Can Blachowicz continue his momentum and beat Souza in Sao Paulo?
<p>Last week Russia, this week Brazil! The Ultimate Fighting Championship heads to Sao Paulo this Saturday, under the lights of the Ginasio do Ibirapuera for UFC Fight Night: 164. The main event of the evening is a light heavyweight bout, when Jacare Souza steps up in weight for the first time and squares up against the #6 ranked light heavyweight in the world, Jan Blachowicz. It will be interesting to see how Souza handles the step from middleweight. On the flip side, can Jan Blachowicz continue his momentum, and will he be able to ascend into the title picture at 205 lbs. So many questions, lets see if we can find a few answers and break it down to a fine powder.</p><div><h2 style="text-align:center">Jan Blachowicz (24-8) vs Ronaldo Souza (26-7)</h2><p><strong>Jan Blachowicz</strong></p><p>There is not much that could be found on the early life of Jan Blachowicz. We know he was born in the People’s Republic of Poland, and at some point began training to become a mixed martial artist. Aside from that I couldn’t find much, so let us pick it up from his KSW days. KSW is Poland’s version of the UFC. Jan entered and won the KSW light heavyweight tournament championship 3 times while fighting for KSW. He temporarily left the sport after blowing his knee out in training. After ACL surgery he made his return to MMA and went back to KSW one more time. He won the KSW Light Heavyweight Championship when he defeated Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou via unanimous decision. Aside from winning the title, he won vindication. He had previously lost to Sokoudjou the first time he fought for the belt, after he won the rematch there was nothing left to prove in Poland.</p><p>By early 2014, Jan Blachowicz had amassed a 17-3 record on the European regional scene. It was at that point that he felt there was one more mountain to climb, the biggest MMA promotion in the world, the UFC. He signed with the promotion and made his debut In October 2014 at UFC Fight Night 53. He made a splash in his debut when he defeated Ilir Latifi via technical knockout. It has not been a perfect career since joining the UFC. In 12 fights with the UFC, Jan Blachoicz has a record of 7-5, but it’s what he has done the last two years that has him knocking on the door of a title opportunity. Jan Blachowicz has won 5 of his last 6 fights since October 2017 and he looks to make that 6 wins in 7 fights this Saturday in Brazil. Can he continue his climb up the mountain? Below is a look at Jan Blachowicz, by the numbers.</p><p style="text-align:center"><img alt src="https://statics.sportskeeda.com/editor/2019/02/4951e-15507291641166-800.jpg" style="width:594px;height:395px" /></p><h2>Stats</h2><p><strong>Method of Victory</strong></p><ul> <li>6 wins by TKO</li> <li>9 wins by Decision</li> <li>9 wins by Submission</li></ul><p> </p><p><strong>Significant Strike </strong>(per min)</p><ul> <li>3.54 Landed</li> <li>3.11 Absorbed</li></ul><p> </p><p><strong>Takedowns</strong></p><ul> <li>52.00% Accuracy</li> <li>60.61% Defended</li></ul><p> </p><h2>Pros</h2><ul> <li>Cardio (I started the PROS with cardio because it is incredible how far Jan Blachowicz has come from 3 years ago. He used to have 1 round to get the job done and if he couldn’t he had no stamina to go on. Now he has turned it into a strength, going 3 rounds is not an issue for him and I think 5 rounds will be just the same.)</li> <li>Striking (He is one of the top 5 technical range strikers in the history of the division. That might not be saying a whole lot when you look at the history of the UFC light heavyweight division, but he is as technical a striker as anyone in the division today.)</li> <li>Grappling (He has really turned himself into a nice grappler. When a light heavyweight has more submissions than knockouts, he is a solid grappler. Jan has demonstrated a really nice Brazilian Jiu Jitsu game the last few years. His wrestling control is not the greatest, but it’s good enough to get him in the positions he needs to be in to work on submissions.</li> <li>Chin (Blachowicz is notoriously hard to stop. 32 MMA fights at that weight class and he has been knocked out twice.)</li></ul><p> </p><h2>Cons</h2><ul> <li>Pressure/ Aggression (When Blachowicz leads exchanges, he is nowhere near as good as he is when he is reacting and countering exhanges from incoming strikes.)</li> <li>Movement (For someone that has turned himself into a solid range striker, his footwork isn’t great. He often finds situations where he is backing himself into the cage. He walks the very fine line of being best when not leading exchanges and at the same time walking himself right back to the cage because his footwork is not great.)</li></ul><p><a href="http://a.oddsmarket.com/record/v?c=160&a=9feaaf7a-d7a2-4185-974a-81ad171951df&f=3"><img alt src="https://imstore.bet365affiliates.com/AffiliateCreativeBanners/Sports/General/Bet%20Builder/en-GB/UK/STD/728x90_2.jpeg" style="width:100%;height:12px" /></a></p><p><strong>Ronaldo ‘Jacare’ Souza</strong></p><p>Jacare Souza was born in Vila Velha, Brazil. Growing up on the streets of Brazil as a child, Jacare had a tough upbringing. After watching his teenage cousin get shot and killed, Souza’s mother moved them to a different part of the country. It was at that point, when Souza was 15 that he started training in the practices of Judo and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Ronaldo Jacare Souza is considered one of the 5 best Brazilian Jiu Jitsu practitioners in the history of the UFC. The man in an 8 time Brailian Jiu Jitsu world champion. He is a former ADCC Submission Wrestling World Champion.</p><p>Jacare initially started fighting in the sport of mixed martial arts in Japan for the DREAM promotion. In 2009 he signed in the States with Strikeforce MMA. In 2010 He fought for and won the Strikeforce middleweight championship against Tim Kennedy. He won the fight via unanimous decision and a that point had Jacare has a record of (13-2). He would eventually lose the Strikeforce title to Luke Rockhold by unanimous decision. Finally in 2013, Jacare Souza signed with the UFC and made his debut against Chris Camozzi where he won via submission. Since joining the UFC, Ronaldo Jacare Souza has amassed a 9-4 record. Saturday will be different. Jacare steps up in weight for the first time in his UFC career. Will he be able to handle the power at 205 lbs? Below is a look at Jacare Souza, by the numbers.</p><p style="text-align:center"><img alt src="https://www.lowkickmma.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/USATSI_11592845_168382968_lowres.jpg" style="width:600px;height:400px" /></p><h2>Stats</h2><p><strong>Method of Victory</strong></p><ul> <li>8 wins by TKO</li> <li>4 wins by Decision</li> <li>14 wins by Submission</li></ul><p> </p><p><strong>Significant Strike </strong>(per min)</p><ul> <li>2.71 Landed</li> <li>2.81 Absorbed</li></ul><p> </p><p><strong>Takedowns</strong></p><ul> <li>40.18% Accuracy</li> <li>60.87% Defended</li></ul><p> </p><h2>Pros</h2><ul> <li>Power (Over the years Jacare has developed a solid striking game offensively. He has legitimate knockout power at 185 lbs. Does that power translate to a heavier weight class? That Is the question that will be answered Saturday.)</li> <li>Fight IQ (When you have been in as many MMA fights and grappling tournaments as Souza, you know he has seen it and done it all. He will be surprised by nothing and ready for everything.)</li></ul><p> </p><h2>Cons</h2><ul> <li>Striking Defense (Even though Blachowicz absorbs more significant strikes per minute, the eye test tells a very different story. As good as Jacare has looked as a striker the last couple years, his defensive striking skills are bad. He leaves himself open constantly and any skilled striker can get off against his weak striking defense. His chin is pretty solid, so the problem is masked because of the damage he is capable of absorbing. That being said, I would rather have Blachowicz defensive striking skills if I was in the cage than Souza.)</li> <li>Stamina (At this point in his career, I just don’t see how he lasts through the main event rounds. He is normally gassed after two rounds. When a fight goes to the 3rd round he usually looks spent. I see him having a big problem at this point in his career if a main event goes past 3 rounds.)</li></ul><p> </p><h2>The Verdict</h2><p>The only fighter I can look toward in this fight is in Jan Blaochowicz. I think he is peaking at the right time in this division. He has won 5 of his last 6 and is coming into this fight off a big knockout win over Luke Rockhold. Luke has a glass chin, but offensively he is a stud and he couldn’t’t do anything against Jan. Jacare is getting older, he is past his prime and when a fighter is past his prime and steps up in weight, BAD THINGS HAPPEN.</p><p>The problem is I don’t want to lay (1.50) on Blachowicz. When you consider how bad Souza has looked later in fights, this fight should play out as follows. Jacare comes out strong, might even win the first round, holds his own in the 2nd round and at that point I expect the fight to take a turn in favor of Blachowicz. W hen the props drop I will be looking to see what prices I can get for Blachowicz inside the distance. I will also be looking for fight ends inside the distance period. Check back Friday either on the Odds Market twitter account or The Sports Keg twitter account for any moves I make once the props hit the market. As for now…. LEAN Jan Blachowicz</p><p><strong>The Lean: Jan Blachowicz</strong></p></div>