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Monday Morning Hangover: What’s next for Curtis Blaydes after TKO loss at UFC Vegas 71?

UFC Vegas 71 went down this past weekend (Sat., April 22, 2023) at UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada, leaving several fighters feeling the post-fight blues. Among them was Brad Tavares, who suffered a first round technical knockout loss at the hands of Bruno Silva.

And Ricky Glenn, who was stopped by Christos Giagos via strikes in the opening round. But, which fighter is suffering from the worst post-fight hangover, now a few days removed from the show?

Curtis Blaydes.

Coming into the event, Blaydes was in prime position to solidify himself as the next contender for a Heavyweight title shot, which is currently in the hands of former Light Heavyweight kingpin, Jon Jones. Blaydes was, after all, riding a three-fight win streak and ranked No. 4 in the 265-pound division.

Unfortunately for “Razor,” he ran into an even hungrier Heavyweight in Sergei Pavlovich. The power-punching Russian was (and is) running wild on the division, having won five straight via first round (technical) knockout, including impressive victories over Derrick Lewis and Tai Tuivasa in his previous two fights.

While Blaydes did have a little bit of success with his hands early in the fight, what really caught everyone off guard was the fact that he only shot for a takedown -- his bread-and-butter -- one time. Instead, he opted to bang it out on the feet against a violent big man who has made it a habit of ending fights early with the cement blocks he calls fists. And that proved to be his downfall because he wound up losing via first round stoppage (watch it).

For Blaydes, it’s the second time he’s come up short right when he was on the cusp of reaching a title bout. The first occasion came in Feb. 2021 after the aforementioned Lewis knocked him out to snap his five-fight win streak. Lewis went on to fight for the interim strap, and now Pavlovich will likely get the winner of Jon Jones vs. Stipe Miocic.

Blaydes will now attempt to climb back up the steep 265-pound mountain to get back into the mix. Ranked No. 4 at the moment, “Razor” will take a hit in the rankings, but he shouldn’t drop down too far.

As far as what could be next for the former collegiate wrestler, a showdown against Tai Tuivasa could be in order. “Bam Bam” is currently ranked No. 6 and has lost two straight, one of which came against Pavlovich. Both men need a win to avoid further downfall and it would be a fresh Top 10 match in the division.

For complete UFC Vegas 71 results and coverage click here.

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