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Chris Daukas thankful for main event coming off brutal loss

Chris Daukas thankful for main event coming off brutal loss

The UFC confirmed Chris Daukaus an infinite quantity of respect within the aftermath of his first-round knockout loss in December to Derrick Lewis.

Daukaus will return to the Octagon on Saturday (7 p.m. ET, ESPN) in Columbus for the primary time since that loss and will meet fourth-ranked Curtis Blaydes in the main event.

Not solely did the UFC present him with a higher-ranked opponent — Blaydes is one spot forward of Lewis — nevertheless it put him in the primary occasion.

It’s a not-so-subtle signal of the UFC’s perception in him.

“I truly thank the UFC for doing that and giving me this second opportunity at a main event, which, to be honest with you, I didn’t expect,” Daukaus instructed Yahoo Sports activities. “I didn’t expect to get another main event without at least getting another three or four wins under my belt. I was given the main event status against Derrick Lewis as a result of all the hard work I’d put in and finishing all of those fights.

“I was not expecting to come back and be in this situation, but it’s absolutely [a great sign of respect] and it means a lot to me.”

To maintain that confidence, Daukaus must carry out towards a man who’s as powerful as they arrive. Blaydes is 15-3 total and has solely been crushed by two males: Twice by heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou and as soon as by Lewis.

Blaydes has an extended checklist of victims, and has been in management in practically each combat he’s fought.

However Daukaus loves the matchup from his standpoint. Lewis, he stated, was far faster and slicker than he’d believed by watching him on video. However he feels he’s obtained the antidote for what Blaydes likes to do.

Chris Daukaus celebrates his win towards Shamil Abdurakhimov of their heavyweight combat throughout UFC 266 on Sept. 25, 2021 in Las Vegas. (Picture by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

Daukaus has a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu however he hasn’t typically proven it. He hasn’t had a submission in his profession and 11 of his 12 professional victories are by knockout.

His grappling capability might come into play towards Blaydes, nevertheless.

“I think the thing that really works in my favor is that I’ve only shown off my hands in my UFC fights,” Daukaus stated. “That’s not by design. I just really like punching people in the face. But as you hear, every fights starts on the feet and it’s just me starting out and connecting with people. I feel confident enough in my striking to go against the best guys in the world.

“But it’s a good thing to have in your back pocket. I’m not trying to bring a lot of attention to it, but it’s something that I can rely on if and when the time calls for it.”

Regardless of the one-sided loss to Lewis, Daukaus is satisfied he’s among the many elite of the elite and says there isn’t a heavyweight on the planet he doesn’t imagine he can defeat.

For no matter cause, he wasn’t himself and stated Lewis was extra athletic than he believed and fought very correctly.

“I didn’t think Derrick was going to be as quick or as slick as he was,” Daukaus stated. “Studying film, you realize that guys are more athletic and quicker than they appear or that people give them credit for. That’s what I wasn’t expecting from Derrick. I think I was going to be able to close the distance. I’ve learned from that.

“So now, I’m fully expecting Curtis to be able to touch me from the outside and me being able to have to work my way in.”

LAS VEGAS, NV - SEPTEMBER 25: Chris Daukaus screams after the referee called the fight against Shamil Abdyrakhimov in their Heavyweight fight during UFC 266  at T-Mobile Arena on September 25, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Alex Bierens de Haan/Getty Images)

Chris Daukaus screams after the referee referred to as the combat towards Shamil Abdyrakhimov throughout UFC 266 at T-Cell Area on Sept. 25, 2021 in Las Vegas. (Picture by Alex Bierens de Haan/Getty Pictures)

Blaydes tends to swell rapidly after being hit, Daukaus stated, and it’s one thing he plans to attempt to capitalize upon.

Don’t search for him to throw a sequence of house run photographs trying to get Blaydes out of there with one punch. As an alternative of going for homers, Daukaus will search for singles and doubles and contact up Blaydes, hoping to compromise him and allow him in some unspecified time in the future to go for the end.

Daukaus isn’t one to attempt for a choice and so he’ll use something at his disposal to attempt to get a end.

“I’m not a fool and I know that Curtis is no kind of a punching bag,” Daukaus stated. “Yeah, he was knocked out three times, but he was knocked out by two of the hardest-hitting guys in the history of the UFC and of this sport. You get hit flush by Francis Ngannou and Derrick Lewis, I don’t care who you are, it’s almost impossible to stand up to that. It’s part of the game.

“I think his chin holds up just fine. But he does tend to show a lot of damage early and so I’m going to go out there and look to touch him a lot and inflict some damage. I’ll try to touch him to the point where he’s compromised or where the referee decides it’s too much to go on. But whatever I have to do [to win], I will.”

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