MMAOB staff writer Adam Martin takes a deeper look at the main event of UFC on ESPN+ 25, a five-round light heavyweight bout between Corey Anderson and Jan Blachowicz. The event takes place on Saturday, February 15 at Santa Ana Star Center in Rio Rancho, New Mexico.
Corey Anderson (-210)
Anderson (13-4) is the former Ultimate Fighter winner. The 30-year-old American is 10-4 in the UFC with notable wins over Johnny Walker, Glover Teixeira, and Ilir Latifi. Anderson is mostly a wrestler who uses a relentless takedown game to get his hand raised. He has some of the best cardio at 205lbs and is able to push a heavy pace for the entire fight. His striking skills have also improved in recent years and he showed those off in the Walker fight. Having said that, historically Anderson’s standup has been his weak point, and he’s been knocked out three times in the UFC. He seems to have improved his striking defense and he will need to avoid getting caught by Blachowicz in 25 minutes in order to get his hand raised here.
Jan Blachowicz (+175)
Blachowicz (25-8) is one of the top contenders in the UFC light heavyweight division. The 36-year-old Pole has an 8-5 record in the UFC with notable wins including Ronaldo Souza, Luke Rockhold, and Jared Cannonier. Blachowicz is known as mainly a striker and he has excellent striking technique on the feet with power in his hands and feet. But he is also an underrated grappler and has racked up a number of submissions throughout his career as well. The biggest problem with Blachowicz is his takedown defense as many of his losses have come when he gets taken down and held to the mat. He has improved that part of his game in respect years, and he’ll need his takedown defense to be on point when he fights Anderson this weekend.
Fight Breakdown: I think this is going to be a very competitive fight. The last time these two fought back in 2015, it was mostly a blowout for Anderson as he used his wrestling to dominate Blachowiz on the ground. Over the last few years, Blachowicz has really improved his takedown defense and his grappling overall so I don’t think those takedowns will come as easy this time around. Having said that, I still expect Anderson to pursue a grappling-heavy approach in this fight because Blachowicz is so dangerous on the feet. I know Anderson had a nice knockout over Walker in his last fight, but Blachowicz is far more technical and powerful on the feet than Anderson. I don’t think Anderson is going to want to stand and strike on the feet with Blachowicz for that reason. Once again I believe Anderson is going to shoot for takedowns and try to wrestle Blachowicz for the win. Anderson has great cardio and even though he hasn’t been 25 minutes before I think he can go a hard five rounds here. This rematch will be closer than their first fight, but I side with Anderson winning by unanimous decision once again.
Prediction: Corey Anderson wins via unanimous decision