In the blast radius of UFC Fight Night: Blaydes vs Lewis, it is clear that the Heavyweight division is transitioning into a new era.
We saw 2 fights in which there seemed to be a passing of the guard, with 27 year old Tom Aspinall dismantling the 42 year-old former champ and future hall of famer Andrei Arlovski.
Also, 31 year-old Chris Daukaus dispatched submission specialist Aleksei Oleinik to improve his record in the octagon to 3-0, all of them being first round stoppages. In a division who’s rankings are usually occupied by aging veterans of the sport, it’s a breath of fresh air to see highly skilled prospects willing to lead the next era of the 265 pounders.
In the toughest test yet of his young career, Aspinall passed with flying colours. He had Arlovski hurt in the first, but showed great composure to not empty out the gas tank on the tough former champ. He eventually took the fight to the ground in the second with a ferocious double-leg. From there he impressively got the back and scored a lightning quick submission victory.
Usually we see prospects become starstruck when they face the warriors they once watched on television as kids, but Aspinall had no problem getting the job done and secured the biggest win of his career. It would not be a surprise if we saw him coming up against a fighter with a number next to his name next.
The Liverpool lad is definitely someone that UFC heavyweights should be worrying about.
The same can be said for Daukaus. He just beat Oleinik, who is ranked 10th in the world right now. In just 3 UFC fights, he has solidified himself within the top 15. His power is truly scary, with none of his fights in the octagon lasting longer than the first 5 minutes. The Philadelphia Heavyweight has bags of potential, and it will be interesting to see how he will deal with the top of the heavyweight division. A potential matchup with names such as Junior Dos Santos or even as high as Alastair Overeem are open for him. Beating another name within the top 10 would really prove to the fans how good he is.
2021 could be a very fruitful year for Chris Daukaus.
The future of the heavyweight division now looks very very interesting, which it has not in previous years. Hopefully fighters such as these two can hit the refresh button on the division, just as Jairinho Rozenstruik, Cyril Gane and Francis Ngannou have done in recent years.
Keep an eye out on the Heavyweight division this year.