boring grinds.
Blaydes is a powerful athlete with good takedown ability and he can use chain wrestling to smother opponents from the top position. The problem for Blaydes is that his style leaves plenty of opportunities for counters.
Dos Santos vs. Blaydes Prediction and Best Bet
I will be the best version of myself January 25th pic.twitter.com/xV11sqCRsD— Curtis Blaydes (@RazorBlaydes265) January 9, 2020
FanDuel has Blaydes as a -250 favorite with the comeback on dos Santos at +200 and those odds are far too long. Blaydes is younger and more athletic but dos Santos still possesses the style to give Blaydes fits. Blaydes can get takedowns and implement his game plan, but it’s about as likely that JDS can keep standing, which would make Blaydes a sitting duck.
This fight should be much closer to a pick-‘em so the value on dos Santos is excellent.
There are also a couple of interesting prop bets available. Primarily, dos Santos by KO at +400 is extremely enticing as Blaydes has been knocked out before and if JDS can stay on his feet he could well win by knockout. If you like Blaydes, consider going to Unibet and throwing a small sum on him by decision at +450. JDS may be past his prime but he’s still incredibly durable and Blaydes is not the most punishing wrestler in the world. He is much more likely to grind out a decision if he wins.