Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Welterweight strikers Alan Jouban and Niko Price will duel this Saturday (Aug. 5, 2017) at UFC Fight Night 114 inside Arena Ciudad de Mexico in Mexico City, Mexico.
After putting together a trio of strong wins, Louisiana's Jouban finally got the respect he felt he deserved in the form of a ranking and Top 10 opponent. Unfortunately, that opponent was Gunnar Nelson, who melted “Brahma” with a left hand and set him back to the drawing board. On the other hand, Price has the looks of a pretty terrifying Welterweight prospect. “The Hybrid” has finished all but one of his victories, and most of them came via knockout.
Let’s take a look at the keys to victory for each man:
Key Wins: Mike Perry (UFC on FOX 22), Belal Muhammad (UFC Fight Night 90), Seth Baczynski (UFC Fight Night 47)
Key Losses: Gunnar Nelson (UFC Fight Night 107), Albert Tumenov (UFC 192), Warley Alves (UFC Fight Night 56)
Keys to Victory: Despite being known somewhat from his 10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu background, Jouban relies almost entirely on his kickboxing in the Octagon. To that end, Jouban is capable of fighting smart or engaging in close-range violent brawls.
In this bout, smart is definitely the right path.
Price is a physical beast and among the larger Welterweights in the division. He’s not a man Jouban wants to go punch-for-punch with, as Price does have seven knockout wins on his record. Instead, Jouban will want to employ the anti-Mike Perry game plan. In that bout, Jouban circled the Octagon and threw hard kicks to jam his opponent up. When his foe tried to close the distance sloppily, Jouban was waiting with hard counter strikes.
In addition, Jouban would be wise to mix in some reactive takedown attempts. Price tends to slow down a bit as the fight wears on, so a quick takedown would go a long way in slowing him and his offense down.
Record: 9-0 (1)
Key Wins: Brandon Thatch (UFC 207), *Alex Morono (UFC Fight Night 104)
*Note that while Price’s win over Morono was overturned, it was because of marijuana (not a PED) and Price only failed by the Texas Athletic Commission's outdated standards.
Key Losses: None
Keys to Victory: Price is an aggressive and physical fighter. He switches stances comfortably and hits hard at all distances, making him a tough man to deal with. Additionally, Price has shown some surprising slickness on the mat.
For Price, the big strategy here is to put his fist through Jouban’s jaw. Jouban likes to strike and is nasty on his feet, but he’s also not a defensive wizard nor does he have the chin to make up for that.
In a brawl, odds are that Price will remain standing until his opponent falls. However, Jouban isn’t likely to grant his wish for a brawl willingly. Price needs to make the most of his size and effective offense by cutting off the cage. He cannot chase like Perry; Price needs to use kicks and change combinations to interrupt Jouban’s lateral movement and pin him along the fence.
If he can consistently pressure Jouban, it will make him uncomfortable. Jouban tends to throw more when panicked, and that will only create opportunities for Price to land.
Bottom Line: It’s going to be a stand up war.
Jouban has to bounce back here. He’s the more experienced man with the longer career, and he needs to look the part. Otherwise, his chances of climbing back into the rankings drop, as it would take a long win streak to recover from a pair of losses. On the bright side, a win gets Jouban back on track. It wouldn’t be unreasonable for him to receive an opponent in the lower half of the top 15 next, although that also isn’t a guarantee.
This is a major fight for Price, his first chance to step up against an established UFC Welterweight. His previous two wins were definitely impressive, but neither were top-shelf competition. It’s a step up in competition, and a win means Price is ready for another one.
At Welterweight, chances like this do not come often. Price has been impressive, but if he comes up short, it’ll definitely keep him in the middle of the division for at least another few fights.
At UFC Fight Night 114, Alan Jouban and Niko Price will go to war. Which man will have his hand raised?