Allen narrowly defeats Curtis via split decision

UFC middleweight Brendan Allen got his revenge over Chris Curtis on Saturday, but it took literally everything he had over the course of a 25-minute fight.

Allen (24-5) narrowly defeated Curtis (31-11) via split decision in a rematch of a fight that took place in 2021. Allen has been a nightmare for the middleweight division in recent years, but Curtis has been a nightmare of sorts for him. Curtis defeated Allen via knockout in 2021 in a fight he took on short notice. Saturday’s matchup was once again a short-notice bout for Curtis, as he took the place of Marvin Vettori, Allen’s original opponent who stepped out due to injury.

At times during the fight, which headlined UFC Fight Night in the Apex in Las Vegas, it appeared history would repeat itself. Curtis marched forward with boxing combinations and hurt Allen on the feet several times. Allen persevered, however, and edged Curtis via judges’ scores of 49-46, 48-47 and 47-48. It marked Allen’s seventh consecutive win.

“I thought I won the fight, I didn’t think it was a split decision,” Allen said. “No matter, I’ve got a lot of love and respect for Chris. He’s a great human, great fighter. He stepped up on short notice when nobody else would. That’s my guy.”

After crediting Curtis for a hard-fought fight, Allen called for a title shot against either current champion Dricus Du Plessis or former champion Sean Strickland.

“Where’s that title shot?” Allen said. “Chris is a tough mofo. Nobody’s got the streak I’ve got. To do that, in a short-notice fight against a guy who already beat me? Dricus, you know I’m going to whup that ass.”

The 25-minute fight played out primarily on the feet, but several critical takedowns by Allen were likely the difference. Curtis, 36, pressured Allen with body shots and straight lefts throughout and nearly timed a perfect flying knee in the fifth round as Allen shot for a takedown. Allen, who went into Saturday’s bout as the UFC’s No. 6-ranked middleweight, landed good standing elbows and punches of his own, but he also converted six of 13 takedowns.

Allen’s ability to take Curtis’s back when he did score a takedown was impressive, as he secured multiple body triangles during the fight. He threatened to submit Curtis with several rear-naked chokes in the third round, but Curtis did a good job defending and eventually even escaped the position entirely and went back to throwing strikes.

According to UFC Stats, Curtis landed 126 total strikes to 116 for Allen. Curtis also appeared to land the heavier shots, but that offense was offset by Allen’s success on the ground. In the final seconds of the fight, Curtis appeared to suffer a leg injury, as he mentioned he might have heard his hamstring pop.

Allen, of Louisiana, is now 12-2 overall in the UFC. In addition to his 2021 loss to Curtis, he suffered a knockout loss to Strickland in 2020. Strickland and Curtis are teammates at Xtreme Couture in Las Vegas. Strickland does not currently have a fight booked, although he has been campaigning for an immediate rematch against Du Plessis, whom he lost to in January. Strickland recently told ESPN in an interview he’ll accept only a big fight that excites him if it’s not a title fight.

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