Curtis Blaydes vs. Derrick Lewis UFC Fight Night Odds & Picks: How to Bet Two Explosive Heavyweights (Saturday, Feb. 20)
Dylan Buell/Getty Images. Pictured: UFC heavyweight Curtis Blaydes.
- Saturday's UFC Fight Night main event features two exciting heavyweights who have a chance to make a case for a future title shot.
- Curtis Blaydes enters this matchup as a massive favorite against Derrick Lewis, but Sean Zerillo explains why there is more value in betting how this fight will end.
Curtis Blaydes vs. Derrick Lewis Odds
Two UFC heavyweights with a reputation for ending fights with a bang will face off this weekend when No. 2-ranked contender Curtis Blaydes meets No. 4-ranked contender Derrick Lewis in Saturday’s UFC Fight Night main event. This matchup has clear title ramifications and the winner has a strong chance to challenge for the heavyweight belt in his next fight.
Blaydes enters this bout on a four-fight win streak dating back to March 2019 and has two wins by TKO over that span. Lewis has won three in a row and most recently finished Aleksei Oleinik in August. Based on the odds, this fight has a 78% chance to end inside the distance.
I’ll break down the matchup and betting odds below, including where I see value between these two flamethrowers, but you can find my full breakdown of Saturday’s card here.
Tale of the Tape
|Record||14-2 (1 NC)||24-7 (1 NC)|
|Avg. Fight Time||10:34||9:42|
|Weight (pounds)||265 lbs.||265 lbs.|
|Date of birth||2/18/91||2/7/85|
|Sig Strikes Per Min||3.55||2.64|
|SS Absorbed Per Min||1.73||2.09|
|Take Down Avg||6.98||0.54|
Blaydes is a nightmare matchup for the majority of the heavyweight division, combining durability and stamina with highly aggressive pressure wrestling (6.89 takedowns per 15 minutes, 55% accuracy). In his last fight, Blaydes scored a heavyweight record 14 takedowns (on 25 attempts) against Alexander Volkov, and controlled the Russian for 78% of the fight.
That’s bad news for Derrick Lewis, a brawler who offers little resistance to takedowns (52% defense, vs. 66% for Volkov) and who remains disinterested in improving his grappling.
Lewis is so strong that he can typically just stand up when his opponents are in control, but that’s unlikely to happen against Blaydes, who will repeatedly put Lewis back down or trip him on breaks, and slowly take away all of his energy.
Typically, I would think that the longer Blaydes has Lewis on his back early, the less of a true puncher’s chance you can give to Lewis later in the fight. That being said, while Blaydes is durable, all of those takedowns against Volkov actually gassed him out more than it did the Russian.
If I’m in the Blaydes camp, I’m hunting for a relatively early finish via submission or ground and pound, and not letting this fight get to the later stages where anything can happen.
It’s difficult to imagine Lewis winning on the scorecards, so losing minutes is largely irrelevant here. He just needs to find a way to land one decisive blow.
Blaydes vs. Lewis Betting Pick
I want to bet Curtis Blaydes in this spot — his skillset is a major problem at heavyweight — but even if Blaydes drops to listed odds of -400 (implied 80%) that’s only a two-percent edge compared to my projection, and I try not to go below 2.5-3% on a moneyline edge in order to account for possible projection error.
I would probably make an exception for Blaydes at -400 in this fight because the matchup looks so one-sided, but the line has generally floated past that number, and is creeping towards -500 at the majority of shops.
Given Blaydes preferred style, the Over 1.5 rounds is interesting, but not at such substantial vig (-200).
I actually show value on the fight to end inside the distance (projected 78%, or -354) up to odds of -300 (implied 75%) at a three-percent edge, and I think that covers the majority of outcomes in this fight.
The Pick: Fight ends Inside the Distance (-290)