Two championship stories unravel: light heavyweight and interim bantamweight titles on the line
Another exciting card has MMA fans across the world excited ahead of UFC 267. We have back to back championship doubleheaders following UFC 266. The light heavyweight title is up for grabs and Jan Blachowicz will defend it against Glover Teixeira. The interim bantamweight title is on the line too with former champ Petr Yan battling Cory Sandhagen.
If you’ve landed here, you probably already know what’s set for Saturday’s UFC event. What I want to add is a view of advanced stats and fight strategy for the four top bouts. All stats below and in the charts refer to data from the fighters’ UFC fights.
Jan Blachowicz vs Glover Teixeira: A similar path leading up to the light heavyweight title fight
Jan Blachowicz second title defense comes against a fighter with a fairly similar win streak leading up to this fight. The 43-year-old Glover Teixeira has won his five past fights, earning him his second title shot. The 38-year-old champion is defending his title for the second time this year.
The stats for these two folks are interestingly enough quite similar. In the UFC, the Pole and the Brazilian both have had 48% striking accuracy, with almost the same average strikes landed per minute (3.59 and 3.58 respectively). Their striking defense is almost the same, 57% and 55% respectively.
Blachowicz has successfully defended 80% of takedowns against him and Teixeira 82%. The Brazilian has 32% accuracy, better than the Pole’s 27%.
Blachowicz can outlast his opponents, Ortega gets hit more as the fights go on
- Blachowicz has incredible endurance and dominates his opponents in later rounds.
- He is great at striking from a distance.
- He starts off with body strikes and switches towards leg attacks later in the fight.
- Takedowns tend to take place after the first round.
- Teixeira wants his opponents on their backs.
- He attempts most of his takedowns in the first three rounds.
- He takes more hits than he gives but will go for the takedown, the ground attack, and submission attempt.
What to Expect
To be honest, I would like to see Teixeira top off his latest performances with winning a belt. The reality though is that Blachowicz is correctly considered the the strong favorite and the odds of him winning are over 70%. The pick here is Blachowicz by an early knockout.
Petr Yan vs Cory Sandhagen: Interim Bantamweight Title Bout
This fight was supposed to be the bantamweight title fight but Aljamain Sterling pulled out due to his lingering neck injury. As a reminder, Yan lost his title to Sterling at UFC 259 after a disqualification for an illegal knee.
Peter Yan is an amazing striker and he likes takedowns as well. He had a 7-0 record in the UFC before his disqualification. His 53% striking accuracy in the UFC leads to 6 strikes landed per minute and he averages 2.14 takedowns per 15 minutes.
Cory Sandhagen is 7-2 in the UFC and will be stepping into the octagon after losing by split decision to TJ Dillashaw back in July of this year. An elite kickboxer, Sandhagen has an impressive stat of 6.32 strikes landed per minute on 48% accuracy.
Yan attempts takedowns with high striking efficiency, Sandhagen increases his striking pace as the fight goes on
Petr Yan will be walking into the octagon as the favorite. I expect a super exciting striking bout here that should go all the way. Both fighters know how to strike, but most importantly know how to take a hit.
Islam Makhachev vs Dan Hooker: Grappling vs Striking
The stats and graphs tell the story quite well in this case. Historically, Makhachev doesn’t play around much and he chases takedowns at an increasing pace. Hooker attempts to use his striking advantage early on in fights. However, the Dagestani successfully defends 68% of the strikes he receives.
Islam Makhachev is a strong favorite, with the odds of him winning being over 80%. When I listened to the latest episode on the UFC Unfiltered podcast, there was a mention of Hooker saying that he feels very confident. We might have a fun first one or two rounds but Makhachev should be able to get a submission either way.
Alexander Volkov vs Marcin Tybure: Striking vs Grappling
The fight between Alexander “Drago” Volkov and Marcin “Tybur” Tybura brings together two fighters whose glory days may be behind them.
The russian boxer has lost three of his last six games. He lost to Ciryl Gane back in June, Curtis Blaydes in June 2020, and Derrick Lewis in the awesome UFC 229 fight. He did have an impressive win against Alistair Overeem in February of this year as well.
On the other hand, the polish grappler Tybura has won all five of his latest fights but none of them were against any of the elite heavyweights.
Tybur is a great jiujitseiro with an incredible display of takedowns. This may not be enough though with Drago being a great dominant boxer who knows how to play the distance, the polish grappler may not be able to take the fight to the ground. Volkov tends to start his fights with plenty of strikes while Tybura needs some time in order to build up the best conditions for a successful takedown and submission.
The odds are in favor of Volkov and bookmakers give him over 70% chances. I do think this could go either way, with the Russian having a slight edge and likely to win by decision.