After a big pay-per-view last weekend in the form of UFC 247, this weekend sees a smaller show for the world’s biggest promotion, as UFC Fight Night 167: Anderson vs. Blachowicz II goes down from Rio Rancho, New Mexico.
It’s the first time the UFC has been to the state since their visit to Albuquerque back in 2014, and while the card, as you can imagine, isn’t overly loaded, there are still a handful of fights on tap that make this a show worth watching.
Here are the predicted outcomes for UFC Fight Night 167: Anderson vs. Blachowicz II.
#1 Corey Anderson vs. Jan Blachowicz
A Light-Heavyweight title fight might be up for grabs here – unless the UFC decides to either rematch champ Jon Jones with Dominick Reyes or go in another direction altogether with ‘Bones’ – as both of these men are on strong winning streaks; Blachowicz has won 6 of his last 7, while Anderson hasn’t been beaten since 2017 and has won his last 4 fights.
Interestingly – as the subtitle for the event makes clear – this is also a rematch, as the two 205 lbers first faced off back at UFC 191 in September 2015. That fight was a plodding, dull affair that saw Anderson essentially out wrestle Blachowicz for a decision, but it’s safe to say that both men have improved a lot since then.
‘The Prince of Cieszyn’ hasn’t exactly closed the holes in his wrestling game; in truth he hasn’t fought a truly excellent wrestler since his 2017 loss to Patrick Cummins, but he’s definitely come on leaps and bounds with his grappling, as he’s won two fights by submission in recent years and is now a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
Anderson meanwhile is far more than just a wrestler with good punching power these days; sure, he still carries that power, as Johnny Walker found out in November, but he’s also a much more nuanced boxer, capable of fighting behind a stiff jab and using his punches to set up his takedowns and vice versa.
Is he as good a striker as Blachowicz? Most likely not; the Pole has been renowned for his kickboxing for years and has much more than a solid boxing game, most notably a savage attack to the body that he used to put away Ilir Latifi back in his UFC debut in 2014.
However, the fact is that for all of his grappling improvements, Blachowicz may not have fully developed his wrestling enough to deter a takedown artist as powerful as ‘Overtime’. Throw in the fact that Anderson was able to use his boxing to set up his takedowns perfectly against a fighter as good as Glover Teixeira in 2018 – and he’s developed further since – and it’s hard to imagine the Pole remaining on his feet throughout this contest.
For me, unless Blachowicz can land a sledgehammer shot to knock Anderson out – which isn’t impossible; ‘Overtime’ has been KO’d 3 times in the past and his chin isn’t bulletproof by any means – then I’m not sure if he can control enough of this fight to get a win. Is he tough enough to last the distance? For sure – he’s only ever been KO’d by the ultra-powerful Thiago Santos – but I’m confident in predicting that Anderson will outwork him for a decision.