Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Light Heavyweight veterans Corey Anderson and Jan Blachowicz will rematch TONIGHT (Sat., Feb. 15, 2020) at UFC Fight Night 167 from inside Santa Ana Star Center in Rio Rancho, New Mexico.
In the last couple years, Anderson’s skills have really come together, allowing “Overtime” to make the most of his physical gifts and pick up the biggest wins of his career. However, even before that rise in skill and ability, Anderson was able to defeat Blachowicz way back in 2015. It’s still an intriguing rematch, however, as Blachowicz has been able to score a resurgence of his own. The Polish striker has won six of his last seven bouts, and his consistent success has unexpectedly placed him in title contention as well.
Let’s take a closer look at the keys to victory for each man:
Key Wins: Jan Blachowicz (UFC 191), Johnny Walker (UFC 244), Ilir Latifi (UFC 232), Glover Teixeira (UFC Fight Night 134), Patrick Cummins (UFC Fight Night 128)
Key Losses: Ovince Saint Preux (UFC 217), Jimi Manuwa (UFC Fight Night 107), Mauricio Rua (UFC 198), Gian Villante (UFC on FOX 15)
Keys to Victory: Whether you prefer the “Beastin 25/8” or “Overtime” moniker, both are accurate. Anderson succeeds in large part because his conditioning is excellent, which allows him to really apply the pressure with high-volume kickboxing and takedown-chaining as his foes struggle to keep up.
There isn’t a great deal to break down from the first bout. Anderson went to work early with his wrestling, and it didn’t take long for him to drag Blachowicz down to the mat. The Pole defended reasonably well early, but as Anderson’s pace wore him down, and the takedowns only grew easier.
So, what’s changed?
In general, Blachowicz has improved both his conditioning and defensive wrestling, the two issues Anderson exploited so ruthlessly in the first match. In all likelihood, Anderson will be forced to strike a bit more in this rematch.
Luckily, Anderson seems well-equipped to draw Blachowicz into a high-activity kickboxing battle. Over five rounds, his volume — undoubtedly aided by some wrestling — is likely to help him pull away on the scorecards.
Key Wins: Luke Rockhold (UFC 239), Jimi Manuwa (UFC Fight Night 127), Ilir Latifi (UFC Fight Night 53), Nikita Krylov (UFC Fight Night 136), Jared Cannonier (UFC on FOX 26), Ronaldo Souza (UFC Fight Night 164)
Key Losses: Thiago Santos (UFC Fight Night 145), Alexander Gustafsson (UFC Fight Night 93), Jimi Manuwa (UFC Fight Night 64), Corey Anderson (UFC 191)
Keys to Victory: Blachowicz is a crafty veteran — take a second look at that excellent resume of wins! On the feet, Blachowicz has a sharp jab, dangerous left kick, and ability to unleash sudden and powerful combination. As mentioned, his defensive wrestling has come a long way, and Blachowicz has pulled off some tricky chokes in the Octagon as well.
Blachowicz has a lot of skill, but it just seems unlikely that he’ll be able to win a decision across 25 minutes opposite Anderson. His younger foe throws too many strikes and is too talented at scoring takedowns — there’s nothing the judges love more.
He needs a knockout.
As such, I’d like to see Blachowicz explode forward in combination more often. He has to catch Anderson with something big, and his best chance to do so is in the first half of this bout. There’s no benefit in waiting around and allowing Anderson to really get into the groove of the fight — go out there and try to take the wrestler’s head off while still swinging at full power.
Realistically, Dominick Reyes should receive a rematch with Jon Jones. It’s the fight the world wants to see, and his performance against the champion certainly deserves another opportunity. If, for whatever reason, that fight does not happen, however, the winner of this bout is absolutely next in line. Perhaps with a truly awe-inspiring win, the victor of tonight’s main event could leapfrog Reyes, but it seems unlikely.
There are definite consequences to a loss, particularly for Blachowicz. Whereas Anderson is 30 years of age and still fairly young as a professional, “The Prince of Cieszyn” is six years older and has been fighting since 2007. He’s on the best run of his career, so it really seems like it’s now-or-never if he’s to earn a title shot.
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Fight Night 1667 fight card this weekend RIGHT HERE, starting with the ESPN+“Prelims” that are scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. ET, then the main card portion that will also stream on ESPN+ at 8 p.m. ET.
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At UFC Fight Night 167, Corey Anderson and Jan Blachowicz will go to war in the main event. Which man will have his hand raised?