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UFC Nashville live blog: Curtis Blaydes vs. Justin Willis

UFN Fight Night 96 Weigh-in Photos
Curtis Blaydes (pictured) fights Justin Willis in the heavyweight co-main event of UFC Nashville on Saturday
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

This is the UFC Nashville live blog for the Curtis Blaydes vs. Justin Willis heavyweight bout at Saturday’s UFC event inside the Bridgestone Arena.

Blaydes, a former NJCAA National Wrestling Championship, is looking to right the ship after fans saw Francis Ngannou finish him early in the first round in November. Willis, a training partner of Daniel Cormier and Cain Velasquez, is looking to extend his win streak to five inside the Octagon after defeating Mark Hunt in December.

Check out the UFC Nashville live blog below.

Round 1: Blaydes immediately bounces to the outside as Willis slowly evades a pair of leg kicks. Blaydes presses forwarded and shoves Willis into the fence. Defending, Willis looks for underhooks but finds himself dumped the canvas. Blaydes traps Willis’ arm and continues to grind away as the clock ticks closer to the 90-second mark.

Willis threatens with a Kimura but Blaydes immediately escapes and plants a series of knees to his opponent’s leg. Refusing to give Willis any room to breath, Blaydes slams Willis back to the canvas as the round ticks to an end.

MMAFighting scores it 10-8 Blaydes

Round 2: Blaydes looks to pick picks up right where he left off as he stuns Willis with a jab before scooping him up and dumping him his back. Blaydes working for full mount as Willis cracks smile towards his corner from the bottom. Securing full mount, Blaydes plants a series of elbows from the top. Willis squirms back to one knee but Blaydes continues to eat away at his calf with knees. Willis once again threatens with a Kimura but Blaydes pulls his arm free and connects with another short punch to the jaw. Willis finally climbs to his feet but is immediately tossed back down.

MMAFighting scores it 10-9 Blaydes

Round 3: With only one round left, Willis opens up with a quick combo. Blaydes responds with a leg kick before evading a high kick. With three-minutes left, Blaydes shoots in for a takedown but is shoved away as the crowd begins to voice their disapproval. As the clocks hits the 90-second mark, Blaydes secures a takedown and immediately starts working for a mounted crucifix before transitioning to the back. Willis literally crawls on his hands and knees to the fence but can’t shake Blaydes off his back as the fight comes to an end.

MMAFighting scores it 10-9 Blaydes

Official result: Curtis Blaydes def. Justin Willis via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-26, 30-25)

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