In the only heavyweight matchup of the card, Blaydes and Willis meet with a top 5 spot in the divisional rankings at stake. Blaydes was taken out inside one round against N´Gannou last time while Willis outpointed Mark Hunt in a low pace fight.
Blaydes has only lost to N´Gannou during his career. He has eight knockouts in ten victories. He is one of the most well rounded men in the division, with a wrestling background, an always improving striking game and good athletic ability.
Willis has some boxing skills for a man his size, he cuts weight to make 265, and is though. Other than that, he is a fairly unimpressive fighter. He has shown some cardio issues in the past, and nothing in his resume makes me think he is going to be able to stop Blaydes from taking him down consistently.
I think Blaydes is going to utilise his wrestling here to consistently take down and grind on Willis. I do not think Willis is going to be able to stand up if taken down here, and even if he can do it he is gonna end up exhausting himself. Best chance for Willis is to hurt Blaydes bad on the feet early and never let go. In the worst case I see Blaydes being able to grind Willis along the fence and win a decision mixing his jab with control time in the clinch. I think he is goin to eventually stop Willis on the ground, probably via ground and pound, after exhausting him along the way. The pick here is Curtis Blaydes to win in round 3.