Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) light heavyweight Jan Blachowicz and Corey Anderson battled last night (Sept. 5, 2015) at UFC 191 inside MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Blachowicz made a hell of a first impression by knocking out Ilir Latifi, but he stumbled in his next bout. Opposite Anderson, Blachowicz was looking to get back into the win column and solidify his position in the Top 15.
Anderson was also looking to move past a loss, the first of his professional career. Despite that loss, this was a major opportunity for him to announce himself as a top fighter just a couple years into his career.
Blachowicz pressured his opponent to start the fight, and he landed some nice kicks to start. The European was very aggressive with his counter punches, and he even briefly scored with a takedown of his own.
Nonetheless, Anderson kept his volume high avoided getting hit by anything too hard. He then landed a takedown of his own, but Blachowicz used an armbar to get back to his feet. For the remaining minute of the round, Anderson took the role of aggressor and pushed his opponent into the fence.
While it was a pretty close round overall, Anderson's late rally likely gave him the edge.
Anderson's conditioning edge was clear at the start of the second. He pushed the pace with some kicks -- though Blachowicz landed a hard body kick of his own -- and soon landed a takedown into his opponent's full guard.
This time around, Anderson was able to land some quality ground strikes. He never got too aggressive, but Anderson really chipped away at Blachwicz and continued to wear him out.
After a competitive first round, Anderson really put a beating on his opponent to take the second.
"Beastin' 25-8" showed his fight IQ in the final frame, immediately shooting for a takedown and driving his opponent into the mat. While he didn't do a whole lot from top position, his opponent did even less, as Anderson controlled his way to the final bell.
In the end, the judges gave Anderson a clear unanimous decision victory.
This was a pretty huge victory for Anderson. He's just a couple years into his professional career, so for him to be a legitimate veteran in Blachowicz says very good things about his future potential. Even if his victory wasn't the most pretty, it was more than dominant.
Since joining the Octagon, Anderson has had excellent conditioning, solid wrestling, and a developing kickboxing attack. He's been building on each of those skills, but what he really demonstrated in this bout was his ability to follow a game plan.
In his last scrap against Gian Villante, Anderson largely fought his opponent's fight, trading on the feet. He didn't really on his wrestling, and though the fight was close, it eventually cost him. This time, he found where his advantage lied and ruthlessly exploited it, punishing his opponent from top position for the entirety of the last two rounds.
After this win, Anderson is definitely a top 15 light heavyweight. On the strength of this win, a bout with Antonio Rogerio Nogeuira would make sense, as it would be a solid test for the developing prospect.
This loss really established Blachowicz's ceiling. Though he has some decent skill, he simply isn't athletic enough to compete with the best light heavyweights in the world.
In this bout, Blachowicz's conditioning really cost him. Early on, he was out-striking the American and even took the wrestler down. However, he simply couldn't maintain that pace, and Anderson eventually punished him for it.
Since Blachowicz isn't exactly the most potent finisher, that's a major issue for him. If he can't finish foes consistently or fight 15 hard minutes, than there aren't a lot of paths to victory for him.
After this loss, Blachowicz needs to prove his position in the top 15. A match with Fabio Maldonado would make sense, as they're both striking specialists just barely inside the UFC rankings.
Last night, Corey Anderson earned the biggest victory of his career by grinding down Jan Blachowicz. Where does The Ultimate Fighter winner go from here?
For complete UFC 191 "Johnson vs Dodson" results and play-by-play click HERE!