Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Heavyweight veterans Shawn Jordan and Ruslan Magomedov will hunt for the knockout this Saturday (Oct. 3, 2015) at UFC 192 inside Toyota Center in Houston, Texas.
Jordan has been pretty consistent. When faced with opponents who probably don't deserve a spot on the roster, Jordan wins in impressive fashion. However, he's faltered pretty badly when given an opportunity to step up.
While Magomedov has yet to finish an opponent inside the Octagon, he's still looked very impressive. If he can continue to prove his skill against Jordan, the Dagestani athlete may earn a big step up in competition.
Let's take a look at the keys to victory for both fighters:
Key Wins: Derrick Lewis (UFC Fight Night 68), Pat Barry (UFC 161)
Key Losses: Matt Mitrione (TUF: China Finale), Gabriel Gonzaga (UFC 166)
Keys to Victory: Jordan has defeated and finished his last three opponents. "The Savage" is a powerful puncher, solid athlete, and capable wrestler, which has lead him to modest success inside the UFC's heavyweight division.
In this bout, Jordan will have to walk through his opponent's punches and get in close. At range, he's hopelessly outmatched, so closing the distance is a definite must.
To get inside on Magomedov, Jordan needs to cut off the cage whenever his opponent tries to circle. In addition, Jordan could shoot in and force a clinch, as he's a powerful striker in the dirty boxing range as well.
If Jordan can get inside, he's the much heavier hitter and needs to make the most of it. He's in a position where trading punch-for-punch greatly benefits him, and Jordan has to force as many of those exchanges as he can.
In addition to increasing his chance of scoring a knockout, a few clean punches will make the takedown come much easier. Magomedov is a pretty strong defensive wrestler, but Jordan is equally vicious from top position, so he might only need a single successful shot.
Key Wins: Viktor Pesta (UFC Fight Night 41), Ricco Rodriguez (United Glory 15)
Key Losses: None
Keys to Victory: Magomedov is one of heavyweight's more unique fighters. While he doesn't possess one-shot knockout power like much of the division, Magomedov is an excellent range striker with nice combinations and solid conditioning.
Meanwhile, his opponent is much more standard. Jordan is not the most technical fighter in any area, as he relies on athleticism and prefers to work in close.
Essentially, that means Magomedov is very used to fighting opponents like Jordan. He's a specialist in working from the outside and preventing his opponent from getting close.
Since Magomedov doesn't have to adjust his game plan at all for this fight, expect him to fight similarly to his last two Octagon appearances. "The Leopard" will throw a variety of sharp kicks and straight punches, making the most of his considerable range. He'll also look to circle laterally and prevent his opponent from walking him into the fence.
That's how Magomedov fights, and Shawn Jordan is not the opponent to make him change up that style.
Bottom Line: One of these Heavyweight hitters will earn a step up in competition following this fight and could be on his way to the top 15.
While Jordan is winless in most of his high profile fights thus far, he's on a solid win streak at the moment. If he can extend it to four by taking out one of the division's best prospects, he's certainly deserving of a chance to square off with a ranked opponent.
On the other hand, a loss keeps Jordan firmly in the position he's in, which is essentially gatekeeper to the upper half of the division. That's not an ideal place to be in, but it allows Jordan to win more often than not -- occasionally in dramatic fashion -- so things could be worse for the "Savage" one.
This is a much bigger opportunity for Magomedov. He's quite young at 28 years old for a heavyweight and has only been fighting for five years, making him one of the division's true prospects. If he can get past Jordan, his future is very bright.
That said, a loss may mean that Magomedov is not ready for the top of the division just yet. Plus, Heavyweight is a unique situation. Since basically any fighter can land a sudden knockout punch, losses are more excusable.
At UFC 192, Shawn Jordan and Ruslan Magomedov will go to war. Which man will leave the Octagon with the victory?