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UFC 221 results: Curtis Blaydes grinds out win over Mark Hunt

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UFC 221: Hunt v Blaydes Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

For a minute, there, it appeared Mark Hunt was going to give his Down Under fans reason to celebrate.

The heavy-handed kickboxer and crowd-pleasing heavyweight rocked Curtis Blaydes twice during the opening round of their UFC 221 co-main event on Saturday night.

But just when it looked like Hunt had the answers, Blaydes changed the questions. The 26-year-old Blaydes took down his soon-to-be-44-year-old foe and and kept him there, a situation which repeated itself over the bulk of the bout.

On the strength of nine takedowns, the Elevation fighter scored the biggest victory of his career. The judges’ scores were a pair of 30-26s and 29-27 for a unanimous decision.

Hunt had his best moments in the opening round, but after Blaydes took him to the mat, one of three first-round takedowns, Hunt didn’t really have any response. The Chicago native punctuated the second round with a big series of punches and elbows from the top in the closing seconds. In the final round, Blaydes, had an early takedown and kept it on the mat most of the round.

Blayes is now 9-1 (1 NC), with his only career loss to Francis Ngannou. Hunt is now 13-12-1 (1 NC) and has lost two of his past three.

“Hey he came out like I know he would, swinging for the fences, trying to knock me out,” Blaydes said. “I recovered after about three seconds, when I got the takedown.”