[jwplayer ShBlnxBB-FLu19iir] MMA Junkie analyst Dan Tom breaks down the UFC's top bouts. Today, we look at the main event for UFC on ESPN+ 22. UFC on ESPN+ 22 takes place Saturday at Ginasio do Ibirapuera in Sao Paulo. The card streams on ESPN+. Jan (...)
MMA Junkie analyst Dan Tom breaks down the UFC’s top bouts. Today, we look at the main event for UFC on ESPN+ 22.
UFC on ESPN+ 22 takes place Saturday at Ginasio do Ibirapuera in Sao Paulo. The card streams on ESPN+.
Jan Blachowicz (24-8 MMA, 7-5 UFC)
Staple info:Height: 6’2″ Age: 36 Weight: 205 lbs. Reach: 78″ Last fight: Knockout win over Luke Rockhold (July 6, 2019) Camp: WCA Fight Team (Poland) Stance/striking style: Orthodox/muay Thai Risk management: Good
+ KSW light heavyweight title
+ Muay Thai accolades
+ Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt
+ 6 knockout victories
+ 9 submission wins
+ 6 first-round finishes
+ KO power
+ Excellent jab
+ Dangerous uppercuts and hooks
+ Will switch stances
^ Favors liver kicks from southpaw
+ Strong inside the clinch
^ Strikes well off the breaks
+ Improved wrestling ability
^ Defensively and offensively
+ Solid transitional grappler
^ Submission savvy from top or bottom
Ronaldo Souza (26-7 MMA, 9-4 UFC)
Staple info:Height: 6’1″ Age: 39 Weight: 205 lbs. Reach: 72″ Last fight: Decision loss to Jack Hermansson (April 27, 2019) Camp: Fusion X-cel Performance (Florida) Stance/striking style: Orthodox/kickboxing Risk management: Fair
+ Former Strikeforce middleweight champion
+ Brazilian jiu-jitsu and judo black belt
+ Multiple grappling accolades
+ 8 knockout victories
+ 14 submission wins
+ 18 first-round finishes
+ KO power
+ Consistent pace and pressure
+ Heavy right hand
^ Throws well off feints and shifts
+ Improved overall boxing ability
^ Variates well to the body
+ Solid wrestling skills
^ Favors takedowns along the fence
+ Dangerous in transition
^ Superb scrambles and back-takes
+ Slick submission setups
Point of interest: Entering the pressure cooker
The main event in Sao Paulo features an interesting light heavyweight matchup between two men who are familiar with pressure.
Stepping onto the UFC scene as a persistent, pressuring stalker who can come forward in combination from either stance, Jan Blachowicz has steadily developed into a deceptively effective counter striker when he wants to be. In the heat of combat, the Pole packs a mean uppercut-hook return that he keeps on a hair-trigger, something he was able to show against both Jared Cannonier and Jimi Manuwa.
Blachowicz also employs a stiff and serviceable jab that he quietly uses to string together his offense, which may help him stave off the aggression coming his way. When he’s feeling in stride, the 36-year-old has no issue shifting to southpaw to deliver crushing liver kicks.
However, given his current counterpart, I suspect that Blachowicz may shelf kick attempts that are south of a headshot.
Enter Ronaldo Souza.
A marauding, athletic phenom who has consistently improved his striking since his days on the Strikeforce scene, Souza can truly call himself a multi-dimensional threat.
Steadily stalking his prey with palpable pressure, Souza will use feints to bait opponents into exchanging with him. Once able to get a bite, he will typically unleash a wicked counter cross or change his level to shoot for a takedown. Souza also occasionally shifts to southpaw when he needs to, often accompanying this move with a check hook for safety (something that could come in handy considering the success Thiago Santos had in his fight with Blachowicz).
When Souza senses that he has someone hurt, the 16-year veteran has no problem letting his hands fly liberally, varying in between uppercuts and hooks along the way. And in Souza’s last few outings, he’s displayed upgraded boxing techniques and sensibilities, incorporating more inside slips and left hooks to the liver (both of which play very well off of his patented right hand).
Still, the pressure that Souza brings usually comes with a tangible price tag to go along with the gas that it requires, which means that this battle – which will see Souza carrying 20 more pounds than usual – should get even more intriguing the longer it goes.
Next point of interest: Jacare’s world1 2 …3