Curtis Blaydes' uninspired win vs. Alex Volkov outshined by Josh Emmett-Shane Burgos firefight

(R-L) Curtis Blaydes beats heavyweight Alexander Volkov during the UFC Fight Night at UFC Apex on June 20, 2020 in Las Vegas. (Photo by Chris Unger / Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
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LAS VEGAS - Curtis Blaydes held on for a lifetime and sucked in bad air when his fight with Alexander Volkov ended. Blaydes' wrestling dominated the fight for the fight night, but he couldn't get a spectacular win that would have reinforced his argument that he would soon deserve a title shot.
Blaydes won 49-45, 48-47 and 48-46, but it wasn't exciting and it wasn't the kind of performance that UFC President Dana White would have forced on hand.
Heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic will defend his belt against former champion Daniel Cormier at the main event of UFC 252 on August 15th at UFC Apex. Cormier has announced that he will retire to win or lose. If he wins, the UFC player will have to choose between Blaydes, Francis Ngannou and light heavyweight champion Jon Jones to fight for the vacant belt.
Given that, Blaydes needed a wow moment that he didn't get. He promised to tear the Volkov doll up before the fight, and he mostly did. He repeatedly took Volkov down, but landed little ground and pounds and rarely improved his position.
Things looked particularly bad after the co-main event, a gun battle between Josh Emmett and Shane Burgos, which was without a doubt one of the best fights of 2020. Emmett proved beyond a doubt that even after his injury he is a top-class welterweight, his knee seconds into the match.
It restricted his ability to apply the kind of heat he wanted to get Burgos out, even though Burgos ate a number of hellish strikes while demonstrating one of the sport's best chins.
Emmett won twice with 29-28 and 30-27 in an entertaining fight in which a lot would have been up early and there would have been many.
After that, Blaydes entered the cage and his appearance, in contrast, looked boring and uninspiring. He was dominant during his UFC run and his only two losses were against Ngannou, but it didn't seem like he had done enough to impress the people who matter.
At some point during his fight, White got up from his cage seat and left. In particular, he was fixated on the cage during the Emmett-Burgos fight.
Blaydes will be a problem for everyone in the division due to his wrestling skills and size, but the fighters at the top are different athletes. He has to look good compared to Miocic, Cormier and Ngannou, not just to the others in the division.
Despite his unanimous decision win on Saturday, he came up short here.
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