Odds courtesy of OddsShark.com
Back in late November, we previewed a UFC Fight Night card from the organization’s Apex facility in Las Vegas that was headlined by a heavyweight bout between Americans Curtis Blaydes and Derrick Lewis. That was set for November 28, but only a few hours before the Friday weigh-in, it was canceled when Blaydes tested positive for COVID-19. The two will give it another try this Saturday in the same location. The main card is set to start at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN+.Next month at UFC 260, Stipe Miocic will defend his heavyweight title against No. 1 contender Francis Ngannou. Depending on what happens there, the winner of this fight could get a shot at the title at some point in 2021 with Blaydes ranked No. 2 in the division and Lewis fourth – Jairzinho Rozenstruik is third and fights next Saturday.
The 29-year-old “Razor” Blaydes, fighting out of Oklahoma, is 14-2 with 10 of his wins by KO/TKO and the other four by decision. He has won four straight, last by unanimous decision over Alexander Volkov in June 2020. Blaydes‘ two losses were by first-round TKO to Ngannou in November 2018 and also to Ngannou by second-round TKO in April 2016. The point being, the UFC probably will not give Blaydes a title shot at Ngannou if he beats Miocic since Blaydes hasn’t proven equal to Ngannou.
Lewis is 36 and fights out of Houston, so his chances of a title shot dim by the day at his advanced age. “The Black Beast” wins the vast majority of the time (79 percent) by KO/TKO and loses 57 percent of the time that way. Lewis last fought in August 2020 and took out Alexey Oleynik by second-round TKO for a third consecutive victory.
Blaydes is a -450 favorite and Lewis +325. When this was published back in November, Blaydes was -400 and Lewis +300.
Also at heavyweight, Andrei Arlovski faces Tom Aspinall. Neither is ranked in the division. The 42-year-old Arlovski (30-19), originally from Belarus, won the UFC heavyweight title way back in February 2005 over Tim Sylvia, successfully defended it twice but then lost back-to-back against Sylvia.
“The Pit Bull” has fought just about every notable heavyweight in UFC history but is on the downside of his career in having lost nine of his past 15 – although he enters on a two-fight winning streak against lesser competition. Arlovski is a +200 underdog.
Aspinall (9-2) is a 27-year-old Englishman. He is 2-0 since joining the UFC, beating Alan Baudot and Jake Collier by first-round TKO. Aspinall is a -260 favorite.