Worn out, bconsumed down and tired, Anthony Johnboy succumbed to a choke from Daniel Cormier in the third round of their first meeting earlier at UFC 187 in May 2015. This Saturday, Johnboy will obtain a chance at redemption as he deals with Cormier for a second time.
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Cormier has actually just defended the title as soon as considering that that first meeting, taking out Alexander Gustafschild in a superb matchup in October 2015. Two scheduled meetings through Jon Jones have actually fallen with, once because of a Cormier injury and also the various other a result of Jones" failed test for performance-improving drugs before UFC 200 last summer.
Johnchild has actually run with each of his 3 enemies in less than five-and-a-half minutes, wrecking Jimi Manuwa, Ryan Bader and also Glover Teixeira.
Until Jones returns to activity, this is the finest fight the light heavyweight department hregarding offer.
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Record: 18-1 (6 KO, 5 SUB, 7 DEC)
Reach: 72.5 inches
Cormier has grvery own and evolved as a fighter because his first fight via Johnson, steadily moving amethod from the mobile external striking game he wanted as a heavyweight to the swarming pressure he has tfinished to usage in his last a number of fights.
This is a better technique for Cormier. He"s at his finest grinding amethod in the clinch and also on the ground, and press is the many trusted way to acquire him into his wheelhome. A crisp jab covers Cormier"s forward activity while sharp cage-cutting footoccupational limits his opponent"s escape routes. This either brings Cormier into the pocket, wbelow he does an excellent job of relocating his head as he exalters, or carries him right into the clinch.
Either choice is acceptable for Cormier. He"s a great pocket puncher with a bit of pop in his hands and also excellent instincts on the counter, and also while his head activity and defense aren"t precisely textbook, they are effective at minimizing the damages he takes at cshed variety.
Cormier is vulnerable to acquiring stuck on the external.Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images
Still, there"s no obtaining roughly the reality that this strategy is more dangerous for Cormier. He doesn"t fight choose a short guy—he jabs and throws kicks to maximize his reach—yet there"s no getting roughly the truth that he has actually a lengthy method to cover to gain right into the pocket or the clinch.
That means he"s constantly tbelow to be hit. His desire to throw combinations and not just get to close selection however continue to be tbelow as lengthy as possible, in order to make his enemy as uncomfortable as feasible and keep the pressure on, provides that an even more significant issue.
Once he gets inside, though, Cormier is a monster. The clinch is his wheelresidence, and he especially excels at driving his enemy right into the fence and pinning him in area via the combination of head push and also an underhook or wrist regulate. Once under manage, Cormier pummels his enemy through a steady diet of knees and powerful uppercuts to the body and head.
Takedowns add one more potent measurement to this grinding inside game. Cormier excels at hitting go-behinds in the clinch and then dragging his enemy to the mat, and also in straight wrestling exchanges, the former Olympian has a complete arsenal of single-leg lifts, doubles, trips and also throws. He"s stifling, technically sound and exceptionally solid.
Cormier does punishing work-related from height place.Harry How/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images
Cormier is a grinder on the mat. He prefers a loosened style of control that enables his foe to move under him as he switches smoothly in between wrestling rides and also more standard work-related from the peak. This loose regulate wears his adversary dvery own, yet once the mood strikes, Cormier is perfectly capable of being even more stifling.
In either situation, he drops bombing ground strikes with real power and also passes through ease. He isn"t a large entry danger, but he"ll attempt for the occasional kimura or arm triangle and also he have the right to complete via chokes from the ago.
Record: 22-5 (16 KO, 6 DEC)
Reach: 78 inches
Johnchild might be the a lot of terrifying puncher in the sport. He"s a bruiser, yet one with a serious dose of technical skill to temper his natural aggression and use his power in slick, repeatable means.
Counters are the heart and also spirit of Johnson"s game, but he"s not a hang-ago, wait-for-openings type of counterpuncher; rather, he pdescribes stalk his opponent, utilizing his footoccupational and also heavy round kicks to cut off lateral movement and also escape angles. When his adversary starts to feel the push and also fires off a swarm or two to create area and also back him off, Johnson is ready to respond via a vicious combicountry.
Johnson"s timing, shot selection and triggers are all exceptional. It"s practically impossible to throw a shot at him, whether a punch or kick, without eating somepoint much even more punishing and also dangerous in return. In various other words, Johnkid excels at seizing and also holding the initiative, also as soon as he"s not throwing the first shot.
There"s nopoint specifically fancy around Johnson"s striking arsenal. He probes behind his jab and fires off hard low kicks, however renders a lot of of his hay with his ideal hand, which he mixes up as an overhand also, right and also upperreduced. What"s special is his capability to pick the best swarm at the best time, relocating around, under and also in between his opponent"s defensive guard.
Things do not acquire any type of much better for Johnson"s adversaries in the clinch. He"s exceptionally strong and is perfectly qualified of controlling via a single-collar tie or a framework, then landing uppercuts and also hooks through his totally free hand. He hardly ever looks to spend a lot time tbelow, though.
Johnboy is a monster from top position, transporting vicious ground strikes at a rapid pace. He moves smoothly between wrestling rides and more typical optimal manage and passes. Subobjectives aren"t his specialty, though, and also he hasn"t attempted one in even more than six years.
The genuine trouble via Johnson"s game isn"t his abilities or his physicality, or even his much-maligned endurance, yet his ability to stay calm and focused if he loses his understand on the initiative.
When points begin going versus Johnson, also for a minute, he tends to crumble under the press. He panics, which raises his heart price and also conveniently tires him out as he desperately tries to escape whatever before poor position he happens to find himself in. This is why four of his five losses have actually come by rear-naked choke: He gets tired and also gives up his ago in an effort to find a way out.
Johnboy -125 (bet $125 to win $100), Cormier +105 (bet $100 to win $105)
This is a razor-thin fight. Their initially matchup featured Johnchild blasting Cormier with heavy punches and also head kicks, yet offering up takedowns and clinch manage that ultimately wore him down and also permitted Cormier to beat him up from the peak prior to finishing through a entry.
It seems clear that Cormier will try to pressure: That has significantly been his technique because their initially meeting and the truth that Johnson crumbled the initially time most likely won"t dissuade him. The real question is whether Johnkid will certainly try to accomplish press through push, exposing himself to the hazard of Cormier"s takedown and clinch grinding, or whether he"ll try to fight versus kind and also continue to be away.
The latter is the smarter game arrangement, yet the previous embraces Johnson"s toughness, and it"s not a offered that a better-ready Johnson couldn"t remain aggressive and also still control to stuff Cormier"s entries. That type of measured aggression functioned well for Johnchild against Phil Davis, for instance, though Cormier is more most likely to stand his ground and also commit to a firefight.
Cormier will need to be willing to throw hands via Johnkid to put up his clinch entries and takedowns, and also that"s both his path to victory and wbelow he"s vulnerable. He"s hittable and also has actually been knocked dvery own in 2 of his last 3 fights, so the real worry is whether he have the right to survive long enough to impose his inside game.
With some significant bookings, the pick is Johnchild by knockout in the second round.
Betting odds courtesy of OddsShark and present on Tuesday, April 4.
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Patrick Wyman is the Senior MMA Analyst for Bleacher Report and also the co-organize of the Heavy Hands Podcast, your resource for the finer points of face-punching. For the history enthusiasts out there, he additionally hosts The Fall of Rome Podcast on the finish of the Roman Empire. He deserve to be discovered on Twitter and on Facebook.