UFC Fight Night 53 Newcomer Breakdown: Jan Blachowicz

janbPrior to each UFC card, Jay Primetown will take a closer look at debuting fighters. Our first look is at Polish Light Heavyweight Jan Blachowicz who is debuting at UFC Fight Night 53 in Stockholm, Sweden against Ilir Latifi.   Jan “Książę Cieszyński” Blachowicz Hometown: Cieszyn, Poland Age: 31 Height: 6’2 Weight Class: Light Heavyweight Camp: Ankos Zapasy Poznan Career Record: 17-3 Key Wins: Houston Alexander, Rameau Sokoudjou Key Losses: Rameau Sokoudjou   Background The former KSW Light Heavyweight Champion is one of the top Polish mixed martial artists. In addition to being a champion, Blachowicz was a three-time KSW tournament champion. Blachowicz has had all but one of his fights in Poland and his UFC debut will be the furthest he’s every fought away from his home country. Blachowicz hasn’t fought in a year and a half when he beat Goran Reljic by decision. The Polish fighter had a bout scheduled with Virgil Zwicker in December 2013, but it was cancelled.   Strengths
  • One of the bigger light heavyweights; will rarely be the smaller fighter in the cage
  • Accurate striker with sound technique
  • Leg kicks are his most dangerous weapon; does well to land both to the body and to the head
  • Above average submission skills
  • Has good movement in top control; ability to pass into side control and full mount
  • Ground and pound is solid; can transition from here to back control
  Weaknesses
  • Below average power for the weightclass; hasn’t knocked out an opponent since 2010
  • Footwork is a major concern; one of the slower fights on the feet in the division
  • Aggressive strikers will cause him problems; struggles with opponents who rush forward
  • Doesn’t check leg kicks at all; specifically in bout with Houston Alexander, third round lower leg kick dropped him to the ground where Alexander was able to get top control
  • Below average wrestling; works for double legs, not effective against fighters with a wrestling base
  • Willing to give up position on the ground to go for armbar attempts
  • Not used to fighting in a cage; KSW fights are inside of a roped ring
 

JanGrade

Matchup with Ilir Latifi Blachowicz draws Swedish light heavyweight Ilir Latifi in his UFC debut. The Swede holds several advantages in this matchup that will be difficult for the Pole to overcome. Latifi delivers very heavy leg kicks. In his most recent match with Chris Dempsey, Latifi’s leg kicks forced Dempsey to the ground where he very quickly finished the fight. Blachowicz makes very little effort to block leg kicks and has taken punishment in past fights due to lack of defending those kicks. Furthermore, if Latifi chooses to take the fight to the ground, he has a big wrestling advantage. Blachowicz has below average takedown defense and tends to struggle when put on his back. Latifi can control the big light heavyweight there if he wants to. Blachowicz is a threat with submissions on the ground and it's likely his only chance to win this fight. On the feet, Latifi is very durable and Blachowicz does not have the power to hurt him. Latifi went three rounds standing with dangerous striker Gegard Mousasi and at no point was in danger of being knocked out. Latifi will be able to dictate where this fight takes place and deserves to be a strong favorite in this matchup.   UFC Ceiling There aren’t many light heavyweight prospects outside of North American MMA. Blachowicz is one of the rare European fighters still not signed to one of the top MMA organizations. He has a good submission game and the size to give some of the lower tier fighters in the division some problems. Expect Blachowicz to grab a couple wins against the bottom of the division, but his poor takedown defense and inability to strike with power are serious concerns when he’s forced to face even mid-tier fighters. Videos Here's Blachowicz in action in some of his recent fights as well as a highlight video: Jan Blachowicz vs Houston Alexander https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3JyNcmfECzE Jan Blachowicz vs Nikolai Onikienko https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NBo-vmkOLGI Jan Blachowicz highlights https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UG_QAWhPCEs  

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Jay Primetown

Jay Primetown

Co-Host of The MMA Analysis Podcast ( Available at //mmaoddsbreaker.com ) / RBNY & USMNT Fanatico, Lives in no spin zone.