UFC Fight Night 167 takes place in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, and is headlined by Corey Anderson and Jan Blachowicz, who face off for the second time. The winner of this fight is most likely next in line for the light heavyweight title fight if Reyes doesn’t get the immediate rematch with Jon Jones. The card also includes the veteran Diego Sanchez as well as the popular Devin Clark and Ray Borg. While it is always hard to follow a Pay Per View card, this one sure stacks up for the hardcore MMA fan.
These two fighters meet here for the second time, with Anderson winning the first encounter by unanimous decision back in 2015. In their last meeting, Anderson was clearly the stronger fighter scoring 4 takedowns to Blachowicz’s 1 and landing 156 strikers to Blachowicz’s 33. Blachowicz has won four of his last five including wins over Rockhold and Souza but Anderson is a different beast and I can’t see it going any differently than last time. For mine Anderson has been the dark horse of the Light Heavyweight division for some time now and has gone 7-3 since he last met Blackowicz. He is a strong wrestler who’s striking has greatly improved in the last couple of years. This can be seen from his demolition of Johnny Walker who was touted for the next shot at Jon Jones, before being steamrolled by Anderson in the first round. Anderson is a fighter who keeps on evolving and will be too much for Blachowicz to handle.
Ray Borg bounced back from his loss to Casey Kenney in his Octagon return, with a decision victory over Gabriel Silva last July. Both fighters are elite grapplers with submission threat. With the likelihood that the majority of this fight takes place on the mat, I favour Borg as he is the stronger of the two grapplers who should be able to rack up top control time over his counterpart. While this is likely a close and entertaining fight, Borg has the advantage in the key areas of this fight which warrants me to tip him here.
I do like the looks of Medeiros in this matchup as his conditioning is key against a fighter in Vannata that expends a lot of energy early in his fights. He fades badly as the fight progresses and that shows in the fact that he has never won a fight via decision in his now five years in the Octagon. Medeiros is an elite finisher who is on a two-fight slide, losing to Cerrone and then Gillespie which is no knock on him. Simply it looks likely that either Vannatta finishes this early catching Medeiros or Medeiros comes over the top of a tiring Vannata. Either way it looks likely this won’t go the distance.
Merab Dvalishvili to defeat Casey Kenney + Raulian Paiva to defeat Mark De La Rosa
Dvalishvili averages almost seven takedowns per fight and his strength will likely be too much for Kenney who is a weight class above where he has fought most of his career. His strength and wrestling are likely to dominate this fight on route to a comfortable victory.
Paiva has been unfortunate to be 0-2 in the UFC, arguably beating Kai Kara-France and suffering a horror cut in his other fight. De La Rosa will need this on the mat but faces a 5 inch reach discrepancy and is outclassed massively by Paiva on the feet. This should be routine for the Brazilian and looks a safe play.
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