Typically, we start with a fighter’s strengths and then move onto their weaknesses. But when a fighter is 1-4 in their past five and lost those four via lackluster decisions, complimenting them is difficult.
I suppose the best you can say about Jan Blachowicz (19-7) is that he’s a good, technical striker. He’s got good variation on his punches and a dedicated body kick which knocked out Illar Latifi in his UFC debut. But it’s been all downhill since then. Blachowicz doesn’t have one shot knockout power, he’s not a good counter fighter nor is he a good grappler. As a result, there are a ton of different ways to beat him, and UFC-level competition has been able to find them all.
Jimi Manuwa kept him paralyzed from the threat of power shots, Corey Anderson could wrestle him when he lost on the feet, Alexander Gustafsson was a mismatch, and Patrick Cummins overcame adversity by grinding him down.
The only fighter he beat in that stretch was Igor Pokrajic, who is a worse version of Blachowicz.
At the very least, Devin Clark (8-1) is smart.
His forte is the groundwork, but the fight starts on the feet. But rather than developing sparse, textbook striking until he can get a hold of his opponent he makes the striking work towards takedowns. If he sees an opponent moving backward, he’ll throw flying or stepping knees more frequently than your average fighter. Why?
Because even if he misses it gets him closer to the opponent. If he can get close enough to grapple, he’s won half the battle! And if he can’t grapple, he’ll shoot knees in the clinch with surprising power.
He’s very good at shooting for double leg takedowns and, as soon as he gets a grip, tripping the opponent. He only has one win by submission, but he’s adept at keeping the top position and raining down punches. After a rocky start to his UFC career, he’s won two straight which makes it interesting to see how far this simple game plan can take him.
I hope the Polish fans haven’t set their hopes too high.
Grappling is one of Blachowicz’s weaknesses and one of Clark’s strengths. Unless Blachowicz finds Clark’s chin early in the fight, he will get ground out in unceremonious fashion.
Clark via Decision
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