UFC Fight Night Rio Rancho: The Fallout
By Ross Markey
Jan Błachowicz made a much-needed statement in his main event tie against Corey Anderson.
In last week’s edition of ‘The Fallout’, my mind was made up, definitively. Jon Jones should grant number-one contender, Dominick Reyes an immediate rematch. One week later, I’m not so sure that’s the case anymore. Polish stopper, Jan Błachowicz is the reason for this.
The only possible way either Corey Anderson or Jan Błachowicz could have leapfrogged the previously mentioned, Reyes was by lodging a statement performance in Rio Rancho. Mission accomplished for Błachowicz.
As well as securing revenge against Anderson from their 2015 meeting, the former KSW light heavyweight best has more than likely secured a title opportunity against Jon Jones. Courtesy of a perfectly-timed counter right hand, the 36-year-old has made himself, simply undeniable. It’s three straight wins, including a stoppage of former middleweight best, Luke Rockhold, and a narrow decision against one-time Strikeforce kingpin, Jacaré Souza. Błachowicz is in line to challenge for 205-pound gold.
Jon Jones vs. Jan Błachowicz:
Despite the lure of a quest at heavyweight becoming all the more appealing for Jon Jones – the Albequerque based striker has unfinished business at his current light heavyweight home. It would be a massive shame not to see Jones and Reyes reignite their rivalry, and after last night’s brief cage-side exchange, Jones vs. Błachowicz is also an exciting prospect. Whether Jones meets the Pole next is down to a flip of a coin really – but make no mistake about it, Błachowicz is a deserving contender.
The interesting factor about this fight is the obvious power possessed by Błachowicz. At UFC 239 last July, the Poznań native broke Luke Rockhold’s jaw with a counter left hook. Last night’s stoppage of Anderson is also prime evidence of Błachowicz’s one-shot stopping ability.
On the other side of the equation – many seem to neglect the grappling prowess of the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt. In his thirty-four fight career, Błachowicz has managed nine submission triumphs. Realistically, it’s the only possible next outing for the Pole who told last night how he’d be willing to sit out if the promotion pair Jones with Reyes again.
Corey Anderson vs. Volkan Oezdemir:
For Illinois native, Corey Anderson – he now finds himself between a rock and a hard place. He’s campaigned, ultimately fruitlessly for a meeting with Jones for some time now, and the momentum built from four straight victories has now vanished. It’s back to the drawing board for the 30-year-old – and possibly a top-five establishing clash with Swiss knockout artist, Volkan Oezdemir.
The former title challenger narrowly overcame the highly-touted Aleksander Rakić last time out – but dropped a rather contentious decision to Dominick Reyes back in London last year. Oezdemir is on the cusp of title contention once more, and a victory for Anderson over the 30-year-old would cement his status as top-contender still.
Corey Anderson vs. Alexander Gustafsson:
Swedish finisher, Alexander ‘The Mauler’ Gustafsson has recently flirted with the inkling of drawing a conclusion to his retirement. A matchup with Anderson immediately inserts him back into championship conversation for the fourth time, and a win for Anderson would most definitely stand out as the biggest of his career to date.
It’s also a fresh matchup at light heavyweight between two of the division’s longest-serving challengers. It’s Anderson’s explosive wrestling and underestimated power versus the slick boxing and movement of Gustafsson. Sign me up.