UFC Fight Night 93 Breakdown: Alexander Gustafsson vs Jan Blachowicz

UFC 192 Live Weigh-in results for ‘Cormier vs Gustafsson’ in HoustonPrior to each UFC fight card, Jay Primetown takes a look at some of the key contests at each event. In the latest installment, we look ahead to the co-main event at UFC Fight Night 93 as Jan Blachowicz takes on long-time light heavyweight contender Alexander Gustafsson in Hamburg, Germany.   Jan Blachowicz (Record: 19-5, +525 Underdog, Power Ranking: C-) The Polish-born and bred light heavyweight returns to the Octagon looking to build on his last outing where he outlasted Igor Pokrajac. Prior to this bout, he lost his last two fights in the UFC to Corey Anderson and Jimi Manuwa. The long-time KSW veteran was considered one of the top light heavyweight fighters not in the UFC prior to his move to the world’s largest MMA promotion. Blachowicz has really good size for the weight class with a long 78 inch reach. His best win came against the strong, yet undersized Ilir Latifi when he was able to land a terrific body kick from range and follow up with strikes for the win. He is pretty accurate with his strikes, landing at a 54 percent clip, but most of his work ends up being at close range where he’s unable to land with much power. The rest of his career in the UFC has been a bit of a disappointment. He’s struggled as nearly all of his opponents have been stronger than him. He’s too willing to stand with his back against the cage and fight in close range. To combine that, his movements are rather methodical in the cage with very slow footwork. When put on his back, Blachowicz offers very little and looks to hold his opponents until the referee forces a stand up.   Alexander Gustafsson (Record: 16-4, -750 Favorite, Power Ranking: C+) The best MMA fighter to ever come out of Sweden returns to the Octagon for the first time since losing a close decision to Daniel Cormier in October 2015. The 29-year old Swede has fought a who’s who of top light heavyweights over the last three years. While he was unable to beat either of the top three light heavyweights, he showed he could go toe to toe with both Daniel Cormier and Jon Jones over 25 minutes. Gustafsson’s fight game starts with his length. At 6’5” with a 79 inch reach, he’s second only to Jones in the division when it comes to length. Gustafsson has some of the best footwork in the division. He utilizes that footwork in combination with his excellent boxing. He has excellent speed with his hands and is arguably the best boxer in the division with his ability to develop combinations. He doesn’t have the power that most of the top light heavyweights have, but he makes up for it with his high work rate, landing 4.22 significant strikes per minute. His ground game is certainly not his strength, but he has excellent takedown defense at 85%. In a combined 50 minutes in the cage with Cormier and Jones, he was only taken down twice.   Matchup Saturday’s co-main event is the widest spread on the card with Alexander Gustafsson a -750 betting favorite. The Swede has the advantage in nearly every aspect of this fight. He’s longer, more athletic, and the more technically gifted fighter. Perhaps the biggest advantage in this fight comes about with movement. Blachowicz is one of the slowest-moving fighters in the division, while Gustafsson has tremendous footwork. This should allow Gustafsson to move in and out with ease during this fight.  Outside of a stunning body kick like Blachowicz landed on Latifi, there’s no other way for him to win this fight. Gustafsson will pepper him with strikes on the feet and there’s a very low likelihood there is any ground attack in this fight unless Gustafsson drops Blachowicz and follows up with strikes. The most likely result is Gustafsson by knockout, but it’s not a certainty. Blachowicz has been in there with heavy hitters and survived three rounds. He may be able to last until a decision. The best play (albeit juiced) will be the points prop. I expect Gustafsson to win all three rounds and do so rather easily. A stoppage or a wide decision will see that prop cashed. Once that is released closer to fight day, it’s a great parlay leg for this card.

Written by Jay Primetown

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