The UFC will be making their first ever appearance in Beijing, China on 24th November and reports claim they will be bringing two top five heavyweights with them.
ESPN’s Ariel Helwani reports that sources have confirmed to him that number three ranked heavyweight Curtis Blaydes (10-1-0) will meet number four ranked Francis Ngannou (11-3-0) in the main event in Beijing.
This will be the second time the two heavyweight contenders have met with Ngannou handing Blaydes his one and only professional loss in their first meeting back in 2016 courtesy of a second round doctor’s stoppage.
A lot has changed for both fighters in the two years which have passed since that first meeting.
Blaydes has put together an five fight win streak, elevating himself to the number three spot in the rankings, capping off his impressive run with a stunning knock out victory over perennial contender Alistair Overeem at UFC 225. Were it not for the UFC’s apparent insistence on cashing in on Brock Lesnar’s return, Blaydes would almost certainly be facing newly crowned heavyweight king Daniel Cormier. Rather than waiting around for a fight which may never materialise, the 27-year-old Chicago native has actively been looking for a fight to help maintain his momentum, respectfully calling out former champ Stipe Miocic on twitter in an attempt to stay busy.
For Ngannou, things haven’t been quite so rosy. The 31-year-old will arrive in China looking to snap a two fight losing streak following his failed title challenge against Stipe Miocic at UFC 220 and a spectacularly lackluster performance against Derrick Lewis at UFC 226 last month. The one time darling of Dana White has fallen out of favour with White publically declaring that the former title challenger had an ego problem. He now has an opportunity to bounce back and push himself back into title contention with a win over the streaking Blaydes.