Following a devastating loss to Derrick Lewis in his last outing, Blaydes was determined not to relive that moment and that’s what led to a wrestling heavy performance as he blanted Jairzinho Rozenstruik on the ground numerous times over three rounds to win a unanimous decision.
The judges all scored the fight 30-27 with Blaydes returning to the win column on Saturday night.
While it wasn’t the most exciting fight of the night, Blaydes survived some heavy shots landed from Rozenstruik including a jumping knee that left his right eye ballooning up as the third round got underway.
“Third round was pretty hard to see,” Blaydes said afterwards. “Had to play it safe. I didn’t want to get hit by the punch I couldn’t see.”
A few exchanges on the feet early led to Blaydes changing levels and swooping inside to bring Rozenstruk crashing down to the canvas. Once he was on top. Blaydes was throwing knees to the body and following behind with some huge looping punches.
Rozenstruik avoided taking any serious damage as he worked his way back to the feet but he was also much more wary to throw his combinations in order to avoid another takedown. Meanwhile, Blaydes was starting to toss out a solid lead jab that was keeping Rozenstruik honest on the feet.
As the second round got underway, Rozenstruik started to turn the tables with his punching power as he tagged Blaydes a few times, which backed him off from another takedown attempt. With under two minutes remaining in the round, Rozenstruik exploded forward with a jumping knee strike but Blaydes survived and then transitioned into a takedown that brought the fight back into his world on the ground.
Between rounds, Blaydes had to get attention paid to his right eye that had a cut underneath it as well as swelling from the knee that landed from Rozenstruik.
Blaydes reacted effectively by avoiding damage on the feet and then powering ahead for another takedown that put Rozenstruik flat on his back again. That’s where the fight stayed until the final horn as Blaydes was doing more than enough to control the action and secure the victory.
Following his latest win, Blaydes turned his attention back to the top of the heavyweight division as he seeks to climb back into title contention.
“Give me the winner or loser of [Ciryl] Gane-[Francis] Ngannou, give me Stipe [Miocic] or give me Jon [Jones],” Blaydes said. “One of those three options.”