UFC RALEIGH REPORT: Curtis Blaydes stops Junior dos Santos in Round 2

Originally published at https://www.postwrestling.com/2020/01/26/ufc-raleigh-report-curtis-blaydes-stops-junior-dos-santos-in-round-2/

UFC Raleigh Report: Curtis Blaydes stops Junior dos Santos in Round 2

Report by: Eric Marcotte

The UFC held their first Fight Night card of the year on Saturday evening, making their debut at the PNC Arena in Raleigh, North Carolina. The card was headlined by a heavyweight fight between contenders Curtis Blaydes and Junior dos Santos. Blaydes was coming into this fight following a pair of dominant victories over Justin Willis and Shamil Abdurakhimov. Conversely, Junior dos Santos had his three-fight win streak brought to an abrupt end by Francis Ngannou last June, and this marked his first appearance since that loss. With the heavyweight division somewhat frozen by the reported retinal injuries suffered to champion Stipe Miocic in his last fight, both Blaydes and dos Santos could make a strong case for their name to be thrown back into title contention with an impressive performance. In the co-main event, Rafael dos Anjos welcomed Michael Chiesa to the elite level of welterweight competition. Chiesa had won both of his first two fights at 170lbs, but the fifth-ranked dos Anjos would mark a big step up in competition.

Commentary for the event was provided by Brendan Fitzgerald alongside Daniel Cormier and Michael Bisping. Performance bonuses were awarded to Alex Perez and Herbert Burns. Fight of the Night bonuses went out to Brett Johns and Tony Gravely. The reported attendance for the event was 14,533, with a gate of $1,303,320.


*Herbert Burns def. Nate Landwehr by KO at 2:43 of Round 1

*Brett Johns def. Tony Gravely by rear-naked choke at 2:53 of Round 3

*Sara McMann def. Lina Lansberg by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-26, 30-25)

*Montel Jackson def. Filipe Colares by unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26, 30-25)

*Justine Kish def. Lucie Pudilova by unanimous decision (30-27 all)

*Arnold Allen def. Nik Lentz by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)

*Bevon Lewis def. Townsend by unanimous decision (30-27 all)

*Jamahal Hill def. Darko Stosic by unanimous decision (29-27 all)

*Angela Hill def. Hannah Cifers by TKO at 4:26 of Round 2

*Alex Perez def. Jordan Espinosa by arm triangle at 2:33 of Round 1

*Michael Chiesa def. Rafael dos Anjos by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)

*Curtis Blaydes def. Junior dos Santos by TKO at 1:06 of Round 2


Burns opened up aggressively with a series of kicks to the body, easily took Landwehr down, and immediately searched for a D’Arce choke. Landwehr escaped the submission and began throwing wild strikes at Burns against the cage, but he ran straight into a perfectly timed knee to the chin from Burns, which knocked him out.

WINNER: Herbert Burns by KO 2:43 of Round 1

This could not of went much better for Herbert Burns. He was aggressive out the gate, briefly showed off his grappling ability, and then knocked Landwehr out. This was his first fight in the UFC and stated he would like to fight on the May 9th UFC 250 card in Brazil. He dedicated the fight to his friend’s three-year-old daughter who passed away, as well as his roommate, who passed earlier this week.


Johns searched for a modified standing guillotine and Gravely seized the opportunity to take the fight to the ground. Johns worked his way back up, but promptly re-engaged in the grappling department, taking Gravely’s back. Johns spent the majority of the round working in this position. Gravely escaped a tight rear-naked choke attempt at the end of the round. The first round was a clear 10-9 for Brett Johns.

Gravely started the second round strong with some clean uppercuts in the clinch. Gravely picked Johns up on his shoulder and slammed him down to the ground. The fighters exchanged multiple takedowns throughout the next four minutes, but neither fighter could keep his opponent down for long. The last takedown of the round went to Johns, but I thought the uppercuts and slam towards the start of the round were enough to score the round for Gravely.

They continued to exchange takedowns in the third, and Johns took Gravely’s back one more time. Johns really started unloading with strikes, forcing Gravely to give up his neck, and he quickly locked in a rear-naked choke to finish the fight.

WINNER: Brett Johns by rear-naked choke at 2:53 of Round 3

This was a really entertaining, grappling heavy fight between these two bantamweights. Johns was clearly emotional after the fight, as this was his first win since 2017. He is now 4-2 in the UFC.


Sara McMann quickly grabbed a single leg and brought Lansberg to the ground. McMann started drilling Lansberg with body shots as she searched for a kimura. She transitioned to a D’Arce choke attempt that Lansberg defended. McMann returned to her aggressive pursuit of the kimura as time expired. Dominant round from McMann.

McMann kept with the game plan, taking Lansberg down once again in the second round. McMann did not inflict as much damage this round, nor was she as aggressive with her submission attempts, but this was another one-sided round for McMann. Lansberg had no answer to McMann’s wrestling ability.

To start the third round, Lansberg initiated a clinch exchange with McMann and was immediately taken down. McMann took Lansberg’s back and spent the remainder of the round in this position. I scored this fight 30-27 for Sara McMann.

WINNER: Sara McMann by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-26, 30-25)

This was a very one-sided fight. McMann took Lansberg down at the start of each round, and Lansberg never got up. This was McMann’s first win since February of 2017, and her first fight back since the birth of her son. She is now 6-5 in the UFC.


Montel Jackson walked out to Whitney Houston’s I Will Always Love You. He was a -650 favorite heading into this fight.

Jackson was taking Colares down at will in the first, although to Colares’s credit he continuously worked his way back to the feet quickly. Jackson started unloading with hooks and uppercuts to Colares against the cage. Colares was eating huge shots here, and referee Dan Miragliotta was thinking about stepping in, but Colares survived and made it to the second round. I thought this round was 10-8 territory in favor of Jackson.

Jackson quickly dropped Colares with a left cross and followed him down to the ground. Colares attempted a guillotine choke, that momentarily protected him from Jackson’s offense. Jackson continued to bring Colares to the ground, and with about a minute left Jackson went back to his onslaught of strikes against the cage. One more, he did a ton of damage and it looked like the fight was seconds away from being stopped, but he took Colares down to finish the round. Another arguable 10-8 round for Montel Jackson.

Colares seemed to have much more energy in him, but still had no answer to Jackson’s offense in the third round. With about two and a half minutes left Colares actually managed to take Jackson down, but Jackson spun right back up. Jackson had eleven takedowns in this fight, which tied the bantamweight record, and Colares attempted one last guillotine to end the fight. I scored this 30-25 Jackson.

WINNER: Montel Jackson by unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26, 30-25)

Just complete domination from Montel Jackson. Colares showed a ton of heart here but had no answer for Jackson’s takedowns or striking. Jackson has looked like a solid prospect thus far into his UFC run, and his striking has improved quickly. Jackson is now 3-1 in the UFC.


Both fighters were swinging pretty wildly in the first round. Cormier and Bisping discussed the stiffness in their respective movements, which was very apparent. Neither woman did a ton of damage and seemed to be having difficulty finding their range. Nonetheless, Kish landed more, which was likely enough to win her the round.

More of the same in the second round. This was a very strange fight to watch. When Pudilova was moving forward or standing her ground she was genuinely successful, but she kept moving back as Kish applied pressure. The commentators acknowledged the lack of footwork and feints displayed this far into the fight. Kish likely won the round on account of her continued pressure.

Strong 1-2 combination from Pudilova to start the third. Kish had found repeated success with her kicks to the legs of Pudilova. The crowd was booing this fight heavily. Kish connected with a spinning back fist. Kish took Pudilova down towards the end of the fight, and it likely won her the round.

WINNER: Justine Kish by unanimous decision (30-27 all)

I reiterate: this was a strange fight to watch. The crowd hated it, but I didn’t think it deserved the boos. These women came to fight, it just wasn’t at a terribly high level. The story of the fight was Kish’s pressure, which Pudilova really struggled against. Kish is now 3-2 in the UFC.

NIK LENTZ (30-10-2, 1 NC, 146) VS ARNOLD ALLEN (15-1, 145.5) – FEATHERWEIGHT

Allen was originally scheduled to fight Josh Emmett on this card, and Lantz was originally scheduled to face Nad Narimani. As both of their opponents dropped out, they were matched against each other instead.

Both men found success with their striking in the first round. Lentz briefly took Allen to the ground, but the majority of the first five minutes were spent striking. Lentz was throwing in combinations, digging into the body with kicks while continuously moving forward. Allen’s best weapon was his left hand, which landed the heaviest strikes of the round, including a big uppercut as time wound down.

Allen cracked Lentz with another big left hand, that wobbled Lentz. Nonetheless, Lentz kept moving forward, mixing up his strikes and applied pressure. Allen’s jab was really starting to piece Lentz up, making a real mess out of his face. Lentz connected with a right hand and attempted a takedown towards the end of the round. I had it 20-18 Allen going into the final round.

The third round mirrored the first two. Lentz was doing good work, but Arnold Allen’s striking was a step ahead and landed a few more of those big left hands that kept Lentz honest and let him control the distance. I thought Allen won all three rounds, but this was a close fight.

WINNER: Arnold Allen by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)

I thought both men looked good here. Despite the loss, Lentz looked better at 145lbs then he has in a while at 155lbs. With this win, Allen continues his ascent in the UFC featherweight division with his 7th straight win. He should definitely be matched against a ranked opponent in his next fight, and I think the originally scheduled Josh Emmet still makes a ton of sense.


Lewis was aggressive out of the gate. He landed some hard shots that Townsend didn’t acknowledge. Townsend connected with a huge body shot in the clinch. The momentum shifted a couple of times throughout the round, but Lewis found continued success with his jabs and counter rights. I thought Lewis won this round convincingly.

Lewis’s output continued to be higher than Townsends, and he appeared to have a significant advantage in speed. Lewis would often counter heavy Townsend strikes with a two-hit combination. Townsend occasionally let loose with combinations of heavy strikes, but Lewis still controlled the vast majority of the round. I had it 20-18 Lewis going into the final round.

Throughout the fight, Lewis had been able to control Townsend against the cage, and that was still the case in the third round. He would land a combination of strikes, before pressing Townsend against the cage for significant periods of time. 30-27 Lewis.

WINNER: Bevon Lewis by unanimous decision (30-27 all)

Lewis could barely stand by the time the horn sounded due to a leg injury sustained early in the fight, but this was still a dominant win. This was Lewis’s first UFC win, and he is now 1-2 in the UFC.


Hill worked the body effectively with kicks and knees early. Stosic exploded with combinations of looping hooks that could hear echoing throughout the arena. Stosic caught a knee to the body from Hill and briefly took him down. As Hill got up, he ate a big left hook from Stosic. Stosic appeared to be really bothered by his nose, which may have been broken earlier in the fight. He landed another one of those looping lefts towards the end of the round. Tough round to score, but I gave Stosic the edge.

Hill threw a hard shot to the body, and Stosic responded with another huge left. Hill started turning on the pressure and backed Stosic up with repeated knees to the body. He began throwing combinations high that was continuously finding their home. This as a great round for Hill, who absolutely controlled this round. Stosic ended the round with a takedown. I had it 19-19 going into the third round.

The momentum from the second round carried into the third as Hill continued to comfortably control the action on the feet. Stosic briefly took Hill down a pair of times and landed a couple hard ground and pound strikes before Hill recovered to his feet. Hill found success with his low kicks in this round. Stosic completed a third and fourth takedown but did not accomplish much with them. I scored the fight 29-28 Hill.

WINNER: Jamahal Hill by unanimous decision (29-27 all)

Hill looked great for the majority of this fight. His takedown defense will surely need improvement as he works his way up in this division, but to his credit, he quickly returned to his feet every time he was taken down. This was his UFC debut, and he improves to 7-0 professionally.


The first round was fought at a high pace, with high output from both fighters. Neither really controlled the action at any point, with both women consistently on the offense, but not doing significant damage. They reached a brief stalemate in the clinch. Hill ended the round with a notable spinning back fist. I narrowly gave the round to Hill.

Hill swept Cifers to the ground and began to work from side control. Hill moved into top control and began to throw down some hard elbows. She was doing a ton of damage with her ground and pound strikes. Cifers could not escape the position and referee Kevin MacDonald stopped the fight.

WINNER: Angela Hill by TKO at 4:26 of Round 2

Once Hill brought the fight to the ground in the second round, she was clearly a step ahead. Hill always fights an absurd amount of times each year, and this was her fifth fight in the last twelve months. She is now 5-7 in the UFC

JORDAN ESPINOSA (14-6, 1 NC, 126) VS ALEX PEREZ (22-5, 125.5) – FLYWEIGHT

Perez took Espinosa down and started looking for an arm triangle. He didn’t even have to work his way to the opposite side, as he applied so much pressure that Espinosa went out.

WINNER: Alex Perez by arm triangle at 2:33 of Round 2

A quick finish here from Alex Perez, who continues to impress in his UFC run. The submission was announced as an arm triangle, but I actually believe that it would technically be more of a Von Flue choke. He called for a fight against Askar Askarov. Perez is now 5-1 in the UFC.


RDA landed a solid shot to the body, and another hard hook as Chiesa worked his way inside, but Chiesa moved through it, bringing dos Anjos down to the ground, and promptly taking his back. Chiesa had dos Anjos trapped with a body triangle and attempted a choke, but RDA worked his way out of it. Hard kick to the body of Chiesa from dos Anjos and Chiesa briefly brought RDA back to the ground with another well-timed takedown. I scored the first round 10-9 Chiesa.

Rafael Dos Anjos was doing significant damage with his leg kicks. They both searched for takedowns, having mild success throughout the round. Chiesa took RDA down momentarily and controlled the grappling in the final minute. Nonetheless, I thought the leg kicks from dos Anjos won him the second round.

Chiesa started the third round with a left cross and pressed RDA against the cage, before taking him down. Chiesa began to search for an armlock on dos Anjos, which RDA escaped from. RDA was looking for a leg lock on Chiesa, but they reached somewhat of a stalemate. Chiesa moved into dos Anjos’s guard and kept busy with short strikes for the remainder of the round. I scored this fight 29-28 Chiesa.

WINNER: Michael Chiesa by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)

This was a great performance by Chiesa, against perhaps the best fighter he has ever faced. He looked significantly bigger than dos Anjos in this fight, and it is clear that the cut to 155lbs took a lot of out him. He may still need to work on his striking before facing the current batch of contenders at welterweight. He called out Colby Covington for a fight in July.

As for Rafael dos Anjos, the story of his run at welterweight continues to be his inability to neutralize the wrestling of the division’s contenders. He is too skilled on the ground to be finished, and he is always competitive, but he also doesn’t have the size to stop the takedowns and pressure of welterweight’s elite. I think dos Anjos could still contend at 155lbs (if he can make the weight), but it seems unlikely that he will see gold at welterweight.


Fitzgerald noted that this marked Junior dos Santos’s 7th straight main event.

Blaydes aggressively pursued the takedown early, but dos Santos defended Blaydes’ first three attempts. Blaydes pushed dos Santos against the cage and caught him down low with a punch. The action was paused by referee Dan Miragliotta. JDS continued to do a good job of evading Blaydes’s offense. Blaydes began to find his range with his strikes, but dos Santos continued to defend the takedown attempts. I scored the first round 10-9 Blaydes.

A Blaydes countered an uppercut with a hard-right hand that stunned JDS as he moved back and covered up, and Blaydes just kept on the attack, landing vicious right hands to dos Santos against the cage until the fight was stopped. JDS appeared to have injured his shoulder throwing that last uppercut.

WINNER: Curtis Blaydes by TKO at 1:06 of Round 2

Another fantastic win for Curtis Blaydes, who beat Junior dos Santos at his own game here. Most thought that Blaydes’ path to victory would come through his excellent wrestling ability, but this fight did not go to the ground once. Blaydes was very humble in his post-fight interview. He called for a title shot for his next fight. While under normal circumstances he would be deserving of one, it seems like the UFC is going in the direction of Miocic/Cormier 3 next, and if Francis Ngannou beats Jairzinho Rozenstruik, he will almost certainly be ahead of Blaydes for a shot at gold as well. Nonetheless, Blaydes looked great here, and he remains a legitimate contender.

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