UFC 210 Cormier vs Johnson takes place this Saturday live from Buffalo, New York. This is one of the more stacked cards we’ve been treated to so far in 2017, with some high stakes fights on show. Right here we’re going to examine what the stars of the card need to do to win, we’re going to look at their Keys To Victory.
Daniel Cormier is one of the best wrestlers to compete in the sport of MMA. He’s a world class grappling technician, and this is backed up by a very useful low centre of gravity and a hard earned deep gas tank. Perhaps the biggest tool in the box for Cormier in this fight is his will. You might call it determination, or maybe ‘the right stuff’. Whatever it is, Cormier has it by the bucketload. He has a never say die, always give 100% approach and it is always on display when called upon. This along with other factors mean that the longer this fight goes, the more the chances are of a Cormier win. So, Cormier needs to avoid any early onslaught from Johnson and take this fight into deeper waters using his Wrestling and underrated kickboxing. He can’t play Johnson’s striking game too long or too often though, the threat of the takedown should always be there.
Cormier should land takedowns early and often. During their first fight, he switched the momentum completely when Johnson got overly aggressive with his strikes, allowing the now Champion to land a takedown and drain the challenger’s gas tank. It seems overly simplistic, but a repeat of this strategy is all it should take for Cormier to retain his UFC Light Heavyweight title.
Anthony Johnson has one massive thing going for him, and that’s KO power! Maybe more KO power than anyone in MMA. The key for Johnson will be harnessing this in the right way at the right time. You can watch their first fight right here on the MMA Thread page, and when you do you may spot the mistakes from Rumble that contributed towards his loss. He hurt Cormier with big shots, but he was too hurried, too wild. Johnson would do well to take a leaf from the book of other men with lighting on their hands such as Anderson Silva or Conor McGregor. You’ll notice when either hurt an opponent they stay calm, stay accurate, and don’t smother their work.
It won’t just be about composure and timing in the striking game, it’s also about the grappling as well. It’s almost impossible to stop every Cormier takedown, but Johnson can make some big improvements from their first fight when the fight goes to the floor. In the first fight, Johnson surprisingly chose to try and land strikes from the bottom rather than try to advance positionally or explode back to his feet, and that cost him dearly. This may have been down to cardio though, and that brings us to the last key for Rumble. He absolutely has to come into this fight with at least enough gas to go a hard few round with Cormier. The reserve needs to be there so that the big guns, the big punches and kicks can still be there as a threat beyond round 1.
Gegard Mousasi is riding high in the Middleweight division right now. Despite the mess at the top due to Bisping depending against the debuting 185lber GSP, a win here for The Dreamcatcher could mean a shot at the belt.
In order to win this one and be in line for a potential title fight late 2017/early 2018 Gegard needs stay off his back. Historically Mousasi isn’t outstruck often and if he can keep this fight on the feet we’d fancy his chances against Weidman. It’s all about footwork for Mousasi, he has to keep a good kickboxing range to use his technical advantage on the feet while making it hard for Weidman to shoot in for a takedown. In short, if Mousasi can make this a Kickboxing fight, it’ll be his to take.
Chris Weidman is a hard-nosed wrestler who can not only smother his opponents on the ground but he can rush them on the feet as well. This would be a risky strategy against Mousasi though, and the word is Weidman is looking to get back to basics in this fight. We think that’s a great call. If Weidman can impose his dominating top game against Mousasi, he should have the beating of the Dutchman. Mousasi has a very good ground game, but he isn’t known for being a submission threat from his back, at least not against other top grapplers. If Weidman can be consistent in getting Mousasi to the floor, we see him landing big shots and potentially ending the fight by submission after some ‘softening up’.